Sport at St. Mary’s

“St. Mary’s is an outstanding Sports College which is using sport in a variety of ways to realise wider educational aims and improve the quality of people’s lives.”
— Sir Trevor Brooking

“The work the school does here is amazing.”
— Lady Grey-Thompson, DBE

Sport at St. Mary’s has gained an outstanding reputation at regional, national and international level.

The Department has made a significant contribution to Physical Education and Sport Development in the UK and currently holds the prestigious Youth Sport Trust Gold Partner Award. Staff have lectured at International Conferences throughout the world and regularly provide in-service courses in this country.  In addition to this our work has been further recognised through specific awards for Fair Play, Disability Sport and School Sport. The school was one of the first in the country to be involved in the School Sport Partnership Initiative. There are 53 schools in our Leeds North West School Sports Partnership. St. Mary's is a Specialist Sports College. In February 2014, St. Mary's became the fifth school in the country to become part of the John Paul II Foundation for Sport.

PE and Sport News Stories


The Physical Education and Sport Faculty includes eight Physical Education specialists and one teacher of Psychology.  The Faculty also benefits from the support of a dedicated Administrative Assistant. The School Games Organiser post is also based at St. Mary’s.

The Faculty Leader is Mr C Thornton who has taught at St. Mary’s since 2000.

Extra-Curricular Activities

A wide range of competitive, recreational and fitness activities are offered to pupils of all ages and abilities.  The school participates in more than 200 inter-school fixtures annually and has experienced considerable success at City, County and National level.

The main sports played competitively are Athletics, Badminton, Cricket, Football, Hockey, Netball, Rugby (Union), Table Tennis and Tennis.

Details of sports activities which take place outside of school hours:

Sports Extra-Curricular Timetable - Autumn/Winter 2017 (PDF)

Parental Consent Letter for Extra-Curricular Fixtures (PDF)



The Faculty of  PE and Sport is involved in teaching the National Curriculum and a range of other work-related and Examination courses. All pupils at Key Stages 3 and 4 receive a minimum of three hours Physical Education every fortnight. Key Stage 3 is taught in single sex groups. Key Stage 4 is taught in a combination of mixed and single sex groups.

Key Stage 3

Pupils participate in the Activity Areas of Athletics, Dance, Gymnastics, and Games (Football, Netball, Rugby, Cricket, Basketball, Tennis, Badminton, Hockey, Rounders), using the new curriculum (2008) concepts.  Year 7, 8 and 9 attend our annual Sports Day at South Leeds Stadium (which has taken place since 2000) each July.

Key Stage 4

Pupils can participate in the following Activity Areas: Athletics, Dance, Gymnastics, Games and Specific Fitness Activities.  In addition to this pupils also have an opportunity to obtain the Young Leaders Award (Level 1).  In additional time, GCSE Physical Education is also offered to pupils in Year 9. The A*-C pass rate is consistently around 90%. The BTEC First Diploma in Sport is also offered to pupils in Year 9.  Off-site facilities used in this Key Stage include the local Leisure Centre for Squash, Climbing and Fitness activities.

For more information, please see our Key Stage 4 Subject Information booklet.

Sixth Form

AS and A Level Physical Education is offered and has proved very popular and extremely successful in recent years.  Students consistently achieve ‘value-added’ scores of plus one full grade in both AS and A2 courses. AS and A Level Psychology is offered and has proven very popular.
A recent addition to the post 16 curriculum is the BTEC L3 National Diploma in Sport, a two A Level equivalent, work-related qualification. This course has proved very successful with over 50% of students achieving a ‘distinction’ grade. Students participate in Football, Rugby Union, Netball, Hockey and Athletics activities.
Sixth Form students also have the opportunity to gain the Level 2 in Community Sports Leadership and specific National Governing Body Coaching Awards.

For more information, please see our AS, A2 and BTEC Subject Information booklet.

John Paul II Foundation for Sport

In 2014 St. Mary's Menston joined the John Paul II Foundation for Sport.

The scheme was launched by Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to the UK in 2010. The Foundation is inspired by Pope John's Paul's own vision of sport's unique potential to develop individuals and communities. St. Mary's were the fifth school in the country to be accepted into the Foundation

Pope John Paul II Honour for St. Mary's

Sports College

St. Mary’s first achieved Sports College status in 2000 was last redesignated in 2009. Our specialism in sport has been used in school to raise standards through a range of initiatives that have had a positive impact beyond PE and sport. In the wider community, St. Mary’s has been instrumental in developing a range of initiatives with other schools, sports clubs, and community groups, as well as making a significant contribution to community provision and participation in sport.

Menston School retains Specialist Sports College Status [ILKLEY GAZETTE]

Youth Sport Trust Gold Partner

In 2012 (and again in 2014) St. Mary's became a Youth Sport Trust Gold Partner School for its commitment to PE and school sport.

Youth Sport Trust Partner Schools can demonstrate how they are delivering high quality school sport and improving the PE experience for every young person. Importantly, they are also using sport to raise achievement levels across the school. As a partner, St. Mary’s will receive additional training and development opportunities and will become involved in national education and sport initiatives.
St. Mary’s Gains National Award for PE and Sport
St. Mary's strikes Gold in Approach to Sport [WHARFEDALE OBSERVER]

School Games Gold Mark

The Sainsbury's School Games Mark is a Government led awards scheme launched to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community. 

St. Mary's Menston received the Gold Mark in September 2014 for our outstanding dedication and passion for sport and Physical Education. In particular, acknowledging leadership development, support for talented students and participation in inter, intra school competitions. The award also recognises the strong relationships that have been developed with our local community clubs.

Sports Leaders UK Leadership Academy Status

For many years, St. Mary’s has been involved with Sports Leaders UK and are an approved Assessment Centre for the initiative. 

The Sports Leaders awards and qualifications equip young people with employability skills for life, improving motivation, self-esteem, communication, team work and confidence. Leadership volunteering is a vital part of all Sports Leader courses, allowing young people to practise and build their skills in order to ‘Give More. Become More.’

St. Mary’s receives Sports Leaders UK Leadership Academy Status (December 2016)