The end of 2023 has allowed King James Academy in Royston to look back on a year full of immense sporting pride. 

The Garden Walk school has a busy extra curricular calendar which provides pupils with extra opportunities from their PE lessons to develop skills and understanding.

It also allows them to compete against other schools and since September, KJA has seen 289 different pupils represent the school in competitive sport across 59 fixtures.

This has ranged from Year 5 to Year 11 age groups and across sports such as football, basketball, table-tennis, netball and swimming.

Royston Crow: The U16 boys' football team at King James Academy. Picture: KJAThe U16 boys' football team at King James Academy. Picture: KJA (Image: King James Academy)

The most prestigious of school competitions is the English Schools’ National Cup and two of King James’ teams are making noticeable progress.

Finalists from last time out, the U16 boys, are into the last 16 again after victories to the tune of 21 goals scored in total and just 21 one conceded.

Six of the goals scored came from Jake Emmett during the side's 10-1 win in round four.

Emmett has also been developing himself as a player out of school as part of the Royston Town U18 and U23 squads.

The U15 girls are also flying high though and have reached the quarter-finals without conceding a goal.

They have shown plenty of grit and determination though with the 1-0 win over Acland Burghley from Camden in round four, goalkeeper and captain Emily Wilkinson making a number of crucial saves.

The biggest sporting squad in the school is the Year 5 and 6 football team with more than 120 boys and girls having represented the school. 

Many of the pupils are playing competitive football for the first time although some have more experience with many also playing for Royston Town.

Although football is the first choice of many pupils, it doesn’t stop them developing as young multi-sports athletes.

Other sporting achievements since September have seen the school claim district titles in table tennis in the U11 and U13 age groups, the latter for both boys and girls.

They are also U11 district champions in basketball while the U12 team, made up of 28 players, has had an unbeaten start to the season.

The Year 7 girls' netball team have also shown some great quality having played eight games without defeat.   

King James also took the opportunity to support the Royston rotary club as 36 of the school's pupils swam in the annual swimathon.

The event is available to all local organisations, with people coming together to raise money for charity.

Everyone involved had a great evening with teams aiming to swim as many lengths as possible in the 60 minutes allocated time.

Rob Dowler, head of PE and school sport, said: "It’s wonderful seeing so many pupils eager to engage in the extra curricular activities that we offer. 

"The experiences the pupils have as a team when they compete are providing them with great opportunities to develop and our school values of courage, aspiration, respect and resilience."