School to launch sport, dance and music academies

Gary Smith, head coach at the new SRWA basketball academy
Gary Smith, head coach at the new SRWA basketball academy

A SCHOOL is launching three new academies for students specialising in a range of activities.

The Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Lancing is starting a basketball academy, a dance academy and a music scholarship to help develop the talents of its pupils.

Principal Peter Midwinter said: “With our facilities, which are second to none, and the staff we have in those areas, we think they will serve our community and students will be attracted to them.”

Basketball head coach and former BBL and EBL Division 1 league winner Gary Smith said the academy had everything aspiring players needed to develop, including two courts and strength and conditioning facilities.

“We aim to provide the opportunities for not only talented basketball players but players who are committed to working hard every day with high quality coaches in an elite developmental environment,” he said.

The academy’s mission is to provide a situation similar to that found on mainland Europe and in the USA where basketball is scheduled throughout the day around academic qualifications.

“The academy’s ambition is to test elite UK talent against the best in Europe, whilst preparing players for professional basketball careers,” said Mr Smith.

Students aged 16 to 17 applying for the sixth form are invited to a launch event on March 18 at 7.30pm at the Upper Boundstone Lane site.

The school is also looking for musicians to fill 10 music scholarship places available to students in Years 7 and 12.

Scholars will receive free music tuition, help buying or hiring instrument, a cut-price place on the performing arts tour, one-to-one mentoring and invitations to master classes and workshops with accomplished musicians.

Anyone wanting to know more should contact James Lelean, director of performance at

The new dance academy, Strive2Dance, will be run by teacher Holly Warren, a dancer who trained at London Contemporary Dance School.

A range of classes for different age groups will run on Saturdays and Thursday evenings in the academy’s dance studio, and will cost £36 for six two hour sessions.

Those interested can contact Miss Warren at

Mr Midwinter said: “Performing arts are very strong here.

“Boundstone had a strong reputation for them and we have picked up the baton and continued that.

“When you have an auditorium sell out with 450 people wanting to see performances you know you are onto something.”