Tennis Avenue School
Tennis Avenue School
New Malden I 40 Pupils I 8-16 years
A unique school for elite tennis players, with the guiding principle of “excellence as standard”. The school strives to prepare its students for successful futures, be it on the tennis court or off it.
Being Principal of Tennis Avenue School is not just a job, but a joy and privilege for me. It is also an immense responsibility because I know that every child entrusted into our care is not just a student but the embodied hopes and dreams of an entire family.
Although the school is relatively new, it is the natural evolution of our wildly successful Tennis & Education programme which operated for 10+ years. In that time our students won 16 Tennis Europe titles, 34 LTA national titles and 3 Team Tennis national titles. Six players were ranked No.1 in Great Britain and many others achieved top 10 rankings. On the academic front, two students from our very first intake (of three) gained acceptance into Cambridge and Oxford Universities respectively.
My duty is to ensure that students leave our school as a champion of their own destiny, equipped with the transferable skills and tools necessary to be a winner in any area of life they may choose. This motive underpins every aspect of school culture.
Ilge Alpay LLB(Hons), Principal
We enable children who dare to dream to chase those dreams without risking their futures. We are one of the best settings in the world for combining elite tennis training with academic studies.
Our core aim is to strive for excellence in everything that we do, which for students mean both on the tennis court and in the classroom; we have a proven track record in both areas. For us it means having excellent staff, excellent resources, excellent ideas and an excellent curriculum to address our highly specific aims.
A key indicator of future tennis success is an early commitment to tournament travel and gaining experience (and winning) in Tennis Europe and ITF tournaments. Therefore, our second aim is to make it possible to travel as frequently as is necessary for success by enabling students to attend classes and participate fully from anywhere in the world.
Such travel can be costly, and tennis is often seen as an elitist sport. Our third aim is to make the opportunity accessible to the many rather than the few. To this end our standard fee (£9600 p/a) is 50% that of the average independent school in Britain, possibly the lowest fee in the country – even with elite level tennis training included.
The age range 14-17 is usually when dreams are made or broken, often due to the rapid build-up of GCSE exam pressure which then continue through to A Levels. Usually, children have to choose between tennis and studies at this stage – or settle for less than their potential on both fronts. Thus, our fourth aim is to spread the exam load over a number of years through innovative curriculum planning subject to the abilities of each individual student.
Our final aim is to ensure that, should tennis not work out as desired, then each student leaves school with the best possible outcome for them; the school must provide a broad enough experience to be a springboard to success in any other area of life they may choose to switch their attention to, with the transferable skills and attributes gained.
Our students are primed to achieve success in any walk of life they set their minds to:
- Dare to Dream: nothing extraordinary has ever been achieved that someone didn’t first dream to be possible
- Courage: for a dream to come true never allow fear to stop you from taking the necessary action
- Belief: have absolute certainty in your ability to find a way around any problem
- Innovation: if the solution to your problem doesn’t exist, create your own
- Excellence: every thought and every action should bear the standard you want to identify with
- Resilience: expect resistance and keep balance through anything and everything thrown your way
- No Excuses: winners find no solace in having a great reason for failure
We instil in our students the character required to be a leader in the modern world:
- Truth: understand the difference between subjective and objective truths and discern between them
- Fairness: understand the distinction between fairness and equality, and learn to balance the conflicts arising
- Faith: have an anchor and framework for life – unique to every individual – that provides hope, certainty and mental balance
- Empathy: look beyond rights and wrongs and learn to co-exist peacefully in a world of conflicting ideologies
- Perspective: often the difference between success and failure, or happiness and unhappiness
The above can be characterised as the Spirit of Tennis Avenue. The spirit that enabled the founders of the school to take eight dilapidated tennis courts in a public park and produce national and European champions against all odds; then to pass the rigours involved in becoming the first and only independent school in the country dedicated to elite tennis players (opening in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic).
Why TA School?
We exist to serve serious young tennis players who do not wish to compromise on their academic studies.
By definition, “elite” is a space that can only be occupied by the rare few. It is not defined by intent, ethos nor structure; anybody can copy a successful model without producing the corresponding output. There are many schools in Britain offering tennis programs, however our coaches’ achievements, experience and track record are second to none – and that includes dedicated high-performance centres and academies.
Our reputation is based on home-grown players, not cherry-picked proven talent; we spot potential and build champions “brick by brick”. In this group photo of a previous Tennis Avenue generation are: six players who went on to win Tennis Europe titles; four players who went on to become No.1 in Britain; one player who went on to become No.1 in Europe.
What we teach on court is entirely based on direct, “on the ground” knowledge and experience of taking players from a very young age to national and international tournament success – year after year for over a decade. Our coaches are constantly learning and evolving, being informed by direct experience at Tennis Europe and ITF circuits.