EIGHT young fencers from Prior Park Prep School, in Cricklade, have passed their first assessment in the discipline of epée.

The children, all aged between eight and 11, sat their British Fencing Association Grade One assessments in June at school.

Fencing provides opportunities to train and compete in the disciplines of foil, sabre and epée.

In epée, the whole body is the target, so while there are more places to hit, there are also more areas to defend. This requires careful thought and planning using distance to lure their opponents into striking so a hit with a lunge can be scored.

To support the children’s development in epée, children were given lessons before their British Fencing Association exam, which were focused on the benefits of attacks and the need for a solid defence to prevent being hit.

Having passed their Grade One, the young fencers will widen their knowledge of the very physically demanding and mentally challenging sport.

Fencing coach Neil Bromley said: “Fencing is great for all-round fitness, building core strength, co-ordination and balance.

“Since you need to make lightning-fast decisions, it is also excellent for concentration and focus, all of which can appeal to children of all ages.”

Tom Davies, the head of boys games and PE at the school, said: “Part of the appeal of Prior Park is the wide range of different sports we offer.

“Having already produced international fencers through the school, these children have taken the very first steps and could be next to represent their country.”