Pupils at East Wichel Primary School have just completed a six-week sword fencing course, achieving their British Fencing Association Grade One Award in foil.

From a class of complete beginners the pupils learned how to stand ‘en guarde’, move backwards and forwards, using space to lure their opponents into striking distance so a hit with a lunge can be scored.

Lessons focussed on the benefits of attacks and the need for a solid defence to prevent being hit.

Some of the pupils are expected to attend Swindon Fencing Club 7pm on a Tuesday evening at the Oasis Leisure Centre to continue their development.

Coach and Class Leader, Neil Bromley said “The children have really taken to sword fencing and got a great buzz from a different type of physical exercise whilst learning lots too.

“Fencing’s unique mix of physical and intellectual stimulation can burn approximately 400 calories per hour so the children certainly get a workout each session.

“Since you need to make lightning-fast decisions, it is also excellent for concentration and focus, all of which I think appeals to children regardless of their age”.

Class teacher Amy Benfield added: “The children thoroughly enjoyed it, and acquired many new skills. They particularly enjoyed the variety of warm up games, coordination activities, and getting to wear the kit whilst fencing.

“Learning new skills each week and then getting the opportunity to put them into practice during the free play session at the end of each class really helped them”.

PE Leader Wendy Ash said “Fencing is not a typical sport you see in a primary school.

“Meeting with Neil we took the opportunity for the children to learn something new which appeals to children not attracted to more common sports such as football and netball.

“It’s been fantastic to see their enthusiasm, enjoyment and development where so many of them took to it immediately.’’