02 May 2024 • 3 Mins Read

How Shiplake College fell in love with the Disneyland® Paris Netball Festival

Shiplake College is an independent school based in Oxfordshire. In April 2024 they took three Year 7 netball teams to the Sport Experiences Disneyland® Paris Netball Festival. We caught up with Kat Green and Andy Jones to find out more about experiencing this event for the first time.

This was a significant trip for us

We have had girls in Sixth Form for 25 years, however this academic year was a special one because it’s the first year we’ve had girls joining in Year 7, as we’ve started the transition to become fully co-ed over the next 5 years. This is why the trip was particularly important for us, to give the pioneer girls something to look forward to.

We wanted to create memories for a lifetime - and boy did we achieve it!

The key objectives were to create something long lasting for the new Year 7 girls cohort and to develop their sense of teamwork and cohesion. We wanted to help them to develop their friendships, as they have come from a wide range of schools, so to develop their sense of teamwork and unity was really important to us. Coming back now, what’s lovely is seeing them in different groups now, with new friendships formed. It’s absolutely wonderful.

Junior netball team

The resilience they showed throughout the tournament was fantastic

We took 3 teams and if we had injuries we had no subs so we had the girls stepping up to help one out the other teams. They had complete buy in to the entire experience. Some of them had never played netball before joining Shiplake. The netball festival helped with this as, when they started playing netball in January they had something to work towards, with a clear goal on why it was important to engage in netball from the start of the season.

The girls had the opportunity to be challenged and perform to their absolute best

We were asked about the level of our teams and they were pitched well for the tournament but not so that anything was easy. They were in a safe environment, where they weren’t scared to participate and were happy to take on every team they faced. That was testament to the way the event was run. It was so warming, the umpires were so brilliant with the girls, so even if they were playing a team more advanced than them, they gave it their all and they felt confident to do that.

Junior netball festival at Disneyland Paris

The Elite Netball Academy coaching day was brilliant

It was pitched so well. We rotated through the masterclass as one group instead of in our separate teams and there was clear differentiation in the teaching; better players were challenged and pushed and those who needed more support were picked up by the Elite coaches and they were able to help them to improve their skills so every single player, regardless of ability, got something out of it. You absolutely saw the girls putting what they had learned into practise in the matches the next day.

The coaches really love their sport and its so nice to see.

Elite Netball coacging session


Everything was well organised

The itinerary flowed really well. After the long journey on day 1 it worked well to have free time for shopping and the masterclass before building up to the tournament and then they had earned their big celebration at the awards and the day in the parks.

The app was fantastic, great live updates. Having done a number of trips this is the first time I’ve had an app and it was so great that everything was in one place and I didn’t have to print lots of paper.

We had a few highlights throughout the trip

Seeing the girls at the end of the tournament day just congratulate and thank each other was incredible. They were so tired but were still really appreciative of everybody’s efforts.

Growth & development
The girls just got so much out of the masterclass and they have come away better netballers.

Magical memories
We stayed to watch the fireworks all together in a group – they were all beaming ear to ear - and it was a magical moment, something to hold dear forever and we know its created a memory for the girls.

netball team celebration

The girls are absolutely looking forward to going back next year

For the girls there’s something for everyone. For the keen sportswomen, they loved the tournament, whilst the non-netballers would probably say they loved Disney more. There was something that they could each take away. There are parts of Disneyland they still haven’t seen yet so they are keen to go back, and we are hoping to take more as we’ll have Year 7 and 8 so will be part of the U12 and U14 competitions. We are in love with it now!

This trip is a fantastic experience

Our biggest advice to anyone at a school thinking about taking this trip and is sitting on the fence, is to just do it! To trust that it would be a fantastic experience for their students.

Purely because of the way we were treated, the organisation of the trip and how safe we felt running a school trip in another country because of the support of your team. My advice would be don’t worry, just go with it.

To find out more about Shiplake College's experience, take a look at their news article here.

Make some magical memories with them next year!

If you’re interested in taking your netballers to our Disneyland® Paris Netball Festival  you can find out more here or contact us today to request a quote.

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