PUPILS have got a bounce in their step thanks to the growth of table tennis at their school.

Dene Magna students have won gold, silver and bronze medals at the recent county championships, and head of PE Paul Griffiths said the sport has grown and gone from strength to strength since funding for tables, nets and bats was approved at the Mitcheldean school five years ago.

“This culminated in the recent success at the county schools table tennis championships where the boys gained a silver medal at both U13 and U16 age grades,” he said. “The girls achieved a bronze medal at U16 and the U13 girls went two better and achieved a gold medal and will now progress through to the southwest championships in Birmingham in January.

“What has underpinned this success has been the approach by the PE department to increase participation across the whole school at break and lunch times.

“Table tennis has been added to the curriculum for both boys and girls and this has seen the interest soar.

“The increase in standard has been exceptional. We now have a number of students who have convinced their parents to purchase a table for the garage and these are becoming focal points for social gatherings in the community.

“We are now in a position where the students are able to go to a county championship and more than hold their own.

“The boys were only beaten by a team who play at an outside club run by a professional coach.

“That is the next step for the students at this school and something I would like to see set up in the near future. Any help from the local community with this would be gratefully received.”