The Independent Schools Gymnastics Association (I.S.G.A.) is the premier national association for competitive floor and vault gymnastics in independent schools. Its competitions and events are open to girls and boys at fee paying independent schools which may or may not be affiliated to a schools’ association. It has a detailed Constitution approved by the member schools.
Until recently the organisation was known as GISGA, whose origins go back to 1979, since when it has run competitions for girls. It now organises boys’ championships too and so changed its name to I.S.G.A. dropping the first ‘G’. It is known as I.S.G.A. and not ‘ISGA’.
The ethos of the association is to encompass all independent schools, whether large or small, and our competitions and rules are designed with this in mind. Our largest school is over 2000 pupils and the smallest below 100. Six age groups cater for the girls and three age groups for the boys. Many of the teachers and coaches have been involved for a number of years. Whilst our national championships are taken very seriously by all the teams and officials, we also endeavour to make it an educational experience for all involved. It is important to I.S.G.A. that competitions are conducted in a spirit of encouragement and friendship.
What I.S.G.A Does
I.S.G.A. organises annual national gymnastics championships for independent schools’ teams including its Premier Girls 5 Piece championships for six age groups, a Premier Boys 4 Piece championships in three age categories, the 4 Piece Girls Challenge Cup for eligible schools and a 2 Piece championships for boys and for girls at the start of the season. Only school ‘A’ teams can be accommodated in the national competitions. Member schools are encouraged to hold friendly competitions to cater for more teams, such as the long running MISGA (Midlands) Championships now held at Stamford in Lincolnshire, which caters for advanced and novice gymnasts, plus boys’, girls’ and mixed teams.
I.S.G.A. aims to educate and inform by holding Workshops to help teachers to improve their coaching skills and understand how to interpret the competition rules. Judges are also invited to join these when new rules are introduced. The rules are revised on a four year cycle, just like the Olympics. A computer scoring programme workshop is available for people wanting to learn how to use it with the possibility of purchasing it for use in their own schools.
I.S.G.A. is led by an elected Executive Committee. Its officers serve for three years before standing down for new elections at the AGM which is held after the last competition, either at the end of the spring term or the beginning of the summer term.