Back to school

Andy McGarty hits the classroom with Jeanette Leivers, who co-founded the Target Shooting School.

Target Shooting School was launched in September 2016 by active shooters Jeanette Leivers and David Sprigg, co-founder of Stagecoach Theatre Arts. Their intention was, and still is, to get large numbers of young people into air rifle and air pistol shooting in schools, gun clubs and public halls.

Jeanette says: “When we launched we had no idea whether it would be successful, especially as we were charging parents the same sort of money that they are accustomed to paying for drama classes, martial arts classes and the like.”

But her fears were groundless, because TSS was an immediate success. Just two years in, there are now more than 130 students attending sessions for two hours each week, as well as a mobile range that goes into four schools each week. This demonstrates to children and parents alike that shooting is a perfectly normal sport and is not something to be scared of. TSS now has more than a dozen qualified instructors too.

Jeanette believes TSS offers young people what they want: classes that provide a mixture of fun, serious tuition and competitive shooting. Students at Target Shooting School use Air Arms S400 MPR and S200 rifles and are entered for national competitions. TSS now has more than 35 air rifles and pistols with support from Claire West at Air Arms and Paul Cutts, the Pardini importer who has been very supportive on the air pistol side.

Last October Jeanette organised the British Shooting Schools Pistol Championships South-East Regional event at the Whitgift School in South London. She says “It was wonderful to see so many young shooters there, several of whom were Target Shooting School students. Thanks go to Gorgs Geikie of British Shooting, who has been a real inspiration to me and is unfailingly helpful
and generous with her advice.”

The following month more than 30 students took part in the Surrey Airgun Meeting, which is a qualifying event. Encouraging students to take part in competition is central to the aims of TSS, and according to Jeanette will keep young people in the sport.

TSS is expanding, being joined by Mal West, who opened Target Shooting Schools in three locations in Kent. Four new schools are opening in Hampshire, Kent and Surrey this year.

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