Monthly Archives: July 2017

Student Spotlight: FA University Football Activators

Alongside their undergraduate studies Lauren Comery-Lang and Daniel Sheehan (Sport Development & Coaching, Year 2) have been working as FA Football Activators at the University of Lincoln. This is an excellent experience for students who want to pursue a career in Sport Development. In this short Q&A they tell us all about their experiences.

Q: How did you get your current role and how long have you been in post?

Daniel: During my first year at University, I heard about two members of Lincolnshire FA coming into speak at the beginning of a second year lecture. As first years, we were invited to attend. I got the position by applying via email, detailing why I feel as though the role would be good for my development and the passion I have for football. Fortunately I was lucky enough to be asked to meet up for what I believed to be an interview, but was offered the role as soon as we begun chatting.

Lauren: I got involved in the programme through seeing a notice on the sports centre screen in the reception with the position advertised. I applied and went through an interview process where I had to deliver a 10 minute presentation about what I could bring to the role and the things I would like to implement. I’ve currently been in post for a year but it looks like I’m continuing for next year as I plan to launch a FE/HE football education development hub which I have created to bridge the gap between completing courses and progressing into the community. This is due to launch in fresher’s week.

FA activators

Q: Can you describe your role?

Daniel: My role is the University of Lincoln Football Activator for participation, as which I am required to engage with the university community to organise football opportunities and engage with the students to promote footballing activities. As well as the playing opportunities I have been a part of, I have attended events such as the fresher’s sports fayre to promote opportunities such as coaching, refereeing and voluntary positions. This year, the FA’s aim is to double female participation. Therefore my involvement has been heavily based around women’s sport.

Lauren: I am responsible for the workforce aspect which includes setting up and organising courses, volunteer opportunities and ultimately trying to get people into football. I do more the administration side whereas Dan is involved in participation and is responsible for ‘Just Play’ and other participation initiatives.

Q: What skills have you been able to develop as part of this?

Daniel: My developed skills have ranged from organisation to communication. Being able to show the confidence to deliver football at the university and stand up in front of others. I believe this role has massively helped me academically, as I now have the confidence to communicate effectively with group work and have learnt how to channel my anxiety. The role has brought out my passion for sport, specifically football and has kept me motivated with my academic studies as well. I have learnt to reflect on everything I do and value the importance of reflection as usually I would shy away from a challenge if something went wrong. But now I believe I can efficiently problem solve and challenge myself.

Lauren: Within this role, I have been able to develop communication, my confidence and overall ability to apply things I have learnt on my degree and apply that to practical settings within the work place.

Q: Describe some of your key achievements.

Daniel: Hosting two social football tournaments this year as well as seeing numbers of Just Play hitting up to 70 students at one session. Organising and facilitating a charity fundraiser with the support of women’s football and women’s rugby societies. Becoming part of the Lincolnshire FA student management team. To further develop my team work and work within the community.

Lauren: I think a key highlight for me was getting to go down to Wembley stadium on a conference day and getting to connect with other institutions and create those links which I wouldn’t have been able to without this position. So many opportunities have come from it: I work with the disability development officer on Just Play sessions and league days which I plan to do my dissertation on, I’ve become part of the student management team for Lincolnshire FA with so many events and festivals to plan it is crazy but I love it.

Q: What do you think you have learnt throughout this experience?

Daniel: I have learnt how to cope with stressful situations as well as the importance of having detailed plans. Being able to adapt in different situations is an invaluable experience, as it tests my ability to think on my feet. I have been fortunate enough to have been selected to attend St. George’s Park Leadership Academy. It has taught me the value of reflection, team work, and interpersonal skills. As well as being a fantastic learning opportunity through workshops around leadership and how to develop football back at the university.

Lauren: I’ve learnt so much from this role and it’s made me realise that development is a potential career for me.

Q: Can you sum up your experience in three words?

Daniel: Invaluable, incredible, rewarding.

Lauren: If I had to sum up the experience in 3 words, it would be extremely difficult. I’ve gained so much from this role and the opportunities keep coming. So 3 words! I would say, brilliant worthwhile experience.

Teaching Key Stage 2 Outdoor Education: Student Residential Trip

In May 2017, a group of students on the BSc (Hons) PE and Sport and BSc (Hons) Sport Development and Coaching programmes attended an exciting and challenging outdoor education residential course at Hagg Farm Outdoor Education Centre in the Peak District. Hagg Farm Centre provides primary and secondary schools in Nottingham with outdoor learning experiences which meet the requirements of the National Curriculum for Physical Education.

Outdoor education is an aspect of the curriculum which provides young people with unique learning experiences which are wholly different to other activities traditionally taught as part of Physical Education curriculum. Despite its educative value, it is often considered to be difficult to deliver and can be an underdeveloped area of Physical Education provision.

Programme leaders Donna Windard and Lindsay Brown wanted to provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to develop their knowledge of this aspect of Physical Education, as well as improving their confidence and skills when working with children in outdoor education environments. Donna and Lindsay worked closely with Phil Baker and Jules Barratt at Hagg Farm to design a bespoke programme which aimed to develop students’ understanding of how to safely plan, deliver and assess pupil learning during a Key Stage 2 outdoor education residential course.

abseiling obstacle

Throughout the course students engaged in activities that Hagg Farm use with Key Stage 2 children. For each activity students received copies of lesson plans that were mapped to the National Curriculum, learning about the setting of learning outcomes, progression and regression tasks, and how to assess learning within each task. The course began with a series of problem-solving activities which were designed to develop children’s cooperation, teamwork and leadership skills. Some of the activities were completed at night time in pitch darkness, which certainly added to the challenge and amusement!

Over the following two days students (and staff) explored the Peak District and experienced a range of physical and emotional challenges. These included caving in a long-abandoned lead mine, gorge walking, abseiling at Monsal Head viaduct, and rock climbing on Stanage Edge.

smile classroom

The group learned how these activities mapped with the National Curriculum. They also learned how to link these activities to other curriculum areas, including geography and science. It goes without saying that these were exciting and rewarding activities. Students who struggled with heights took on the challenge of abseiling, others who were not confident in water jumped into rock pools and some who were claustrophobic mastered caving. Everyone had a sense of personal and team achievement.

Evening activities included workshops with speakers from the National Trust who talked about management of the Peak District National Park, and from Nottinghamshire County Council who provided insight of how teachers should plan an outdoor education course with children focusing on risk assessment.

Staff-led activities included a dusk walk to the famous Derwent Dam, where students took turns to navigate and lead the group in a series of question based activities linked to geography and natural history. One particularly memorable event was the ‘fire-pit’, where stories were shared, songs were sung and marshmallows were toasted well into the wee small hours. A fantastic way for the group to bond and relax. For all, this was a unique and rewarding experience.

blindfold group

 (click the photos to enlarge)

Developing Sporting Ability in Lincolnshire with Inspire+

Gifted and talented primary school pupils in Lincolnshire recently attended a sport science themed day at the School of Sport and Exercise Science. Selected by their respected primary schools form across Lincolnshire, the children were supported by staff and students to develop a further understanding of sports psychology, fitness training and movement analysis.

Images courtesy of Inspire+

This is the first year of this cluster of Lincolnshire schools attending sport science days after several years of success with South Lincolnshire-based schools. The programme is run in partnership with the charity Inspire+ who commission the School’s delivery of workshops. More information on Inspire+ and their Gifted and Talented schemes can be found here:

Thank you to Geoff Middleton, who coordinates the days for the School, and all of the students and staff who contributed their time and expertise.