Many education professionals empathise with teachers about their rising workloads, and more often than not, physical education is forced to take a back seat to meeting national curriculum targets in English, maths and science.
Nevertheless, there are hundreds of keen and enthusiastic coaches and teachers who are crying out for the chance to work in primary schools.
Fortunately, their confidence and ability to support teachers in schools’ PE departments can receive a boost, thanks to 1st4sport’s qualifications in the Principles for Coaching Sport and Multi-skills Development in Sport.
With these qualifications, and the experience that the courses provide, under their belt, coaches and budding teachers can go into schools and provide a significant boost to the quality of the physical education programme.
Some of the first students to see the benefits of these particular qualifications are those who graduated from Bridgwater College in Somerset and have gone on to support teachers in the local primary school.
Cameron Birch and Harry Buckley explained how they first heard about the course and why they chose to enrol.
‘I first found out about the 1st4sport qualifications while I was studying the BTEC Level 3 Development, Coaching and Fitness Diploma at Bridgwater College,’ Birch explains.
‘As part of the course, I was able to achieve my 1st4sport Level 1 and Level 2 Awards in the Principles for Coaching Sport and my 1st4sport Level 2 Award in Multi-skills Development in Sport qualifications.
‘I was keen and excited to start the courses and develop my personal coaching confidence, knowledge and understanding.’
Buckley agrees: ‘I was studying on Bridgwater College’s Level 3 Football Coaching Diploma. My passion for coaching was my drive. When I heard and found out about the Principles for Coaching Sport qualifications, I was also eager to learn all about it.’
The 1st4sport Principles for Coaching Sport qualifications provide learners with the knowledge needed to develop their confidence and set them on the road to coaching sport.
The Level 1 Award starts off by developing coaches’ confidence and allows them to access the knowledge that all sports coaches need to plan, conduct and evaluate safe and effective activities in sport, including the fundamentals of coaching sport, planning and conducting coaching activities, and evaluating coaching.
The Level 2 Award develops coaches’ confidence even further and encourages them to engage fully with coaching sport.
Meanwhile, the 1st4sport Level 2 Award in Multi-skills Development in Sport (QCF) introduces learners to the principles of supporting child development through multi-skills.
Those who achieve this qualification should be able to design, deliver and evaluate multi-skills activity sessions, and develop children’s movement confidence and sport-related skills.
As learners will also help children master the fundamentals of movement in a fun, imaginative and progressive way, and make sport more enjoyable for young people, the qualification is suitable for sport-specific coaches who wish to specialise in coaching children and who work, or aspire to work, in schools.
‘The 1st4sport qualifications gave me a better knowledge and understanding of how to be a good coach, as well as confidence and experience in leading sessions,’ Birch explains.
‘The qualifications helped me when I was looking for a job, and I was fortunate enough to get one at a local school – Somerset Bridge Primary School – as a full-time sports coach.
‘My programme manager from the Development, Fitness and Coaching course made me aware that there was a local school that was looking to employ two sports coaches, and he thought that it would be an ideal post for me.
‘I sent in my CV to the school, and then was selected for the interview process and led a short PE session. Fortunately, I was considered a suitable candidate for the job, and I have been working there since September 2013.’
And Buckley’s career has followed a similar path. He says: ‘The skills, knowledge and techniques that I’ve gained from the Principles for Coaching Sport and Multi-skills qualifications, along with my other qualifications and personal willpower, led to me being employed at a local primary school.
‘Fortunately, in the six months leading up to my employment, I was doing voluntary hours within the school’s PE sessions. I heard from a number of staff within the school that there was a position available so I sent in my CV and applied.
‘I was called back and completed the interview process. Luckily for me, I was also deemed to be a suitable candidate.’
So what do the pair’s jobs at Somerset Bridge entail?
‘My role as a sports coach at the school involves delivering sport and PE sessions to all year groups, including reception and year 1–6 classes,’ explains Birch.
‘Harry and I also take three or four after-school sports clubs, and take teams and squads to matches and competitions against other schools.’
Overall, the pair are thrilled with the effect the 1st4sport qualifications had on their careers, and would certainly encourage any other young sports coaches and budding schoolteachers to follow the same path.
Buckley says: ‘If you’re passionate about sport and coaching, then the qualification is great. Personally, it’s been a massive help for me, both in my development as a coach and as an individual.
‘It’s accessible for those who are interested, well structured, and displayed in an in-depth and professional manner.’
Birch agrees: ‘I would recommend these 1st4sport qualifications to anybody with an interest in, and passion for, sports and coaching.
‘The courses helped me personally with my own coaching development and made me realise that teaching or coaching sport was the career path that I wanted to go down.’
Despite the duo’s success in securing a job, it is perhaps the pupils who will benefit most of all from the 1st4sport qualifications.
After all, they and the school have got themselves two enthusiastic, talented and well-qualified staff to lead the school’s sport. So you could say everyone’s a winner.
Interested in delivering these qualifications? Find out how you can become recognised and approved to deliver the 1st4sport Principles for Coaching Sport Suite (QCF) or the 1st4sport Level 2 Award in Multi-skills Development in Sport (QCF)