So what is sports leadership all about? Sports leadership is about helping people to develop through sporting, or at least practical activity, essential life and work skills such as communication, organisation and working with others and, at the same time, making a positive contribution to the community. To succeed as a sports leader, you do not need to be a sports star; all you need is an interest in your chosen activity, a positive attitude and a willingness to get stuck in. Sports leadership has roles for coaches, scorers, marshals, adjudicators and managers as well as players.
Sports Leaders UK (formerly the British Sports Trust) is a registered charity which provides nationally recognised leadership awards and qualifications and helps over 200,000 people a year in education and the community. In 2010 the sportsleadership academy received the Queen’s Award for volunteering, the MBE for volunteer groups and the academy still holds that honourSports leadership qualifications were first offered to students at Highfields in 2003, as optional activities, building on the work our partner primary schools on the Derbyshire Mini-leaders Scheme. On entering Highfields students can take from a range of such qualifications, including dance leadership, community sports leadership and even basic expedition leadership.
When our leaders reach the Sixth Form, they formally enter the Academy as part of the Step into Sport pathway. Currently, there are some 350 members of the Highfields Sports Leadership Academy.
The Work of the Highfields Sports Academy
Highfields, under Centre Manager Jayne Allen, has been working with Sports Leaders UK for some seven years. In 2008 Highfields became an Outreach Centre, one of only nine in the East Midlands. We have our own web page on the Sports Leaders UK National site. We are also a Leadership Learning Community site for the delivery of CPD to other tutors who run the Sports leaders UK Awards. A team of eight tutors deliver the awards and qualifications to our own students, students in the Partnership and the adult community. We have already delivered one day leadership courses to adults in the community with great success. In 2007, at the National School Sport Partnership Conference in Telford, Highfields received an award presented by Ron Tulley, Head of Foundation, Sports Leaders UK, for the excellent delivery of sports leadership.
Highfields School offers the following awards and qualifications:
• Play Maker (Yr 5/6)
• Young Leader Award (Yr 7/8)
• Level 1 Award in Sports Leadership (Yr 9/10)
• Level 1 Dance Award (Yr 9)
• Level 2 Dance Award (Yr 11/12)
• Level 2 Sports Leaders Award (Yr 11)
• Level 2 Award in Community Sports Leadership (Yr 12)
• Level 3 Award in Higher Sports Leadership (Yr 13)
• One Day Certificate in Sports Leadership (Yr 12+)
Our students benefit tremendously from the Sports Leaders UK courses. Self-esteem, confidence, and motivation have increased, not to mention organisational skills, communication skills, and an appreciation of others. Many students have gone on into employment in sports. Currently there are two Community Coaches and a Sports Development Officer, all of whom progressed through the leadership courses with us. The impact has been Dales-wide, with the Highfields Academy being recognised as a centre of excellence, and individuals over the last four years have been awarded trophies within Derbyshire Sport for over 500 hours of voluntary service to sport. The awards and Highfields School Sports Leadership qualifications have made a significant contribution to the life of Highfields School and the community.
Primary School Sports Involvement with Highfields School
Year 6 Sports Ambassadors from our 13 partner primary schools are selected by the Primary Link Teachers, one boy and one girl per school. They are invited to come to Highfields in September/October for the Bronze Sports leader Conference. At this conference there is a one hour session on ‘what makes a good leader role model?’ and how they can be involved in their primary school. The second hour is run by the Highfields School’s Year 12 Gold Ambassadors and the Year 13 Platinum Ambassadors. They lead a session with Community Coach, Lindsey Pearson, on how to run the Derbyshire Playground Challenges in their schools. These ambassadors in the primary schools are then the link when our own ambassadors visit the primary schools to lead sports sessions or take assemblies and when local primary schools come to Highfields for tournaments and the Primary Sports Evenings.