The Higher Sports Leaders Award (HSLA) is a level 3 leadership course offered by Sports Leaders UK, in order to develop the coaching and leadership abilities of young people. This course also gives the opportunity for young people to gain qualifications and skills within coaching, which will benefit them in the future.
In the King Edward VI College HSLA group of 2016 there were 10 students involved: Libby Piggott, Grace Entecott, Gemma Broad, David Broadbent, Matt Guilfoyle, Joe Lynch, James Blaxhall, Alex Moore, Rajan Sidhu and Jacob Cadden. All of these students have been helped and guided throughout by Clare Leeson. The course involves the students learning about different ways to coach, and the aspects needed in order to lead a successful and safe sporting session. The students were required to learn how to conduct a risk assessment, plan multiple sessions and lead 30 hours of voluntary sporting work, as well as much more.
The students invited pupils from Oakwood School to come to the college to participate in 6 weeks of sporting activities every Friday morning. Each week they led a different sporting activity; the first session being volleyball, followed by tennis, football, hockey and movement to music. On the final Friday the students ran a multi-sports fun day, which included playing a variety of games and different sporting activities. This was then followed by an awards ceremony, in which the Oakwood pupils were handed certificates of success, presented by the Principal of the college Uly Lyons.
Throughout the 6 weeks the pupils of Oakwood really developed and began to excel both in the sports and socially. Each pupil was designated a ‘buddy’ from the HSLA group in which would aid them during their time here, and this enabled the pupils to develop their teamwork and social skills within a small group.
Personal Tutor Clare Leeson said “Seeing the pupils excel so quickly was very rewarding and made the whole course worthwhile. Each time they left a session they would leave happy and asking what we were doing next time, which was lovely to hear as they were keen to return. “
One of the HSLA students Matt Guilfoyle stated: “It was so rewarding and a great opportunity working with the children from Oakwood. It gave us a chance to put all of the leadership and coaching skills we had learnt into practice, by teaching a group of young people 5 different sports. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in HSLA and will use these skills for the rest of my life.”
Once the time with Oakwood was over, the pupils each sent letters to the HSLA students stating how much they enjoyed the sessions and wished they could do it again. One pupil wrote: “Thanks for the greatest Fridays I’ve ever had”, with another writing: “I’d love to do it all over again”.
The time in HSLA was one of the best things the students of King Edward VI College could have done, as not only did they develop key leadership skills, they also made new friends and made a positive impact to children’s lives.