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Updated: Jan 7, 2022

Before the break over the festive period, our students have been busy learning a new set of units in the classroom, whilst also getting involved in a personal social development day on Remembrance Day. On top of that, second year students have had an exciting term where they have been receiving advice on university applications.

At the ESPFA we pride ourselves on preparing our students with the knowledge, skills and personal traits to prepare them for their next steps after finishing the programme. In the second half-term of the academic year, second year students have been turning their attention to the possibility of attending University and have been receiving help from their tutors with the application process. ESPFA Head of Quality, Tom Gould said: “We have been providing support in the build-up to UCAS applications, with weekly tutorials and documentation sent from October Half-Term to help assist learners with their applications and personal statements. Once the UCAS deadline has passed, our tutors have regular monitoring points during the last five months of the academic year to ensure that learners are on track to meet the final grade they need to progress onto university.”

Seeing students’ progress on to higher education is so pleasing to see and Gould is hoping to see an increased number of students advance to university after completing their time with the ESPFA. He said: “Of the second years that left us last year (July 2021), we had 33% confirm they would be progressing on to University. This was a fantastic statistic to receive and shows the importance of the work we do around university preparation. Hopefully this year we can beat this statistic and see even more learners progress onto higher education.”

To commemorate Remembrance Day, a break in the fixture programme gave the opportunity for students to take part in a day of Personal and Social Development activities. The first part of the day saw all students take part in a 5km sponsored run at their respective clubs, which raised a fantastic £917 for Help for Heroes. The ESPFA Somerset students at Frome Town FC came out with the quickest average time of 21.02, with their attacker and recent First Team debutant Lucas Schwalbe-Goodwin posting the fastest time across the whole ESPFA programme, with a terrific 17.40. The afternoon saw the students take part in a Guest Speaker and Q&A session with ex-serviceman Terry Morley, who was a member of the First Battalion Kings Regiment and was injured in active service whilst based in Northern Ireland, in 1991. Terry, who now uses a wheelchair due to his injuries, was also able to offer some fantastic advice on dealing with adversity, remaining motivated and driven in the toughest of circumstances and using transferable skills in the wider world and normal life.

It is so important for our students to get the opportunity to hear real life stories to inspire and motivate them to prepare themselves for the future and have the chance to give back to people that have sacrificed so much for us. Ross Langworthy, recruitment manager for the south said: “Overall, this day was a massive success for the ESPFA students. Firstly, raising over £900 for Help for Heroes is a fantastic achievement by our students and we must thank their friends and family for such support. Additionally, students were able to gain first-hand experience of how important gaining a good qualification is, how skills developed in many different experiences can be transferred into different careers, the importance of persevering in tough times and, crucially, were able to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who have served and given so much to shape the opportunities that we now have.”

After the October half-term break the students were back in the classroom and learning five new engaging units to further their knowledge. James Piercey, the sports lecturer for ESPFA West Yorkshire explains what his students have been working on in the past two months. He said: “So far this year we have completed Unit 4 (Nutrition in Sport), Unit 8 (Fitness Testing) for the second years as well as starting Unit D1 (Applied Coaching Skills) and the first years have completed Unit 5 (Anatomy & Physiology), Unit B (Health, Wellbeing & Sport). The units that the students seemed to have particularly enjoyed are Unit B & Unit 8 as they really all seemed to enjoy the practicality of conducting and completing health monitoring and fitness tests and comparing these results against normative data.”

One of Piercey’s students at ESPFA West Yorkshire, Harrison Cooper who represent for Ossett United has enjoyed the challenging units he has been learning this past term and has taken on board information to improve his game on the pitch. He said: “So far we’ve done two Unit 4 assignments about diet and nutrition, two Unit 8 assignments on fitness testing and Unit D1 assignment on coaching. Out of them all I’ve enjoyed the Unit D1 assignment the most, even though it was quite a long assignment to complete, it is linked to what I want to do in the future which is coaching so learning about all the different aspects of a coaching plan has been very interesting and beneficial. From the Unit 4 assignments it has made me realise how important a healthy diet and nutrition can be in sport, so I’ve made sure to keep eating healthy and maintain a good weight so when it comes to training and matches, I’m able to put 100% into everything I do.”

To all students and staff, well done on a brilliant start to the year and we look forward to seeing you back in the classroom over the next few weeks and seeing all the great achievements 2022 has to offer.

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