Updated: Nov 19
After a difficult start to the academic year, where tutors and students have overcome many challenges whilst delivering the education, we take a quick look back on the educational side of the programme after the first half-term.
The biggest challenge that tutors have faced this year has been delivering the education face to face with students whilst trying to minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19. The number of desks that have been allowed in a classroom have been limited to ensure there is no packed classrooms and desks have been spread out to enable social distancing. Although the students are glad to be back in the classrooms and receiving face to face tuition again, they are still being careful, as Ossett United student Carl Clarkson told us. He said: “It’s been difficult getting back to the classroom after a long summer break and it’s become more challenging due to the pandemic. We as students have had to be more careful with our hygiene and making sure we are being as distance as we can to ensure that we don’t become unwell because that would affect our education”. Overall, we are pleased with the way that our tutors have coped with the new measures and have received some excellent feedback on how the students have responded to the latest challenges. James Piercy, the tutor for Ossett United told us: “It has been a fantastic start of which the students deserve a lot of credit for the way that they have applied themselves and it is now up to them to maintain their standards and levels for the rest of the year”.
As well as adhering to social distancing guidelines, isolation periods have become a necessity for some students and even tutors who may have come in contact with someone with the virus. This has meant face to face learning hasn’t always been possible which has seen a move to online learning in some cases. Although it may be tough for some students to fully engage with lessons that are being taught online, Ross Langworthy, the regional manager for the south thinks that the students have handled it well. He said: “The start of this term has been a challenging one for all staff, coaches, teachers and students. The way in which everyone has pulled together to tackle the challenges thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic has been fantastic to see and be a part of. We have had to make use of remote learning for both Maths/English and for some BTEC lessons, which the vast majority students have engaged well with”. We are so proud of the way both the tutors and students have handled getting back into the classroom despite the many distractions that they have been faced with and it has been great to see everyone back in the classroom at some point this term.
The 2020/21 academic year has also seen a change to the education syllabus being put in place. The alteration see’s the education being split between first and second years. Instead of the whole class learning the same modules at the same pace, the class is split into year groups and the different years are taught different modules. This has led to students getting more contact time with the tutor when it comes to learning new modules which allows them to go into more depth and help the student have a better understanding of the topic. To get a better understanding of how the new teaching model works, we spoke to the Head of Education for the ESPFA, Mark Baker. He said: “This year has been very different in terms of the qualification delivery at the academies. Previously the 2010 specification of the BTEC Sports qualification had been delivered throughout our academies, however this year's first year students have been undertaking the 2019 pathway, meaning education delivery being split in half throughout the day, with year groups then combining for mid-day training sessions”. The new education model has been well received from tutors and students and so far, has been a success with students actively engaging with the modules and receiving more one to one time with their tutor.
From everyone at the ESPFA, we would like to say a huge thank you to all of the students and tutors who have had to adapt to the new methods of teaching. You have all been brilliant in accepting and handling with these new precautions put in place and have dealt with these challenges in a professional manner.