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Budding PE teachers given a career leg up by Cobblers and Uni partnership project

Date 18.11.2021

Sporting students considering becoming PE teachers have been given a taste of running primary school lessons thanks to a partnership with Northampton Town Football Club.

The University of Northampton teamed up with the League Two club to offer sports students a placement delivering PE in schools. As part of the Play, Learn, Teach PE project, the students also received mentoring and support from qualified professionals at the Cobblers’ Community Trust. They also gained a Level 3 qualification in delivering PE and school sport. Upon completion of the project, one student was then invited to apply for a 12-month paid internship with the Community Trust, once they graduate.

Five students delivered lessons to more than 100 pupils from three primaries – Millway, Vernon Terrace and Abington Vale – located in some of Northampton’s most deprived areas.

Third year Physical Education and Sport student – and budding PE teacher – Rebecca White, was one of the students who took part in the project. She led sessions on netball, football, throwing and catching and games.

“It’s reaffirmed what I want to do”

She said: “The whole experience has been great. I know the theory, but you cannot beat putting it into practice in an actual school. It’s reaffirmed what I want to do, and that’s be a PE teacher in a primary. To have a qualification on top has also given me a head start over others, when I apply for a PGCE teacher training course.”

Workforce development manager at Northampton Town Community Trust, Lucan Burge, said: “As partners, the club and University are always looking at ways that we can engage with the community – and how we can also include students in this, by finding them placements in and around Northampton. This led to us setting up Play, Learn, Teach PE. Our trust works with 50 schools in the area, and so we had plenty of options for the students to gain a placement. This helps us to deliver our schools programme while the students are able to boost their employability skills.”

Pictured from left: Scott Bradley, Senior Lecturer in Sports Psychology; Lucan Burge, workforce development manager at Northampton Town Community Trust; student Rebecca White and Dr Emma Whewell, Senior Lecturer in Physical Education.

Dr Emma Whewell, Senior Lecturer in Physical Education at the University, has been impressed with the students’ development after completing the project.

“It’s been a really valuable experience for them,” she said. “The students have worked with a wide range of young people in schools, which has really improved their confidence in their own ability and developed their skills.

“The project has given them a real understanding of what working as a PE teacher is like, and has helped to focus the students’ minds on whether they think it’s a career they’d like to pursue.”

Play, Learn, Teach PE was funded by the University’s Chancellor’s Fund.

Top photo, from left: Lucan Burge, workforce development manager at Northampton Town Community Trust, and students Tom Banks, Rebecca White and Elliot Dawes.