Sunderland AFC legend and South Shields FC manager Kevin Phillips was a special guest at ceremony to celebrate Sunderland College students’ sporting achievements.
The former England international and European Golden Shoe winner handed out awards and prizes to the college’s sports leaders and students who recently participated in a project to develop coaching skills while offering young people with a range of disabilities and educational needs the opportunity to take part in sports and be more active.
As part of their Developing Coaching Skills module, Sports Coaching and Development students delivered fun and challenging weekly sessions and activities to Directions learners which developed their motor skills, balance and coordination as well as encouraging social interaction, teamwork, communication and confidence.
Phillips, who scored 130 goals for the Black Cats in a six-year spell on Wearside, presented prizes in categories such as Best Attitude, Overcoming Barriers and Challenges, Most Enthusiasm as well as Inspired Confidence, Accomplished Leadership and Inclusivity, Equality and Diversity of Coaching Practice in Bede Campus’ state-of-the-art Innovation Space, and said: “I’ve been to many of these awards over the years and it’s always great to see students and individuals being recognised for their achievements and their hard work. It’s good to see the smiles on their faces and well done to them all.
“Sport plays a huge role throughout the world. We know football makes a huge difference but the benefit of any sport or exercise because of the team environment, the interaction and helping each other is huge and we saw evidence of that today.
“It’s fantastic to be able to lead a group of people and everyone buying into what you’re doing. Leadership courses are extremely valuable, to be able to pass on your experience to others who will hopefully take it on board in their future careers.”
Carl Jones, Sport and Public Services Lecturer, added: “We saw an opportunity within the Directions curriculum for their learners to access more sport and physical activity so we developed a project involving our Sports Coaching and Development students so they could engage in weekly sessions.
“It has been fantastic – our Leaders have developed their attitudes, skills and knowledge which is vital for employment and their next steps by being placed in an environment where they have had to overcome their own barriers and work with people they have never worked with before. It has been really rewarding to see how they have adapted and progressed, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.
“The project will continue into the next academic year and hopefully in bigger numbers.”
Feedback from the Directions curriculum team has been overwhelmingly positive with their learners improving their social interaction and becoming more engaged with campus life.
Linda Longworth, Personal and Social Development Tutor, said: “Our students have benefitted so much out of the project; they have turned up every week and have really enjoyed the sports and activities. They have improved their communication skills, made new friends across college and developed a bond with the Sports Leaders who they look up to.
“A lot of parents are keen for their children to learn about healthy eating and be involved in sport and are planning to introduce the project permanently into our curriculum.
“Because of the project our learners are now taking part in sport outside of college which is fantastic.”
Sunderland College teamed up with South Shields FC to establish the Performance Pathway and create a football development programme which combines high-quality coaching and competitive matches with a choice of education pathways including A-Levels and vocational courses or a mix of the two.
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Our achievement rates are well above the national average.
We are the College of the Year.
(*Top college nationally for BTECs, Pearson 2019)
100% of our HND and HNC students progressed to employment or further study.
(*Destination data, academic year 2016/17, HNC 19+)
We have recently invested £50 million in our facilities.