The time has never been riper to become a college sports teacher than now. The Covid-19 pandemic has touched every aspect of life over the past few years and a new report carried out by the Sport for Development Coalition, mental health charity Mind, Edge Hill University and Loughborough University has highlighted the role of physical activity, sport and sport for development in promoting movement and mental health following Covid-19.
The report’s key findings suggest that sport should be embedded at the core of strategies designed to tackle mental health issues and social exclusion, as well as deep-seated social and health inequalities. It mentions the large number of community projects evidencing mental health improvements through sport and physical activity and suggests that “to strengthen both the impact and the evidence for movement and sport for development and mental health, community providers could explore partnerships with academic colleagues”.
Meanwhile, Sport England’s Tackling Inactivity in Colleges (TIC) programme has seen a total of £9.5m invested in initiatives across 49 colleges. As of 2021, more than 37,000 inactive students engaged with the programme over four years, representing 83% of the target.
All this points to an increasing role for sports in everyday life and, by extension, a growing need for greater numbers of sports teachers both in schools and colleges. Indeed, By 2026, there will be 7% more PE teachers in the UK, underlining the opportunities in this area.
An ability to multitask is essential for the role. These include: lesson planning, education delivery, marking assignments and providing appropriate feedback, conducting one-to-one meetings, partaking in parent evenings and more, while conducting yourself positively in the classroom.
The role encompasses more than just that which is taught in the classroom or on the sports field. As Jonathan Sohotha, FE sports lecturer at Millwall Community Trust Academy, explains: “I also ensure their wellbeing, both mental and physical, is cared for and that they are able to manage workloads given to them with minimal stress.”
On top of this, it is incumbent on FE sports teachers to identify and progress new topic areas, courses and teaching materials while maintaining up-to-date subject knowledge. An FE sports teacher should never rest on their laurels when it comes to their skills and expertise. Sohotha states: “It is always useful to enhance your knowledge of the subject by continually enrolling on courses and workshops that can give your added knowledge of more up-to-date research in that field as you can pass this on to your learners.”
Studying an FE sports course can be exciting and enriching for students who can go on to become PE teachers themselves, nutritionists, dieticians, personal trainers, leisure managers, sports scientists, professional sports coaches and even professional athletes.
It isn’t just those with a flair for sports who require the expertise of an FE sports teacher. As the TIC programme has discovered: “Working with tutors has enabled projects to target groups of students they know to be less active who are enrolled on particular courses. Linking physical activity to course work or areas of study means students can see how taking part will help them achieve their academic and career goals.”
This highlights an area where job satisfaction cannot be under-estimated.
Highly developed communication skills are a must for the FE sports teacher role. The ability to work effectively on your own or with a small team is essential, as is a knowledge of appropriate progression routes for learners. In addition, the role will require the ability to “motivate and inspire pupils of all abilities to take part and learn new skills”, as well as “patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations”.
This latter quality is backed up by Sohotha who highlights “an ability to be patient, yet firm” as a key element of a successful FE sports teacher. The most effective FE sports teachers will be those who know when is the right time to cajole and motivate, the levels of which will differ from student to student.
The majority of candidates applying for FE sports teacher jobs will be required to have completed a teaching qualification, such as a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE), while some will be able to use relevant work experience to get their foot in the door.
A postgraduate teaching apprenticeship is also one possible route to becoming an FE sports or PE teacher if you already have a degree. The exact requirements will depend on the job but as a general rule, good grades in English and Maths GCSEs will be required.
A qualified FE teacher can expect to earn between £24,702 and £37,258, according to the English FE pay scales. More specifically, the government’s careers site puts the salary of a PE teacher between £25,714 for a starter position and £41,604 for an experienced role. Glassdoor puts the national average salary for a FE sports lecturer at £39,300 in the UK.
Are you interested in becoming a Sports or PE Teacher? Search for the latest teaching jobs in PE on AoC Jobs.