December 14, 2018, by Charlotte Gauja

Sport in Schools Case Study Squash

For the final week of University term, I joined Helen Walker and Hollygirt School for their weekly squash session held at the University. These squash sessions, which started in November, are run as part of the Leadership Academy Sport in School programme led by students.

Sport in Schools is one of the programmes provided by UoN Sport Leadership Academy, where students lead sessions for school students across Nottinghamshire. The structure of the programme is tailored to each sport but is typically weekly sessions in school or at the University for up to 30 children. The aim of the programme is provide school students the opportunity to try new sports and get active, while also allowing Sports Leaders to develop transferable skills, gain crucial experience and showcase their sport.

Over the weeks, Hollygirt Year 10 and 11 students have gone from never playing squash before to being able to manage their own round robin tournaments and umpire a few agreed rules. Players on each of the four courts were then ranked on their results and will continue in playoffs for their final week of term led by their teachers.

Speaking to Hollygirt’s PE teacher, he said that having worked at a number of schools, it was great to give the children this opportunity to try sports they have not played before. The students themselves said that they “enjoy (their) PE lessons, especially with Helen as she makes them really fun.” The children also talked about how they enjoy visiting the University for PE lessons and some even talked of their own aspirations for University, including History and Medicine.

Helen, who had only previously volunteered at a local Brownie group and Nursery, took the opportunity to gain her Level 1 Squash Coach Qualification through the Leadership Academy Qualification Fund last year, and now runs the Squash in Schools programme. Along with other Sports Leaders from Squash, Helen delivers coaching and new opportunities to up to 20 children.

Helen said, “I’ve enjoyed volunteering because I’ve developed valuable leadership skills for myself and have watched the students improve so much over the last few weeks, which is really rewarding. I have learnt that it is important to be able to adapt plans on the spot, and the importance of encouraging the students constantly and recognising all their achievements.”

Taking a step back, it was great to watch the children hold their own tournaments showing great teamwork, communication skills and sportsmanship while also playing some good squash. It is also great to see students like Helen develop their own skill set through the Sport in School programme.”

There is a range of exciting opportunities coming up with local Nottingham schools, so if interested in getting involved with University of Nottingham Leadership Academy, find out more at


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