Budehaven – National Sports Leadership Academy Winners

By Kirsten Hilton:


Leadership at Budehaven was established many years ago by former Director of Sport, Denise May (MBE) and thanks to our dedicated staff and support from the local Primary Schools, it continued to thrive despite the National removal of the Sports College Status. We have always worked closely alongside “Sports Leaders” over many years and are very grateful for the guidance, advice and publicity they provide.

Wendy Crocker has been an incredible Relationships Manager for our region; I encourage all Heads of PE to get in touch with her to she can inform you as to how to get involved. We are blown away by the vast student uptake on our leadership courses; they are clearly very incredibly motivated and keen to learn new skills. Our pathway starts in Year 7 by participating in the Young Sports Leaders Award, this leads into the Level 1  Sports Leaders Qualification and the Level 2 Leadership Skills Programme in Science in Year 10 and finally onto the Level 3 Sports Leadership in our 6th Form.

Throughout the year, we see our students develop skills such as communication, teamwork, self- management and problem solving as well as their self-belief. It is amazing to watch them in action in our festivals and tournaments; they all display endless amounts of enthusiasm and professionalism. They really do make our job very easy, for example, when we run the festivals, as teachers we find that we can stand back as the leaders take total control from setting up, implementing and packing away. This allows us to look at the leaders in action and embrace the enormous influx of pride that we get, in addition to listening to the constant positive feedback from the Primary teachers. Our students are often found wanting more opportunities to lead; at our recent Year 7 Annual NetballFestival, for example, we had 27 Year 8 Netball leaders run the event in terms of managing younger teams, table officials, timekeeping and umpiring. They all smashed it, and were amazing… many future PE teachers in the making!

As a school, we work very closely with Rob Francis who is our fantastic Budehaven Community Leisure Manager (BCL). He liaises with all of our surrounding Primary Schools, inviting them to our events and coordinating the logistics. Without his well-valued support, our leadership programmes would not be able to provide as many leadership experiences. Throughout the year, he sets up KS1 and 2 tournaments in tag rugby, football, netball etc. and many multi-skill festivals. My ultimate favourite is the pre-school book event; we take a well know preschool book such as the “Gruffalo” and “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” and turn it into “real life” in our sports hall. The leaders all dress up and simulate activities that correspond to events that happen in the book. This event alone sees around 400 3-5-year-olds from our surrounding pre-schools walk through our doors over a course of two days; it is incredible! This year we are basing it on Pirates Love Underpants!

Mrs Hughes from our Science Department has also established great foundations using the Leadership Skills Programme through Science. This was evident when we were invited to the BigBang Event last year at Exeter Arena; it was a huge success. By taking part in these leadership qualifications, the students acquire many transferable skills. It is not necessarily leading them into a sporting future. Instead, it will make them much more employable, more active in and around Bude, definitely much more confident in their abilities; they become more focused on their own development, it makes them stand out from the crowd and
certainly they become more valuable to others; my PE department sees this first hand, we are so lucky that a lot of our Level 3 6th form leaders volunteer extra hours by supporting our KS3 PE curriculum, which is great, as they are role models to our younger students and help them to realise the huge amounts of benefits that sport provides.

They also get UCAS points added to their UCAS tariff, contributing to their University application; it really does look great on their personal statement. All employers and apprenticeships will endorse the positive impact leadership qualifications have. Each year, a few Level 3 leaders volunteer to support BCL, when they assist the sports coaches in the local primary schools and this often leads to paid employment. It is great that not only is our 6th Form in the top 20% Nationally for Academic success but the students are also able to gain further enrichment opportunities that have also been nationally recognised.


Leadership at Budehaven is going from strength to strength. I really do want to thank all the students themselves as well as their parents and all the staff for their continued support.

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