Staff and students are celebrating after Barrow Sixth Form College became the first in Cumbria and one of only 100 in the country to be awarded Leadership Academy Status by Sports Leaders UK.
The award recognises the high commitment the college places on developing students’ leadership skills and the contribution they make to the community.
The Rating Lane campus, which is now part of Furness College after the two organisations merged last year, offers both Community Sports Leader Award and a Higher Sports Leader Award to students. It builds on the excellent reputation the Channelside campus has for sports courses, facilities and coaching.
As part of this qualification, sixth formers work with schools and organisations to offer sports coaching programmes. The college has partnerships with Ramsden Infants, Brisbane Park, St George’s School and George Hastwell and the students are also involved in helping at their own local sports clubs in a range of activities.
Alan Brierley, partnership manager at Sports Leaders UK, presented the award to staff and students.
He said: “Of 2,500 active centres in the UK only 100 have sports leadership academy status so you are a goal setter. This shows you go the extra mile for sports leadership and ensures you give the students better opportunities to build skills in leadership that will ensure they are job-ready whatever they go on to do in their careers.”
Tyra Rushton, 18, of Barrow, is completing the Higher Sports Leader Award alongside A levels in English Language, media and PE, and said it had helped improve not only her leadership skills but her confidence.
“I’ve enjoyed working with children and disabled children and this award helps show my leadership skills on my UCAS application and CV. My organisation skills and my confidence are now miles better after doing this award.”
Kirsten McKenna, Subject Leader for Sport and Physical Education, said other students who completed the awards had progressed into high-flying careers in project management and engineering as well as sporting careers. Cricketer Liam Livingstone completed the award alongside his A levels when he was a student at Barrow Sixth Form.
“We’re delighted to receive this award that recognises the quality of our provision for sports leadership. It adds breadth to study, helping students develop skills that are not always achievable through academic study and has really enhanced our community links with local schools, clubs and the sports council.
“One of the best parts of my job is seeing our leaders develop – their confidence, their maturity, their general people skills and I have known of several students in the last few years where the additional UCAS points for Higher Sports Leader Award has enabled them to get on to university courses that they otherwise wouldn’t have.”