Nicola’s American adventure will help sustain School Games success


With the massive Gloucestershire School Games now only days away, a Hartpury College lecturer is looking to use her recent research mission in America to get more of the county’s children involved in school sport.

Nicola Stevenson, who teaches on the BTEC Sports Coaching programme at the college, spent a week in the States tasked with the mission of gaining an insight into American school sport and taking this learning back across the pond to benefit schools in England.

“It was a great opportunity; we got to visit many institutes and learn about how they manage participation of sport,” she said.

Nicola was part of an eight-strong select team that headed to Endicott College in Boston after Gloucestershire was recognised for hosting the best School Games event in the country last year.

Hartpury will again play host to the finals this year on Friday, June 12th and Saturday, June 13th. The event, run by Active Gloucestershire and supported by Hartpury students, will be held at the college for the fourth consecutive year and will see hundreds of primary and secondary school children taking part in a variety of sporting activities from mountain biking and archery to softball and rowing.

Talking about the USA trip, Nicola said: “We were able to explore American culture and how this supports students and their experience in physical education from elementary schools (primary) all the way through to college.

“Our main aim was to look at how we can help increase participation in the School Games back home and we were able to develop an action plan that should help us achieve an even more successful event this year.”

The Gloucestershire School Games is part of a national programme of competitive sport that is open to all young people in every school from all districts of Gloucestershire. It is a celebration of competitive sport that involves young people aged between five and 18 of all abilities and backgrounds.

The group that visited the US presented their ideas at a recent conference in Loughborough as they now look to take inspiration from their American adventure to host successful School Games into the future. Nicola was also able to share best practice from Gloucestershire.

Nicola added: “The action plan we have created will hopefully help us to measure the impact of the School Games and provide us with new ways to raise awareness of the event.

“I was able to sit in on a lot of practices in the US and take note of different ways that the staff engaged with the students; experiences that will help me improve my own teaching and that I can share with colleagues at Hartpury. I also got some fresh ideas about how we can enhance the recreational sport offer at the college and I will be working with other people at the college to try and set these ideas in motion.

“My time in America has also created some lasting links with institutions like the Youth Sports Trust and Endicott College, which could always lead to other partnership learning projects in the future.”

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