New look Sports Coaching courses launch from 2017

Every 5 years the University goes through a process known as ‘revalidation’. The purpose of this revalidation is to scrutinise the suite of courses offered by a department to ensure the courses uphold academic standards, are in-line with industry requirements, and most importantly offer the best opportunity to learn for students.

Following a recent successful revalidation process in May the School of Sport and Exercise have made some exciting changes to the previous Sports Development and Coaching degree. A newly structured and titled BA (hons) Sports Coaching will launch from September 2017, with a further brand-new BSc (hons) Football Coaching and Performance accelerated degree starting from September 2018.

The changes in our sports coaching provision are exciting and dynamic, only serving to improve the quality of the courses we offer and produce more highly skilled, knowledgeable and employable graduates. With student feedback being a key component and catalyst behind these changes , we feel that these changes best allow us to showcase our continued excellence, with students at the forefront of our endeavours.

The new course BSc (Hons) Football Coaching and Performance will be delivered with support and partnership from Staffordshire F.A. and key staff from The F.A. With improvements to the already successful Sport Development and Coaching degree (renamed BA (Hons) Sports Coaching) to better reflect the employment sector, with a development route for those that choose. These changes will only serve to further improve the quality of provision in the sports coaching department, and on the sports coaching course, which scored 97% for student satisfaction rate in the last NSS appraisal.

We’re sure that you will agree that exciting times are ahead for both students and staff in the Department for Sport and Exercise!

For further details on our sports coaching provision, please contact Ashley Gill.
Ashley Gill (BSc., MSc., PGCE, FHEA)
Lecturer in Sports Coaching
Course Leader: BSc Football Coaching and Performance
Teaching Excellence Fellow

Faculty of Health Sciences
School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise
Brindley Building (B182)
Leek Road Campus
Stoke on Trent

The Second Performance Psychology Conference Wednesday 18th October 2017

The Sport and Performance Psychology Group at Staffordshire University are hosting their Second Performance Psychology Conference on Wednesday 18th October 2017.

Following the success of the Inaugural event in October 2016, this year’s conference will bring together world-leading expert practitioners who will share their insights of applying evidence-based approaches to sport, exercise, and performance psychology.

The format of the day includes interactive workshops, keynote speakers, and a panel discussion including international and Paralympic athletes to experienced performance psychologists.

The conference is suitable for practitioners at all levels, from students and trainees to experienced and expert psychologists, and it’s evidence-based focus means the conference will also be of interest to researchers.

Dr Matthew Slater

Staffs Sport & Exercise Team Promoting Females in Sport

Members of the Sport and Exercise team at Staffordshire University, held an event to promote positive female role models, develop a stronger social identity for women, and encourage networking between women who are working and studying in this area. The recently hosted careers event, gave opportunity for our female students, recent graduates and other guest speakers to share their thoughts and experiences regarding the opportunities and barriers that women face in sport. They spoke about: what attracted them to studying sport, and into the job they have currently, as well as the job opportunities/barriers for females who wish to study and work in sport and exercise. Finally, they offered advice to females intending to study and work in a wide variety of sport and exercise professions.

Feedback from the evening reflected how useful the event was and how inspiring personal stories from other women can be and included:Females in Sport Post Event

“The speakers were diverse and interesting to listen to.”

“It was good to hear women’s success stories in sport, which gave me confidence.”

“The case study stories of the presenters were very powerful and personal. This meant that the audience could identify with the authenticity of the speakers and relate it to their own situation.”

Everyone involved in the event were extremely grateful to all the speakers who gave up their time to come and share their stories. We hope that by promoting and encouraging our students (past, present and future), to attend these events, we can inspire them to achieve success in their career within sport and exercise.

If you would like to find out more about activities within sport and exercise, please contact:

Jacky Forsyth,
Relevant blog:

Lynne Duval,
Alison Bambridge,

New Fast Track BSc (Hons.) Soccer Coaching and Performance to begin in Sept 2018

Staffordshire University’s Sports Coaching department are introducing a new accelerated degree in Soccer Coaching and Performance in September 2018*. This course is designed to accommodate a growing need within the sector for sport specific coaching degrees, with this being a specific football focused degree.

The BSc (Hons.) Soccer Coaching and Performance degree is an ‘accelerated degree’, which is delivered over 2 years, instead of the typical 3 for an undergraduate course. The course aims to provide aspiring football coaches from both the U.K and abroad with the opportunity to acquire the appropriate skills, and develop the specific knowledge required to gain employment in the football industry, both in the U.K and internationally.Students at St Georges Park

The course combines aspects of football coaching, performance analysis, professional development and football conditioning. The course is delivered by a highly motivated and well-qualified team of academics, as well as expert UEFA licenced football coaches. Support comes from local partners, which include the English Premier League (EPL) football team Stoke City F.C., Newcastle town F.C., and the Sir Stanley Mathews Coaching Foundation, amongst others. For this reason, there is a work placement opportunity which will provide students with the opportunity to gain a valuable insight in to the inner-workings of a professional football club, or the development of football in the U.K. at a community level.
The course is linked with Staffs F.A., who will provide the opportunity to further professional development by completing football coaching qualifications from The F.A.’s coach education pathway. Furthermore, students will gain insight and experience of using industry standard performance analysis software, for example Focus and Dartfish programmes which are commonly used within professional football clubs.

This accelerated degree will add to the suite of accelerated degree courses currently offered by Sport and Exercise, at present the other being the Strength and Conditioning degree. It is an exciting time for the staff involved and an excellent opportunity for those interested in coaching and specifically football coaching. If you require any further information, then please contact the course leader Ashley Gill (

Sport and Exercise Far East connections continue to develop

Following the success of hosting 60 football coaches from China on a three-month study visit over the 2016 summer term, in November 2016, Dr Jacky Forsyth (Senior Lecturer, Sport and Exercise) and Mr Nigel Lee (International Office) visited various Universities and high schools throughout China as part of a two-week study and career roadshow, organised by the British Council. The objectives of the roadshow were to showcase our courses in sport and exercise and to promote Staffordshire University’s profile, for the purposes of recruiting both undergraduate and postgraduate students to our courses in the future.

The tour involved visits to six different cities (Beijing, Wuhan, Chongqing, Ningbo, Suzhou and Guangzhou, selected by the British Council), incorporating demo classes and meetings at four universities and four schools. This subject-focused roadshow was the first of its kind for the British Council, China, and it was a great opportunity for Staffordshire University to be a part of it.

In the demo classes and career talks, we highlighted what it was like to study and live at Staffordshire University, and students got a taste of how British lectures differ to the customary lecture format in China. We highlighted our current research on the differences between males and females regarding fat oxidation following high intensity interval exercise. The students were able to get involved Basketball session china tourusing our Turning point clickers, engaged in discussion and debate, and learnt about our applied work at the University.

We also met with staff at Chengdu Sport University, Chongqing University and Chengdu Normal University, in order to discuss collaboration opportunities (such as partnerships, and opportunities for research collaborations, and student exchanges). These meetings were only possible because of the recent three-month study visit that we hosted (along with Stoke City FC Community Trust) for 58 Chinese football coaches on behalf of the Federation of University Sports of China (FUSC) and the China School Sports Federation (CSSF). As the coaches have now become Staffordshire University’s alumni, they were able to share their campus and learning experiences with their colleagues and students.

From our experiences of further and higher education in China, we learnt how courses in China in sport and exercise are evolving and growing rapidly, from a strong base on physical education and physiotherapy into sports science and management of sport. From the meetings we had with both the different universities as part of the British Council roadshow, and via our Chinese football coaching alumni, we are very mGroup Photo - china touruch looking forward to future developments and collaborations.

For further information about the sports courses at Staffordshire University please visit our Sport Courses

Sports Therapy Graduates land roles in the NHS

Staffordshire University BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy Graduates Eve Littler, Ryan Baddeley, Chiku Chilufya and Lauren Dicken have all recently landed roles working within the NHS. These four graduates offer further examples of the success stories coming from the Sports Therapy programme , with us having previously reported on our graduates breaking into football and running successful private practices, and illustrates the growing reputation and scope for employment of Sports Therapists within the UK.

Lauren, who graduated in 2014 is working as a Rehabilitation Assistant at the Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust; Eve, a 2015 graduate is working at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, while Ryan and Chiku, 2016 graduates, have landed roles as Physiotherapy Technical Instructor at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital (Birmingham) and Band 3 Senior Therapist Assistant at the Wolverhampton New Cross Hospital respectively within 3-months of graduating in July.

Chiku stated “I’m really pleased to have got this job so soon after graduating and excited to be putting my sports therapy skills into practice. I’m hoping the role will give me the chance to apply my skills across a range of different client background to give me experience across different clinical settings and use this as a platform to gain a MSc Physiotherapy”.

chiku-chilufya-nhs (Chiku Chilufya, 2016 graduate)

With the increased recognition of the importance of exercise and rehabilitative therapy to improving public health, it is highly encouraging to see the number of Sports Therapy graduates being employed to apply their skills and knowledge in this sector of the health industry, while further illustrating the value being a Staffordshire Graduate   can have in enhancing our graduates employability.

The Sports Therapy programme at Staffordshire University is one of the most highly ranked accredited Sports Therapy programmes in the UK scoring a National Student Survey score of 97% for Overall Satisfaction, within a Sport and Exercise department ranked 13th in the 2017 Guardian League Table. To find out more about our programme click here or follow us on Twitter @SUSTclinic.

From Beijing to Stoke:  How Staffordshire University and Stoke City FC are changing the face of Chinese football

As the European Football Championships enter the knock-out stages a unique football programme starts in Stoke-on-Trent.  Sixty coaches from across China have arrived in the City to start a 12-week football coaching programme delivered by Staffordshire University and Stoke City FC. The coaches arrive in the UK across China, from Beijing to Shanghai, from Xiamen to Tibet.

Chinese Soccer Coaching

The coaches will learn all aspects of practical football coaching including undertaking several coaching qualifications during their stay.  The aspects delivered by University and the Football club will include lessons in coaching, physiology, psychology, nutrition as well as practical classes in using GPS technology to monitor player work rates.


The coaching programme is prestigious being funded by the Chinese Government.  The University/SCFC partnership is one of only three organisations in the UK that was approved by the Chinese Government, the other two being at Loughborough and Bournemouth.


This programme builds on the Universities growing profile and reputation in Asia.  Head of International recruitment at the University Dr Lisa Blenkinsop commented “The International Office is keen to develop Staffordshire’s presence in China, particularly around Sports and Exercise, and we hope this is the start of a long-term relationship with the Chinese Government and SCFC. The selection of Staffordshire University as a host institution for the Chinese football coaches underlines the excellent opportunities – facilities and teaching expertise – available at Staffordshire University to potential Chinese students.”


The coaches will be staying in University state-of-the-art accommodation on its Leek Road campus which underwent a £3.5million refurbishment last year and they will be having lessons and practical classes at both Stoke City training ground and at the University.

As Dr Jacky Forsyth who is leading the academic aspects of the project for the University points out that this is important for growing links with China.  Dr Forsyth says “the investment in football in China at the moment is incredible.  Its promotion and development is a key part of Chinese government policy with billions being invested in the next 20 years at all levels from grass roots to elite.  The programme being delivered by the University and Stoke City is important in developing the skills needed to improve football coaching in China.

Angela Smith from Stoke City FC adds “The Football club has very strong links already with China already, in particular with work we do with our coaches based at Western International School in Shanghai so we are used to delivering football coaching in the global marketplace.  This programme will further raise the profile of Stoke City in South East Asia.  It is also great to work with the Staffordshire University on this project, further supporting our partnership.”

The presence of so many coaches from across China completing such a high profile government-backed programme in Stoke-on-Trent also has economic benefits for the City.  Acting Dean of Business and Law at Staffordshire University Dr Peter Jones states “One of the key outcomes of the city being European City of Sport is economic.  By welcoming the coaches to the city and delivering a great programme we will further build the City’s business relationships with China and this will have economic benefits to the people of the City.”


Follow the Summer of Sport and the European Football Championships at #StaffsSquad @staffsUni. 

For more details of the wide range of sport related undergraduate and postgraduate degrees on offer at Staffordshire University check out our webpages at the School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise. We are a leading UK University for Sport degrees in the heart of England, we produce Internationally recognized research which is driving knowledge in this area forward and we work with leading national sporting teams.

Details of the new Soccer Coaching and Performance degree at Staffordshire University can be obtained from

Psychology and Sport and Exercise degrees at Staffordshire continue to rise up the league table for a third year in a row

Both Psychology and Sport and Exercise degrees at Staffordshire University have moved up the 2017 Guardian League Table for the third consecutive year running, demonstrating that Staffordshire offers some of the highest ranked Psychology and Sport degrees in modern Universities in the UK.

Psychology rose two places to 47th firmly securing their place in the top 50th and being in the top 10 of new (post -1992) universities.  Similarly, Sport and Exercise rose 8 places to rank 13th overall in the UK.

The Guardian University Guide rates the quality of student experience rather than just research outputs, therefore it is a measure of how good the learning experience is.  It uses a range of different measures in calculating table position, but is focused towards student satisfaction, teaching and employability.

Judy David Head of undergraduate Psychology comments “this shows we continue to have some of the best Psychology degrees in the UK for a new (post 1992) University.  This rise illustrates what a great degree our students get whilst studying at Staffordshire.

We put the student experience at the heart of what we do, which is why all our Psychology degrees are rated in the top 10% in the UK for student satisfaction.  I’m really proud of what our team have achieved on behalf of our students, and proud of our students too.”

James Capper, Head of undergraduate Sport and Exercise adds “For Sport and Exercise this is excellent news and is testament to the innovative teaching, real world placements and exceptional student support we offer here at staffs.”

Head of the School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise Dr Peter Jones adds “these results demonstrate that what our academic, technical and support teams provide for the student experience is magnificent.  When you add this to the great research and academic enterprise we deliver it makes a fabulous first class student experience.  I’m really lucky to work with some brilliant people who are innovating and pioneering in their approach to producing high caliber graduates.”

Staffordshire University has invested over £30 million pound in the Science centre in 2014, the home of Psychology. In the last two years it has spent two million pounds on upgrading its sport laboratories and facilities.  Staffordshire University is currently transforming its Stoke campus with a £40 million development.


For more information on the range of Psychology and Sport and Exercise degrees at Staffordshire University then check out our website, read the news from the School on our In-Psych or SENSE blogs, and follow us on Twitter @StaffsPsych and @StaffsSpEx  for the latest news

.the guardian

Science centre

Entrepreneurial skills benefitting Sports Therapist

Twelve months on from graduating in June 2015 Sports Therapy graduates Natalie Jones, Sophie Minor and Kate Highy are all reaping the benefit of the entrepreneurial, business and transferable skills at the heart of its programme design.  On completing their studies all three of these graduates took the first brave steps into the world of work by setting up their own sports therapy businesses.  In a competitive market, all three have successful developed their business drawing upon the skills and knowledge gained throughout their studies to ensure they have been able to survive the initial challenges that all new businesses face in its first year and have now begun to establish a strong reputation for their practice.


Reflecting back on their studies Sophie stated “The business proposal assessment we had to complete has helped me massively in setting up my “Sophie Minor Sports Injury and Rehabilitation Clinic” based in Blythe Bridge.  I’ve been able to use the materials acquired in the module and my 3-year plan in almost identical to that which I submitted for my assessment, allowing me to put my knowledge into practice”.


Adding further to this Natalie stated that “Having to complete the work placement module really helped to confirm to me which path of sports therapy I wanted to follow, and gave me a really insight into how to effectively use my time during appointment,Natalie Jones clinic logo and being able to develop communication skills with patients.  From this module it became an easy decision to base my “Natalie’s Sports Therapy and Massage”  business out of LS Health Club in Stafford.  I know love being in a working environment that I feel comfortable in and having a positive impact on people’s lives”.



All three of these graduates have utilised the increasing importance of online and social media marketing of their businesses and describe the importance the role of this in generating the initial client base.  Natalie said “A lot of behind the scenes work is needed to simply get clients through the door such as advertising, of which word of mouth is highly underrated. It’s also become abundantly clear to never stop studying or stop learning about lesser known conditions.” While Sophie added “The hardest thing was drawing people’s attention to my business to allow my reputation to build; therefore i put on a new offer each month to gain this attention. This has worked really well and I now notice that Sophie Minor Clinic Room Sophie Minor private practiceword of mouth is the best form of advertisement which has brought many people into my clinic.”




To illustrate the impact that Staffs students are now having further afield than Staffordshire, Kate Highy has successfully overseen the growth of her own Sports Therapy business in Windsor.  Similar to Natalie and Sophie, Kate has shown how the development of her understanding of the role that social media can play in driving new businesses by using her Kate Highy Sports TherapistKate Highy in practice Facebook page to promote her practice and drive new custom.  Kate said “It’s been great being able to set up my business and make an income to fit around my life.  The hardest part was having belief in myself and being brave enough to make the first steps, but the confidence I gained from being out on placement during my course, and gaining that understanding of the financial aspects of running a business helped give me that confidence.  Now each time my client leaves feeling improved from before their treatment just boosts my confidence further”.Kate Highy Logo






The Sports Therapy course at Staffordshire University was ranked 1st place in the UK when rated against the National Student Survey 2015-16 with 100% Overall student satisfaction and recently ranked 13th in the 2017 Guardian League Table for sports courses.   To find out more about our Sports Therapy course click here.

Sport Therapy Students Soft Tissue Masterclass From Dan Buchannon

Level 6 Sports Therapy students were given a soft tissue masterclass in myofascial “Rolfing” by Soft Tissue Therapist Dan Buchannon.  Dan, who has been a practising soft tissue therapist for 10 years having worked with an array of elite sports teams including Bracknell Bee’s Ice hockey, Reading FC, Ipswich Town FC, and most recently Derby County FC.

Dan provided students his experience and insight into the challenges facing new 20160314_140505graduates trying to break into professional sport, before passing on his knowledge of an emerging soft tissue technique known as “Rolfing”.  The technique was completely new to the students and helped enhance the skill set for these soon to be graduates.  The session included some unique methods of exposing the students to the realities of the myofascial matrix through the manual dissection and manipulation of raw meat tissue, before focusing on the application of techniques applicable to restoring ankle and hamstring function as well addressing postural faults in the torso and back.

The students excelled in their willingness to learn the skills and gain an appreciation of the treatment modality.  The students reported “Its been great to have someone like Dan who is currently working in elite sport come in to show us new areas in which the industry is working.  Seeing some the immediate effects and responses of the rolfing has been great too, and is something I definitely want to learn more about after today.”20160314_145119

Having just set up his own private practice (Go-Perform) in addition to his work with Derby County FC Dan finished the session with a Q&A about the important employability qualities within new graduates and discussed the importance for grauates to find their own niche area of expertise within the industry.  The students further commented “hearing from Dan about the importance of networking, and the ways he has gone about building a reputation both in sport and private practice has been priceless, and has been a real eye opener for myself with just 2 months to go before we graduate”.

Dan commented himself “It’s been a privilege coming in and sharing what I can to the students both in terms of new techniques and helping them understand what takes for them to make their own ambitions a reality. They’ve all taken on board everything I asked of them, and if they can show that same working ethos as graduates they every chance of succeeding in this industry.”

You can find out more about more about our Sport Therapy Course via our website or following us on twitter @SUSTclinic.