Sky Sports Living for Sport Teacher of the Year finalists are a class apart

By @SkySportsLFS.   Last Updated: 15/03/13 8:05am

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Three finalists are in the running for the Sky Sports Living for Sport Teacher of the Year 2012.

Each has been recognised for the outstanding sport led projects they have delivered and the positive impact they have had on their students' lives.

Here's the line-up... and remember that you can watch the ceremony live on your laptop or PC at from 11.30am on Friday.

To read about the 12 regional finalists contesting the Sky Sports Living for Sport Student of the Year 2012 award, click here.

Alan Keane, Lampton School

Alan Keane, a PE teacher at Lampton School in Hounslow, has led the school's Sky Sports Living for Sport projects for the last three years. In his role as Basketball Director for the school's Basketball Academy, Alan works with pupils using Sky Sports Living for Sport resources to improve their attainment.

As well as fulfilling his day-to-day commitments within a busy PE department, Alan has gone the extra mile to raise the profile of the Basketball Academy and provide the pupils who participate the opportunity to work with fantastic coaches in a competitive environment.

Alan's commitment to the Academy sees him spend an additional 22 hours a week running extra training sessions for the Academy players alongside open sessions for students who like to play the sport recreationally. He trains around 100 Lampton pupils each week as well as being involved with teams outside of school, including the England Under-16 team.

Alan provides fantastic opportunities for his pupils, many of whom face numerous personal challenges, and uses sport as a tool for improving their lives. In 2010, he organised a trip to London for students to meet American basketball star Kobe Bryant and in 2011 Alan took another group to meet Miami Heat player LeBron James. Both trips were to reward students who showed commitment to training and made significant improvements in their school work.


Watch the ceremony at from 11.30am

Each summer Alan gives up part of his holiday to take pupils to the Five Star Camp in Leeds and his Easter holidays are spent in France at the annual Under-13 International tournament. This unpaid work is an example of how committed Alan is to developing the skills of his pupils.

One of Alan's pupils, Yahya Muhieddine, was named the Sky Sports Living for Sport London Student of the Year in 2011, after Alan chose him to take part in the school's project. Using basketball, Alan taught Yahya the importance of self-control, discipline and dedication, which had a positive effect on him both in and out of school.

In 2012 Alan gave 17 pupils the opportunity to go to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, giving up his own courtside basketball tickets for his students. In addition to this, Alan uses the Sky Sports Living for Sport Athlete Mentors as another way of inspiring the pupils. The most recent visit from Lesley Owusu, who shared her personal story with the project group, gave the pupils a real life example of how commitment and determination could help them to achieve their goals.

Demonstrating commitment, enthusiasm and kindness to his pupils, which is mirrored in the respect, trust and behavioural improvements he inspires in return, Alan is an excellent example of how Sky Sports Living for Sport can be delivered through inspirational leadership.

Lesley Reynolds, Brockington College

Lesley Reynolds, a Senior Teaching Assistant at Brockington College, Leicester, has been responsible for delivering the school's Sky Sports Living for Sport projects for the last eight years.

Lesley believes that sport can be used to transform lives and her commitment to the initiative has led to over 150 pupils having the chance to participate in Sky Sports Living for Sport projects. In particular, she works with those pupils who are disengaged with school life or struggling either academically or personally, teaching them sporting skills which can help them to improve their lives.

Lesley has shown great creativity and has organised a range of sport-led projects, from traditional sports such as tennis and football to boxing, cheerleading and self-defence. Her infectious enthusiasm has even resulted in local clubs offering to provide their facilities for free.

Lesley carefully plans each project to ensure it will be both enjoyable and motivational for the pupils. Her aim is always to improve their confidence and attainment as well as to teach them important life skills, such as self-control and respect for others.

The impact Lesley's work has had on the pupils has been recognised by her fellow teachers and her sensitive approach and support has helped to re-engage many students with school life. She goes the extra mile to provide mentoring to the pupils and many have gone on to get involved with extracurricular activities.

One example of this was when a group of pupils involved in a SSLFS cheerleading project successfully delivered their own training session for younger pupils. Their enthusiasm and increase in confidence was evident as they taught others the new skills they had learnt.

Lesley does all she can to ensure pupils are given the opportunity to succeed and her positivity has been life changing for some students. Lesley epitomises everything that Brockington College stands for and clearly represents the school's motto: Learning to Live Life to the Full.

Constantly looking for new ways to inspire and develop pupils, Lesley is energetic and highly committed to ensuring pupils at the school develop into happy, confident young adults. Sky Sports Living for Sport has been instrumental to helping her to achieve this.

Natalie Wilsher, The Sele School

Natalie Wilsher, a PE and Science teacher at The Sele School in Hertford, has been responsible for the school's Sky Sports Living for Sport projects for the last three years.

Natalie focuses on working with pupils who have low attainment levels or those with Special Educational Needs (SEN) with the objective being to increase their self-esteem and improve behaviour.

In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, Natalie consistently goes above and beyond in delivering the sport-led projects. Alongside the motivational Athlete Mentor visits, Natalie uses her two teaching specialisms, Sport and Science, to create projects focussed on exploring the Science of Sport.

For one Year 8 project, Natalie rewrote the science module the students were studying to focus on BMX-ing and how it affects the body, using kinaesthetic learning to engage the pupils. Athlete Mentor Mike Mullen's exhilarating BMX demonstration brought the module to life and all of the pupils involved subsequently achieved higher science grades.

Noticing the beneficial impact that her sport/science-led approach had on both the academic attainment and confidence of pupils in that project, Natalie insisted that the entire school should benefit from future Athlete Mentor visits. On his second visit, Mullen and Natalie taught the whole school the science of BMX-ing, in just one day.

Another project Natalie designed focussed on gymnastics and encouraged a group of autistic and SEN students to work together as a team. She arranged for them to produce a show which they performed at the end of the project. This boosted the student's self-esteem and taught them the importance of teamwork.

The outstanding results of Natalie's projects have been recognised by her fellow teachers and some of her ideas have since been replicated across multiple faculties. The success of the projects is also evident in the students' behaviour. Many are exhibiting increased self-esteem, achieving more academically, developing better teamwork skills and demonstrating improved behaviour.

Natalie's dedication has helped to increase the profile of sport and science throughout the school. Her zeal for each project, and determination to encourage and engage with students from all backgrounds, is continually helping students to realise their potential and achieve their dreams.

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