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Three cheers for alternative sports, urges expert

Colleges must offer more non-traditional sports such as cheerleading in order to attract a new generation of students who are less keen on time-honoured games like football and rugby, according to British Colleges Sport (BCS).

Colleges must offer more non-traditional sports such as cheerleading in order to attract a new generation of students who are less keen on time-honoured games like football and rugby, according to British Colleges Sport (BCS).

John Hole, chief executive of the organisation, said that while schools were offering an increasingly wide range of activities to students, including skateboarding, yoga and mountain biking, colleges tended to stick with traditional team sports.

"Sportspeople and people on sports courses will always play sport, but we are trying to encourage other students to try a sport," Mr Hole said after the BCS annual conference at the end of last month.

"We have got to think outside the traditional sports. We ought to promote things like cheerleading. They are getting those things in school, and they expect them when they get to college.

"There is no doubt that sport can improve social and life skills and many students go to certain colleges for their sports facilities. Our challenge is to sell sport to senior college managers."

The BCS conference considered the findings of the Future of Sport in Further Education report, which was published earlier this year.

The report led to the creation of an FE stakeholders group, chaired by the Association of Colleges chief executive, Martin Doel. The group is seeking cost-effective ways to professionalise colleges' approach to sport.

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