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Case Study

Dan Willsher

Durham, UK

BA (Hons) Physical Education and Youth Sport IFY


Dan Willsher felt his life-long dream of being a PE teacher slip away when he didn’t get the A-level results he needed. Later in life he took the brave step to leave his retail job and apply for the Physical Education and Youth Sport course with an Integrated Foundation Year (IFY) at the University of Sunderland. Dan is now working towards his end goal of teaching in a secondary school as a PE specialist with mathematics.

I had been working in retail since I was 17 but I wasn’t enjoying the day-to-day lifeSo, I started looking into sports coaching courses initially with a view to finding a new job working in schools as a coach.  When I came across the Physical Education and Youth Sport course at the University it took me back to my school days when I had always considered becoming a PE teacher, so I decided to take the plunge and study for a degree. 

Even working through the pandemic, the University has done its utmost to support me in my degree.  It has thrown up some challenges, but now the sport facilities have reopened I’m ready to go again. From a coaching perspective it’s great to be able to get the kids back in and get them involved in activities that we know they love and have missed during the pandemic. A lot of my development I feel comes from being in front of my peers and kids in school and it gives me the best feedback possible. Being face to face, being able to deliver that session, to be passionate about it and being able to give them the best experience you can is just unrivalled, and I can’t wait for that to be the case again. 

My advice to others who might be unsure about going back into education, do it as it’s the best decision I’ve ever madeIt’s been life changing and I don’t regret a thing. Even if a small part of you wants to do it then don’t give it a second thought, there is always a way.  

Im due to graduate next year, and my end goal is teaching in a secondary school as a PE specialist with mathematics. I genuinely love the course I’m on, working with people with a similar mentality and goal, pushing each other to be the best we can be through constant support.  I've made friends for life while studying towards my dream job. What more could I ask for?!"

Published 11 May 2021

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