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BAFA and AQA Joint statement: Level 1 Technical Award in Sport

07 May 2017

Rob Rooksby, BAFA Manager for Schools, has worked with AQA on the Technical Award

BAFA is pleased to announce that Manager for Schools, Rob Rooksby, has further secured the future of American Football in schools (after the success of getting it into the School Games, with it now offered to 20,000+ schools in England) by authoring the American Football subject content for the new AQA Level 1/2 Technical Award in Sport. The updated draft specification, reflecting the changes Rob has recommended, will be available to view on AQA’s website shortly. This exciting new qualification, equivalent to one GCSE, will be available to all secondary schools in England (subject to DfE approval) and Northern Ireland (subject to CCEA approval) for first teach in September 2017.

AQA is the market leader for GCSE qualifications, issuing around 2.5 million certificates per year and, as one of five GCSE providers, it also has the largest market share (some 44% and almost double its nearest competitor). This achievement means that American football, in both its flag and kitted formats, now has a comprehensive and coherent presence in both the public examination system and in the competition-based School Games and Touchdown Football initiatives.

A major factor in this success is Rooksby’s involvement with AQA in multiple examination roles over the past 25+ years and their recognition of his subject-matter expertise in American Football in schools. Rooksby explains: "Having had informal talks with AQA over a period of time, it was the entry into the School Games (with the new competition formats) that logically suggested that the content for the new Technical Award in Sport should match these new competition formats. This gives students a cohesive American Football offer whereby they would be able to study and develop the skills for their qualification but also experience and use those same skills in School Games or Touchdown competitions".

Does this include kitted football too? "Yes", Rooksby says, adding, "the content has been written to allow teachers the opportunity to use the format they are most comfortable with. For many teachers that will be flag but they will be able to introduce kitted football into their schemes of work in a gradual and controlled way. Of course, those teachers with the right experience and qualifications can simply deliver kitted football from the outset. Giving teachers the choice and the support for their choice of how to deliver the sport is key to a successful developmental approach in schools. We have even tried to think ahead to what changes might be a couple of years down the line and hence the reference in the content to age-related 7v7 kitted (not flag) football’.

It seems a remarkable achievement that in just two years in the role, Rooksby has achieved such fundamental changes in the way American football is now positioned in schools. Yet he waives aside any talk of ‘success’, "If the creation of the Touchdown Programme was the game equivalent of a 1st down, and the School Games was the equivalent of a field goal, AQA’s Level 1/2 Technical Award in Sport would be the equivalent of a touchdown. But there is still the rest of the game to play: points on the board does not mean we have won. There is now a mountain of work to do to prepare for the Award’s introduction to schools in September". As with the School Games and Touchdown initiatives, BAFA continues to look to the football community for help and support in delivering these initiatives. For more information, contact schools@britishamericanfootball.org. A new webpage for teachers containing all the Touchdown, School Games and Technical Award teacher-resources will be launched later in the summer.

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