Director of Sport : Mr Matt Higgins
Director of Sport, Matt Higgins, is an ‘all round’ sportsman who has played elite Basketball for over ten years representing his County, the North of England, as well as competing in the National League; in addition, he has played semi-professional Football.
Matt has recently joined the School after a successful and interesting career. This includes time spent working with the ASC Academy in New Jersey, New York, as their Athletic Programme Director and Sport Scientist; co-ordinating and delivering international projects for the Manchester United Soccer School in Paris, which is a role he continues today in his personal time, coaching players from all over the world and he also became a mentor to younger coaches within the organisation.
When asked about his new role at CHS, Matt said: "I am very excited about my new position as Director of Sport, leading the PE & Games team at CHS. Our aim is to develop each individual student's sporting potential through world class expertise, experiences and opportunities and to support those young people in becoming leading citizens within the community.
Matt, who is currently undertaking a Masters Degree in Education and Leadership through Warwick University, began his teaching career in 2006 at Harris School and Sports College in Rugby. Whilst at Harris, he raised GCSE PE attainment to 96% A*-C and became Curriculum Team Leader of PE and Director of Sport in April 2009, leading to the Department being rated ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED.
In 2010 Matt was invited by the Youth Sport Trust to join the Subject Leader Advisory Team working alongside other leading PE teams across the country to re-evaluate, shape and deliver the new national curriculum and competitions.
In 2012 the Rugby Football Union (RFU) invited Matt to take up a part-time consultancy role helping to re-shape schools’ Rugby to further extend opportunities and access to Rugby for all - a role he continues to fulfil.
Beyond sport, Matt volunteers with the Sisters of Mother Theresa, aiding the homeless and those in sheltered accommodation to re-build their lives. Last Easter Matt spent some time in Belarus helping to build a new school building and delivering a range of lessons in their school curriculum.
Head Of Football: Mr Damien Allen
Head of Football, Mr Damien Allen, believes his role is to deliver high quality coaching sessions and provide quality assurance throughout the School. His advice for the students? “Practise as you mean to play. Treat all practice games like a match day.”
Damien has played football since the age of seven for Manchester United. Since then he has played 100 first team matches for different clubs and has played within the Europa League. He is now enjoying being able to coach the ‘beautiful game’ and is studying for his A Licence Coaching Badge.
Damien feels that being a player, currently for Bangor Football Club, gives him the advantage as: “it enables me to be a better coach because I am able to understand what the students may struggle with during the football sessions. This means I can help them by offering advice and tips on how to overcome any problems, for example explaining why a shot has gone wide and how this can be corrected.”
When discussing the game, Damien explained that: “my favourite part of the game is the whole feel of match days and training all week for the Saturday match day experience. I believe that the School excels at providing an authentic match day experience. In my view they are very similar to professional match days due to the dug outs, atmosphere and equipment.”
Damien also feels that “CHS offers everybody the chance to play football, no matter what their ability.” In addition, there is a lot of help with football, from various talented members of the academic staff, so that more sessions can be offered. There is even a wide range of football expeditions for the students; including football trips to Lisbon and the USA, to highlight the different ways of teaching and playing football.
Head Of Hockey : Miss Fay Nash
Now in her fourth year as Head of Hockey Miss Fay Nash, who recently competed herself in the hockey equivalent to the FA Cup, continues to work with Year 3 to Upper sixth students to deliver fantastic hockey sessions within games lessons and school clubs.
Not only is Fay an inspiring hockey coach, having coached since she was twelve years old, but she is also a talented hockey player herself who has captained every side she has played for. She currently plays for Bowden Hightown Hockey Team who recently had the amazing achievement of going to play in the Maxinutrition 5’s final at Wembley which, Fay has explained, is the equivalent of the FA Cup.
When talking about how her love of hockey developed she explained: “I discovered Hockey in senior school, after switching over from football. Although I found it challenging learning something new at first, I soon picked it up and I soon found myself playing hockey for England.”
Although you may think it is difficult to split the role of coach and player, Fay sees both roles as having a reciprocal relationship: “I believe that being an active hockey player is important for my coaching as it means I will pass on the relevant skills/ techniques I learn to the students, as well as invaluable advice. I see my coaching role as a job and one which I am very passionate about. I feel that it has been a positive year as we have seen a rise in the amount of boys playing hockey.”
Fay is also passionate about playing Hockey because: “it is all about being part of the team, which I love, and I always try to inspire and lead the team.” When asked if there was any particular piece of advice she would give to her students Fay said: “Don’t limit yourself in anything you do, in either your skills or matches. Play free, work hard and enjoy it.”