For a few days the FBB staff team left the hustle and bustle of London and escaped to the calm, coastal beauty of Devon. We were heading down south for an intensive staff training session before the new academic year began.
Just like a child’s first day at school, the learning started straight away. Jasper Kain, FBB’s Head of Delivery, kicked off the first session, starting with a stirring observation: “it’s inspiring to see the distance we’ve travelled in the last year. The very fact that the size of the group had quadrupled reflects our rapid rate of growth.”
A theme that remained throughout our training was the ambition of the team, both for FBB’s plans for growth and their own personal development. Jasper Schlump, our Head of Partnerships and all-round efficient guy commented, “I got to learn so much more about project delivery, which was something I wasn’t previously familiar with.”
One of FBB’s standout strengths is the way in which we relate and build up relationships with participants in our programmes. With our teaching this year we’re aiming to take a more philosophical approach in the classroom. Commenting on our new ideology, the ever-charismatic Head of Coaching Jack Badu said, “It’s going to be great to see how our participants react to a slightly different approach to teaching than they’re used to. We can’t wait to see the results.”
This new approach to our teaching is called project-based learning (or PBL for short). It aims to give the kids on our programme a sense of responsibility, unity and trust. This new approach to teaching should give our participants more control of their learning, as our new coaching manual has been updated to include a session that can be led by the kids themselves. Our PBL approach also allows an opportunity for our participants to create a different relationship with the FBB staff to that of their regular teachers thanks to the control they have over their own learning. This helps create a bond and a sense of family between our team and our participants.
Day two began with a team run on the beach, before heading back to the house to focus on dealing with challenging behaviour.
We’re big fans of learning by doing, so we all took it in turns to take part in role play that reflected what we were learning about. This gave us an opportunity to demonstrate how we’d handle a child whose behaviour wasn’t conducive to learning in a real-time situation. We all agreed that the best way to handle testing situations was to give our participant plenty of patience and understanding. Bruk Abdu, our resident Filmmaker commented that the role play was a “great way for the team to philosophise and strategise off the back of what we’d just learnt about challenging behaviour.” Bruk then showed us a video that referenced a common theme we saw in schools: a dominant individual in the classroom that contributes to inattentive behaviour amongst fellow students.
Assistant coach and young magician Timi Fernandez took an optimistic view of what he’d learnt that day, quipping, “All difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations – there’s always difficult patches and various obstacles before your goal. In the end, it’s all worthwhile.”
We departed on day three, heads full to the brim with new knowledge and bags overflowing with our new hummel kit. Karena McKay, our Head of Female Participation, described the time away as an “enlightening experience”, and Jack Reynolds, Head of Operations followed up with “It‘s been great preparing for the new school year. It’s so clear to see that FBB has built a fantastic team with shared values but very different personalities.”
In order to give our participants the best possible experience this academic year it’s essential for us to take the time to get to delve deep into what we’re going to be teaching. Our few days away from the capital did just that, allowing each team member to communicate the value they bring to our organisation, as well as giving us all the opportunity to fully understand each other’s roles.
Cardiff Coach Tim Jones concluded our Away Day with a quote that stuck with us all “I once cried because I had no shoes to play football with my friends, but then I saw a man that had no feet and then realised how rich I am”.