Award Nomination: Rhys Cowap

Rhys started working at Wood Memorial Primary School in Flintshire in January 2020 as a teaching assistant / sport coach apprentice. From quite early on in his role, Rhys introduced new iniatatives such as the ‘daily mile’ and new after school clubs at the school, which meant more children had access to more opportunities to participate in school sport.

In March/April 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic worsened in the UK, lockdowns began and a higher number of pupils and teachers also had to self isolate as they became infected. Throughout this period, the school commented on Rhys calm demeanor and his commitment to attend and change his role daily to meet the need of the school and children. This continued when schools were closed for lockdowns and learning continued virtually.

Rhys volunteered himself to continue to attend the local cluster school, where all key worker children continued to attend face to face and as well as supporting teaching and learning as a teaching assistant. Rhys also created new initiatives and games so that the children could continue to enjoy physical activity in small groups whilst also social distancing. Rhys also attended his own school before or after his shift at the cluster school, to help support teachers to create, plan and prepare virtual learning opportunities with his usual class.

When wood memorial opened back up for all children in the summer of 2020, Rhys was eager to pass on some of the new games and initiatives he’s developed at the cluster school for key workers for his own class group. He also shared this with other teachers throughout the school, so that all children in the school could continue with physical activity and sport in a safe manner.

Wood memorial commented at the time how this had a positive impact on children both physically and mentally, helping to provide some normality in the difficult circumstances and experiences that these children had to endure, and easing their return to full time school face to face.

From September 2020, Rhys continued with his Level 3 PE and school sport framework and has successfully started physical activity breakfast club, structured activities at breaks and lunch times, more after school provision and has implemented and promoted more active travel opportunities fir children and their parents. All of this has contributed to a culture of positive, pro-active and a better link between the school and their community.

Since completing his apprenticeship framework in May 2021, Rhys has been appointed as a full time TA with sport specialism helping to meet the employers needs and skills gaps in this area. Rhys is really enjoying his experience as a teaching assistant and has now started to embark on his desire to become a qualified PE Co-ordinator by recently enrolling on the Level 5 Primary PE specialism course with Achieve More Training.

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