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Sports Graduate Fellow experiences

As Oakham School Sports Department begins the recruitment process for the next intake of Sports Graduate Fellow roles starting in September 2021, we talk to current and former Sports Graduates about the experience they have gained at the School. 

Being a Sports Graduate at Oakham School is an exciting opportunity to live and work within Oakham’s co-educational boarding school environment and benefit from the expertise of highly qualified Sports teachers and coaches within Oakham School. 

Previous Sports Graduates have spoken of the enjoyment and skills they learnt whilst being a part of the thriving Sports Department. One of the first Sports Graduates to undertake the role, Joel Tratt, came to Oakham in 2014 to run the Strength and Conditioning programme and remained an integral member of staff for over three years. 

On speaking about his role, Joel said, “The Oakham School community is an awesome one to be a part of. Both in and outside of sport, I met and worked with some incredible people who I will consider friends for life. Within the Sports Department, I loved the overriding philosophy of giving the students the best possible sporting experience without making it a win at all costs culture. 

I have remained in contact with a number of OOs, some of whom are playing professional sport, and their days representing the School alongside their close friends remains as special a sporting memory as any, and it’s the power of this bond and experience I will remember fondly from my time working at Oakham.” 

Joel is now the Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach at Somerset County Cricket Club and says the Sports Graduate role prepared him by, “Giving me the opportunity to work across a range of ages and genders which ensured I had to be adaptable in my approach and have the ability to change my coaching style subjective of the individual. This is no different in the world of professional cricket and my time at Oakham ensured I had some good preparation for the challenges it brings.” 

Caitlin Jeffries (OO 11) studied Physiotherapy at university before returning to Oakham as a Sports Graduate in 2015 where she undertook her PGCE and became a NQT in 2018. Her specialist sport was hockey, and she was selected for England and GB U21, competing in the Youth Olympics and the U21 World Cup. “Gaining my PGCE at Oakham with the help of some very experienced staff has helped me develop into the teacher I am today; I owe a lot to the School for all the opportunities it has given me. I am now Head of Hockey at Leicester Grammar School, teaching PE and academic PE. Having had the opportunity at Oakham to lead Senior and Lower School hockey teams, as well as being involved in the busy admin side of a Sports department, has given me the necessary confidence to now lead my own hockey programme.” 

Current sports teacher, Issy Beighton joined Oakham as a Sports Graduate in 2019, having studied Sport and Exercise Science at Loughborough University. “Having been in a Graduate position, I benefitted from broadening my subject knowledge when coaching hockey and netball. Being involved when assisting with PE lessons has given me the confidence to lead lessons myself, now in a more permanent position. Drawing upon the advice of more experienced staff in the department has built my confidence when leading practical and academic lessons. I’d like to be a Director of Netball in the future.” 

Rugby and cricket specialist Tim Kenyon, originally from South Africa joined Oakham as a Sports Graduate in 2020 and says, “For someone coming from a foreign country, the Oakham sports team really creates a family environment allowing you to settle in and learn. The School provides an easy 

transition from studying at university to working in a professional environment with a great array of ex-professional sports men and women, all with different insights and methods of coaching and teaching. The School allows for you to learn whilst on the job – enabling you to implement different coaching techniques and finding which one works best for you.” 

Leo Mattoccia, a rugby coach from Italy, echoes Tim’s sentiments, “Oakham is a really stimulating environment to live and work in, with sports staff who are receptive to new ideas and are happy to be challenged. I feel I have lots of freedom through guidance and space for development.” 

Before joining Oakham, Leo studied a BSc in Sport Science & Coaching at Loughborough University and alongside Director of Rugby, Andy Rice, works with the Leicester Tigers Development Player Pathway. 

Director of Sport at Oakham, Iain Simpson says, “The role of a Sports Graduate at Oakham is integral to the School’s ethos of being a centre of sporting excellence, whilst helping to develop great sports teachers and coaches. Each Sports Graduate who has joined Oakham has brought with them a different skill-set and I look forward to receiving applications for the start of the next academic year.” 

Find out about living and working at Oakham School as a Sports Graduate. To apply for one of our Sports Graduate roles, click here .

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