We are delighted to welcome Miss Fran Low to Emanuel School this year as Deputy Director of Sport. We caught up with her a few weeks into term to find out more.
What’s your background before working at Emanuel?
After getting my MSc in Sports Science and realising a PhD was needed to work in elite sport, I decided to focus on coaching and strength and conditioning for a few years which led me into schools. This is where I found the love for teaching and working with young people. I qualified as a PE teacher then headed off to teach in Tokyo for a few years. This was an incredible experience and allowed me to see a fantastic culture, which was echoed in the way sports was played. I returned to the UK as a Head of Hockey in South London and continued to develop my teaching at GCSE and A level.
What attracted you to Emanuel? What are some of your favourite things about the school?
Having played against Emanuel at my previous school I noticed how the students were competitive and showed real grit when playing, in addition to the way they conducted themselves so maturely, giving me a fantastic first impression of the school. These are all traits that I believe are so important in sport and can be taught through good sports and games programmes. Having been at the school four weeks now, it is evident students are competitive and really want to improve and challenge themselves, but with this they have also been kind and welcoming, as have all of the staff. The house matches have been played in a great manner and I am excited to see all teams compete against other schools when Covid-19 allows.
What does a day in the life of Deputy Director of Sport look like?
My typical day normally starts with a coffee, followed by preparing for some PE theory lessons. Most recently trying not to baffle the Year 13s with various enzymes used in the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems! Following this I may have some practical lessons with the other fantastic members of the sports team, with the day ending in an energetic games lesson in the sun. Add a few emails and admin tasks and the day is complete.
What plans do you have for further developing the sport provision at Emanuel?
I truly believe sport is great at teaching not only practical skills, but also lifelong skills such as co-operation, resilience and character. To use various sporting activities and experiences to explicitly teach these is something of importance to me and is useful for not only the student who has aspirations of representing their country but also those who play more recreationally. The aim in the next few years is to really develop this approach and therefore allow more students to be successful in PE and games by changing what ‘success’ looks like. Hopefully they can then take these skills away to whatever subject or career they choose.
What’s your favourite sport to play/watch? Do you have any sport achievements we can mention?
I’ve played hockey since I was 11 and love the game. As a junior I represented Gloucestershire at county level and then the University for Exeter where I was captain of the 1st team, who at the time were in the top six university hockey teams in the country. I still currently play at London Wayfarers which I know many of our students play at too. I also played 1st team cricket at university as well as making a one-off competitive snowboarding appearance.
What advice would you give to pupils for staying fit and healthy during the autumn/winter and Covid-19 pandemic?
Number 1 tip is to enjoy your exercise! Find activities you like then keep setting mini targets for yourself. Keep chasing your personal best but don’t get downhearted if you don’t reach it. It is about how you can get better – not about if you are quicker than anyone else. If we are able to exercise in groups, find some friends and make this a regular social activity. Exercise is great for not only your physical health but also your social and emotional wellbeing; it really does make you feel better.