EXTEND Teacher Training – a new approach

The first of our new training courses has been completed in Barnsley, South Yorkshire and we have sent the first batch of teachers out into the world to offer EXTEND exercise in both the community and within their workplace.

An enjoyable course but was it hard work YES for both the students and the tutors PHEW! So I thought I would just give you the reasons for change.

All EXTEND teachers are thoroughly trained in the best way to teach those in the over sixty age bracket and anyone who cannot take part in a mainstream exercise class. However it is becoming increasingly difficult to get this point over to some of our newer sponsors all of whom look for nationally recognised qualifications for their staff.

So when the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) decided to change all their training levels we had two options, one to opt out keep everything in house and gradually loose our status on our very specialised part of the training spectrum or two meet the challenge and push for the biggest change in our courses since the inception of EXTEND.

Never ones to sit about and procrastinate. The management and training committee took the decision to move forward and look for an awarding body which was well regulated, well known and respected as a quality provider of national qualifications.

We found VTCT (Vocational Training Charitable Trust) who offer numerous courses often within the college framework they are a registered charity who use their income to give to facial disfigurement charities and educational causes.

After meeting with us to find out our needs VTCT have designed a course based around EXTEND which is mapped to the National Occupational Standards (NOS) and gives accreditation at Level 2 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). VTCT have been very supportive of our aims and have given us endless advice and backup whilst we developed the delivery of the course and this support is still ongoing for which we can only offer our sincere thanks.

So you are probably thinking that is all very well but what will it mean to our future Teachers and our class members. Teachers will be given a modern solid background and the expertise to teach Exercise to Music with a greater appreciation of the body and how exercise can affect it.

Student teachers are also encouraged to have a greater understanding of a variety of health exercises some of which have not been part of EXTEND training before enabling them to possess a better personal awareness of their members needs, allowing members to reach their personal goals in the group class situation. The qualification also has specialist sections which are structured to ensure all teachers know how to adapt sessions to an older age group and another section for physical activity with disabled clients.

The whole qualification also makes the new teacher aware of the legal and ethical responsibilities of running a class but never forgets that EXTEND is not only about offering exercises to our class members but doing that with classes that are SAFE and FUN.
Later this spring the new Training Courses (leading to the VTCT Level 2 Certificate in Instructing Exercise to Music to Older Adults and People with Disabilities) will be rolled out nationally.

Nationally recognised Quality Training produces Quality Teachers moving EXTEND forward.

Lynne Berry

21st March 2011

EXTEND has been featured in VTCT news, PDF available here