Ashville College kicks off new school year by appointing former Harrogate Town player and youth team coach as Director of Sport

Posted: 29th September 2023

A FORMER Harrogate Town football player who progressed to become a table-topping manager and youth team coach has joined Ashville College as its new Director of Sport.

Paul Stansfield will play a key role in the school’s senior leadership team, delivering its vision across the full range of sports to pupils aged 3 to 18.

He joins the school after guiding Harrogate Town’s Under-18s academy side to become champions of the EFL Youth Alliance North East Division in only its second season.

Outside of his football career, Paul’s teaching experience includes six years at Harrogate’s St Aidan’s CE High School, where he was Head of Year and Head of Department, and seven years at the town’s St John Fisher Catholic High School, where he was latterly Deputy Head.

He said: “I look forward to working with my team to build on Ashville’s strong sporting reputation and excellent facilities.

“Ultimately, my aim is for every pupil in the school to love sport. I was attracted by the variety of sports available at Ashville, from basketball to hockey, cricket to tennis, rugby to swimming; pupils need to first experience many different sports and skills to find their own way, their own passion.

“We will help every child, regardless of whether they are the best in the group or not as confident, to look forward to PE lessons, to learn and to develop.

“Sport contributes so much to a child’s experience of school, not just because of the competitive element but because of the skills it teaches.

“The skills you learn from sport are life skills. Sport teaches you about hard work, communication, cooperation, teamwork, resilience, and being there for other people.

“These are the things you need in life to be successful, to come through the difficult times, and to enjoy the good times.”

He added: “My remit covers ages 3 to 18, and I will personally teach pupils from the age of 9 up to Upper Sixth. I am excited by the variety of teaching a range of different year groups and the focus on getting the fundamentals right from an early age.”

Among the new sporting initiatives already introduced by Paul are football training and coaching sessions at lunchtimes for all children, boys and girls, with a view to entering fixtures across Harrogate and Craven.

Head of Ashville College, Rhiannon Wilkinson, said: “We are thrilled to welcome a new Director of Sport of Paul’s calibre to our senior team.

“A familiar face both on and off the pitch across Harrogate’s sporting and education landscape for many years, he truly understands the importance of sport in the lives of children.

“His track record in identifying and nurturing young sporting talent will be a real asset to Ashville.”

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