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Introducing Dan Vincent And Trauma Informed Sports Coaching

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Dan Vincent has joined our team here at Future Action. 


We first came across Dan’s brilliant work through collaborating with the awesome Vicci Wells at the Youth Sports Trust.  When the possibility that Dan could partner with our team came up, we jumped at the chance. 


We know that Dan will bring incredible experience, capability and add value to all our community members.


In this blog, Dan will introduce himself and what you can look forward to from him in terms of Trauma Informed Sports Coaching and supporting Alternative Provision Settings.


My Why

‘I am really grateful for this opportunity to introduce myself.

I am 100% committed to improving the social mobility of our young people.


I believe that every young person deserves the opportunity to be their best self and I strongly believe that through providing an education that is relevant and real, embracing the opportunities for achievement through sports and the arts and empowering communities to understand distressed behaviour as a call for help and not a rejection of care, we can support young people to achieve incredible things within our shared communities.


I have been fortunate enough to work for National children’s charities, retrained as a teacher and most recently set up my own school for those who didn’t fit the square hole that is mainstream education.


Setting up a Trauma Informed School

I have always had the mindset that it is easy to complain about something but it’s better to do something about it. In 2018 my wife and I were reflecting on another half term gone by and through no fault of our school leaders, the system was just not working for children and families who were going through tough times.


We could see the system needed to allow more nurture and to look at the child’s education journey over a longer period of time as opposed to short term academic “progress” measures. I purposely put progress in inverted commas as to me, progress is more than a phonics score, reading age or times table check.


Taking Action

We decided, we could moan about it for the next 30 years of our careers or we can do something about it. In 2018, we secured a loan against our flat, I handed my notice in and we set up an Alternative provision unit working with the local authority. We were amazed at how many young people needed education done differently!


The local authority then approached us to ask if we would consider registering as an Independent SEMH specialist school with the DfE and from there marked the start of our vision for nature and nurture, supporting a young person’s future.

 

Making a difference

The school grew and we were able to work with 65 young people across a primary and secondary site. We had a huge focus on personal development being at the forefront of the curriculum. We wanted children to feel safe, wanted and ready to learn.


Our therapeutic offer grew and we managed to gain a strong good Ofsted inspection within the first 6 months of opening. In 2023 we made the difficult decision to sell the school to a larger group of schools, who we felt could continue the trajectory of investment in the school better than we could and I also wanted to explore opportunities to have impact across communities.


Physical Activity and Nature for Personal Development benefits

During my time as Head Teacher and Owner we saw the huge benefits of horse riding and equine care, surfing- in fact all of our classes were named after surf sports around the world- “You can’t stop the waves but you can learn how to ride them” echoed down the corridors.



We engaged with local businesses and had a range of vocational and academic pathways. We even made a school farm! I also worked with the Youth Sport Trust and supported with their research into the quality of PE and Sport opportunities within Alternative Provisions.


Eager for change on a bigger scale

This really marked the start of my desire to influence on a larger scale than our own school. I saw the power of sport and the wider skills it develops in young people. I worked with and cared for young people who were exploited within County Lines, carrying knives or at risk of being exploited.


Sadly, this was 10 years after I was working on a project with a National Children’s charity and the police on supporting children missing from home and at risk of exploitation. Things aren’t changing quick enough. In fact, if we really look at it, Socrates back in 399 BC wrote:


“Children now love luxuries; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders; Children are now tyrants. They contradict their parents, chatter before company and tyrannise their teachers”. 


Surely then, we now need a movement that supports not punishes, cares not criticises and relates rather than repels? Relational practice, restorative approaches to support those harmed by others actions and an understanding of the route cause of a behaviour can change the way services for young people and their families are co designed, delivered and improve the outcomes for all.  


Family motivations and a society that works for all

I have a family of my own now and I am on this mission more than ever. I want my girls to grow up in safe, respectful communities. I want my girls to have the opportunity to play at Wembley or Twickenham if they wish. I want my girls to feel they have the skills to live and work anywhere in the world. 


Just as I want this for my girls, I want it for all young people. That’s why the right type of education, a society full of different trusted adults and a safety net to catch our kids when it goes wrong is so important.


The importance of the role of the sports coach

The power and the importance of the coach relationship, especially within young people is immense. Regardless of the sport, this relationship is a privilege but also carries responsibility. That coach may be the only positive adult in that child’s life.


The power of sport and its role in supporting the most vulnerable is also apparent within the research. Some of our must vulnerable children who did not have a registered school place are often educated within unregistered Alternative Provision.


Unregistered Provision often provide a valuable and effective service and many use sports coaches to deliver their sessions. I want to make sure that every sports coach who finds themselves in the privileged position to work within Social, Emotional and mental health support, has access to the knowledge and skills to support and not re-traumatise young people.


By their nature, sports people are problem solvers. If the game is changing you respond. Children and young people who need help with challenges, in my opinion gravitate to adults who can problem solve.  


What happens if that child is angry at life, is hurting and lashes out within a coaching session. What if they keep getting sent off at the weekend. What if the coach then asks them to leave the club?


That child now may have no school, no safe home and no positive outlet. I fear that’s only ending one way.   Therefore, this has motivated me to want to work with every community coach in the UK who may find themselves working with a distressed and vulnerable young person.


Trauma Informed Sports Coaching courses

I am currently working with various Premier League inspires teams and County Cricket Boards on training Trauma Informed Sport Coaches.  We would love to work with more National Governing Bodies to raise the awareness about the privilege and responsibility that comes with being a sports coach and therefore a trusted adult.


Sport alone does not change lives but sports coaches do! The online courses we are producing align with Sport England’s “Uniting the movement” strategy and UK Coaching’s “Play Their Way” campaign.  


Supporting Alternative Provision settings

I continue to support schools and Alternative provision settings to develop their services and enhance the offer. I dream of a time when the alternative approach to education is actually THE approach for all education!



We want creative, innovative, empathetic, resilient problem solvers in our futures. Is our current education system more about maintaining a working class than a true commitment to “levelling up”. Let's get education cross party, lose the political football and put the wider community at the heart of a child’s education and upbringing, not simply the responsibility of a school.


A trauma aware and informed community of schools, youth workers, sports coaches and arts teachers will help ensure more young people lead healthy, successful adult lives.


Shared Values with the Future Action Community

I wanted to join Future Action because Neil, is also like me, stop the talk and let’s do it! Trauma Informed PE and the RISE Up programme are great examples of how when everyone understands young people’s potential challenges, we can build relationships, establish trust and be curious, not furious.  


We can create the right conditions and upskill our young people so they can have brilliant lives.


Imagine a society where all trusted adults in a child’s life are well informed, can demonstrate empathy and support positive change for young people.


I want everyone working in all communities to adopt this mantra. Looking at language like “they are attention seeking” and re phrasing it to “they need my attention” rather than behaviour being challenging, can we not see it as a child is distressed.


Being trauma informed is not weak or boundaryless. Kindness is not weakness. Being trauma informed is about caring, communicating boundaries and explaining why. Its about regulating our selves to help co regulate children and young people in distress. 


I am really excited about partnering with Future Action and look forward to meeting, speaking and working with our brilliant community of like-minded educators and coaches!’


We are absolutely delighted Dan has joined our team.  If you are interested in speaking to Dan about Trauma Informed Sports Coaching or Supporting Alternative Provision Settings, you can book a call here:

If you want to be one of the first to try our new Trauma Informed Sports Coaching courses, then complete this short form here and we will add you to our waiting list.

We will make sure you are the first to know when the courses are released.

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