Denstone Course Report

This was the second time we have had the Denstone course in October rather than in the summer and this new date continues to be an advantage in many ways . . .

 Having the college to ourselves is a great improvement over sharing it with other conferences, although accommodation was limited this year due to redecorations in the college.

At the last AAI conference I was astounded to find that we run one of the only two international coaching courses in the world and that ours is by far the largest.  Even this one, while by no means our biggest course, had 23 course attendees of whom 16% had come from abroad.  As well as that,  it should be noted that the ages of candidates ranged from 18 to 74 years old, fencing experience varied from relatively novice to currently active international fencers, and most of the course educators had achieved their qualifications on this same course in the last five years.  Result?  Our of those who came forward for examination, there was a 92% pass rate in front of demanding independent examiners. 

Anyone who wishes to claim that our system is inflexible and hidebound has clearly come nowhere near our courses!

It was a challenging week in many ways and I would like to thank all the course tutors for their phenomenal level of commitment and hard work. I take great pride in the way we are producing a new generation of coach educators who have the skills, enthusiasm and commitment to drive the Academy forward over the coming years.  It was a privilege and a great pleasure to work with such a dedicated group.  Special thanks to Liam, who in the absence of a common room this year, volunteered his own room as a Staff Bar in the evenings.  I, for one, could not have got through the week without it!

This course saw the introduction of a new timetable, which was a resounding success.  After much discussion with the other course educators about the need for the development of basic skills, we decided to formulate a plan whereby the best part of Monday and Tuesday was devoted to establishing the core skills needed for the questions.  This led to a rate of work by candidates which was far higher than in previous years and we had much positive feedback.

The exam day ran smoothly, thanks to the efforts of the examiners and of Stuart Clough who administered the day.  Thanks to them all and to the candidates for their cooperation and their cheerful mutual support!  I was delighted at the high level of success that was achieved in the exams and look forward to seeing all those who passed improve their qualifications even further at future courses.