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July's Spotlight - Barnsley College

Barnsley College is a coeducational, multi sited college in South Yorkshire, England. In 2022 Ofsted rated Barnsley College as ‘Outstanding’.

What makes your college unique?

Our vision is to create a confident and diverse future workforce in South Yorkshire through sport and physical activity. We aim to transform the lives of our students.

We do this by taking an incredibly collaborative, community-focussed approach to our delivery of all the curriculum areas in our department, including the sport curriculum. This includes actively working with employers and other organisations to shape, implement and progress the curriculum in all areas. We work collaboratively to deliver, assess and develop our learners holistically. We have organisations work with us on planning learning programmes and assessing students and we incorporate employers into assessment activity regularly.

Critically, we have developed partnerships to enhance student experience, including with local schools and community partners and Yorkshire Sport Foundation. Our YSF Ambassadors Programme has now been shared regionally and students and the community benefit from a tailored training package designed to develop the skills needed for effective delivery of physical activity sessions within local schools and community organisations, including weekly delivery of a secondary PE curriculum with a partner school.

Somewhat differently, our students and staff deliver digital skills to primary schools through esports and our Digital Schoolhouse programmes and active play programmes. We are the national leader for the volume of Digital Schoolhouse interventions and have been for the last two years. They do the same in sport, public services and Travel & Tourism learning programmes (our department). For example, Level 3 students have delivered a tailored Y6 Vocational Curriculum for primary schools over a 22-week period. The impact has been transformational for pupils, students and the college community.

Barnsley College has an Esports and Hado department

The Esport Department at Barnsley College has demonstrated outstanding collaboration by engaging with various departments within the college. By partnering with the Digital Schoolhouse project, they have successfully integrated technology, esports, and education. This interdisciplinary approach has fostered a creative and supportive environment where students can explore the exciting potential of esports while developing essential skills in teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

HADO: Blending Esports and Augmented Reality: Barnsley College Esport Department has made waves by introducing HADO, an innovative augmented reality (AR) esports game, into their curriculum. HADO combines physical activity and virtual competition, creating an immersive experience for students. By using AR headsets and motion-sensing wristbands, students engage in exhilarating matches of virtual dodgeball, shooting fireballs and strategising in real-time. This cutting-edge approach not only provides a unique and engaging experience for students but also promotes physical activity, coordination, and teamwork.

Impact on Performance: The integration of HADO and the Digital Schoolhouse project has had a profound impact on student performance. Through the immersive nature of HADO, students are not only developing their gaming skills but also enhancing their physical fitness, reflexes, and spatial awareness. This holistic approach to esports has resulted in improved hand-eye coordination, strategic thinking, and effective communication among students. These skills transcend the virtual world, empowering students to excel in various aspects of their lives.

Community Engagement: Barnsley College Esport Department understands the significance of community engagement. They have actively involved local schools and the wider community in their HADO and Digital Schoolhouse projects. By hosting inter-school tournaments and inviting community members to experience the world of esports, they have fostered a sense of camaraderie and excitement. This inclusive approach has not only inspired aspiring esports athletes but has also encouraged the community to embrace technology, gaming, and the educational opportunities they present.

Impact on Education: The Esport Department's collaboration with HADO and Digital Schoolhouse has revolutionised the educational landscape. By incorporating esports and augmented reality into the curriculum, they have sparked a newfound passion for learning among students. The engaging and interactive nature of these initiatives has made education more enjoyable, resulting in increased student attendance, participation, and academic performance. Students are now able to connect their interests in gaming and technology with their formal education, paving the way for future career opportunities in the esports and tech industries.

The Esport Department at Barnsley College, through their groundbreaking work with HADO and Digital Schoolhouse, has demonstrated exceptional practices in engaging across departments and positively impacting performance, community, and education. Their innovative approach serves as a shining example for other educational institutions, highlighting the potential of esports and technology to enhance learning experiences and transform lives.

How do you incorporate education?

Barnsley College has an outstanding reputation for quality teaching and results, and we support our students regularly ensuring their chosen destination is on track. Our wider enrichment package of physical activity supports our drive to educate the whole person/knowledge, skills, values, virtues and respect.

Importantly, our work is not limited to the college, but the wider community of Barnsley and beyond. We now house one of Barnsley’s School Games organisers who is a staff member here, who coordinates activity across the whole Borough and specifically with nearly over 80 schools and directly, almost weekly with 42 of those. This work we use to provide opportunity for students to volunteer, develop their skills, knowledge and behaviours and support transition and progression and support community development. This significantly enhances their experience, outcomes and their confidence.

Their timetable is designed to allow for sport and education to go hand in hand for fixtures, training and the variety and volume of additional personal and professional development work and training.

Recent honours/Success stories
  • Kasper Dziobiak –Esport programme for Williams Racing
  • Hado Barnsley Griffins continue to compete in the top national league.
  • Esport. League of Legends - in round of last 32
  • Rocket League - in round of last 32
  • Valorant - in quarter finals
  • Overwatch - in the semi finals