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Specialist Staff – Sport, PE and Healthcare

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Photo: Applied Sports students trip to Body Worlds exhibition, London, 2019.

Our Sport, PE and Healthcare department is full of specialist staff who dedicate their time to ensuring their students reach their full potential. From Cambridge graduates to industry experts; read below to meet some of our department staff and find out why they love teaching their course at Long Road! 


Chris Cope, Head of Sport, PE and Healthcare Department

Chris has a BA(Hons) Physical Education from Madeley College of Physical Education (now Staffordshire University).

I most enjoyed the anatomical and physiological aspects of my degree and the highlight was that I got to physiologically assess and work with the GB Hockey squad which went on to win the gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games. I most enjoy the students (well, most of them) and working with my excellent colleague, Pete Charlwood, on the PE course. And students should enrol on our PE course because we feel it is the best organised and run course in Cambridge. But we would say that!”

Tim Whittaker, Head of Studies and Teacher of Sport

Tim studied BSc(Hons) Psychology from North East London Polytechnic and continued his studying at the University of  Hertfordshire with an MBA, majoring in Marketing. Tim has over 20 years of experience working in both the public and private sector sports industry and managed the York Hall in Bethnal Green, one of the top boxing venues in the world!  Tim said he loved “simply being a student  & developing a deeper understanding of business administration. I actually love lectures but also learnt a hell of a lot from group seminars in the MBA (it was like being on the Apprentice!).”

Peter Charlwood, PE Course Team Leader

Pete achieved a BEd Secondary in Physical Education from De Montfort University; where he took over as player-coach of the University Basketball Squad in his second year helping to guide the team to success as Tour Champions of the Universities Salou Tour. Since graduating from university, Pete has developed his coaching experience gaining his EBBA Level 2 award and coaching for 2 years at the prestigious Milfield Basketball Camp.

Joining Long Road in 2007 Pete, in conjunction with Local National League Performance Club Cambridge Cats, has continued to develop what was already a very successful basketball program at the college, and the Cambridge Basketball Academy is the result of this development. In recent years coach Charlwood has progressed along the Basketball England performance pathway coaching at Regional Level as Head coach for the East Region U17s Boys Squad. After consecutive successful showings at Regional Tournaments, he was then invited to join the England U17 New Horizon development programme which he was involved with from 2015 – 17.

When teaching A level PE Pete enjoys “actively engaging with the students in the world of Sport and Sports Theory. In particular the sport science avenues of sports psychology and how the brain can affect sports performance as well as exploring the use of biomechanics in the analysis of sports performance. A-Level PE gives students the unique opportunity to explore different avenues of the sports industry and particular sport science disciplines such as Physiology of human performance, biomechanics and sports psychology. It is an engaging course where your thoughts and thinking will be challenged on a regular basis by highly motivated and professional staff who are passionate about their topic areas. The practical module gives you credit for your practical ability whilst challenging you to analyse your own sports performance with the aim of refining it through the PPAE coursework component of the course. It is an ideal course for any student considering sport science pathways as a career or area of study at University.”

Ben Hudson, Sport Level 3 Course Team Leader

Ben studied Sports Science at the University of Leeds where he enjoyed “the supplementary sports marketing & business of sport modules attached to the course.” Throughout his university studies, he duty managed a large Leisure and Squash Club and went on to run his own sports coaching business. Ben has always had a passion for sport, playing for the 1st team football and hockey while at Leeds loving “the long away trips, the amazing team comradery and social diversity of team sport at university”; he remains heavily involved in the Cambridge City Hockey Club and is in his 20th season of competitive hockey!

“I love working with this particular age group and playing a key role in their progression into a wide range of sports-related careers and university courses.  I love the close relationships we have with existing students but also a larger number of Long Road alumni who we invite in each year to talk to existing students. Students should enrol on our course if they have a passion for sport and a serious plan for a future in sport, we specialise in helping students to realise those plans.”


Photo: Health and Social Care student Tilly on work experience with the East Anglia Ambulance Service

Niamh Sweeney, Teacher of Health and Social Care

Niamh has a degree from the University of Huddersfield in History and Politics alongside her PGCE. She is also a qualified Youth Worker with a Diploma in Youth and Community work from the University of Ireland; with 10 years experience working in Community Care and the Probation Service. Niamh was also the National President of the National Education Union in 2017-2018, she continues to present and speak regularly at education conferences and training events on equality issues, safeguarding, mental health and SEND.

Steve Picton, Teacher of Health and Social Care

Steve is a registered Nurse for Adults with Learning disabilities and has immeasurable experience working in the healthcare industry; starting his working life at a small care home for people with learning disabilities.

“When I was 19 I did my nurse training , my experience of my training was mixed, with a wide range of experience, all of which were excellent learning experiences, from witnessing and then reporting abuse (where I found out what I was willing to put up with to do the right thing) to supporting people in the transition from Hospital care to living on their own (where I found out the huge potential of people to change and grow and that I could help in that).

After I qualified I started working as a staff nurse in a small care home in Cambridge. Later that year at the age of 23 I became the youngest member of Granta housing societies management team, and two years later I became the manager of a Care home in the Fens; being a direct line manager for 20 care staff. Throughout my 25 career I worked with groups of people with a variety of different needs but predominately I worked with people with learning disabilities who either had complex needs and people with ‘Challenging Behaviour’.

I loved my time as a Nurse and I often tell my students that if you cut me in half you would find the word Nurse written through me like a stick of rock. I started teaching in 2003 as an extension to my career, I wanted to make better care workers. Whilst teaching, in 2005, I began working for the DfES (in the standards unit) developing some of my own resources that were then professionally printed and sent to every college/school that delivered health and social care in the country. In 2007 I qualified as a subject learning coach.

I am incredibly grateful for my career, I loved every minute of it, I have such a wide range of experiences to call on in my teaching and a deep love for the profession that will never leave me.”

Johanna Thompson, Teacher of Health and Social Care and Applied Science

Johanna has not only achieved a BSc(joint hons) Zoology and Psychology from the University of Bristol, but she also has an MSc occupational Psychology from Cardiff University.

“What I enjoyed most about my degree was the opportunity to choose a wide range of courses as part of the joint honours programme. I love teaching on the H&SC and Applied Science courses at Long Road. These applied courses offer an ideal starting point for students who are aiming to go into the care and science professions and want a more practical course which gives them the skills to do so.  I feel a real plus point of our course is the range of expertise amongst the members of the team- of which I am the one who tends to contribute more to the science bit!”