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New Academy of Sport launches in Dundee

30 January 2014

A new sports project aimed at widening access to higher education and increasing school attainment levels was launched today (Thursday, January 30) by Abertay University and Dundee & Angus College.

The Dundee Academy of Sport will be Tayside’s leading provider of sports education and research, and will be run jointly by the two institutions through funding from the Scottish Funding Council.

The Academy will use sport as a means of encouraging young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to become more interested and engaged with other subjects. It will use innovative teaching methods that support the Curriculum for Excellence.

Sports education staff at both institutions will become part of the new Academy, and will work together with staff from local schools – both primary and secondary – to develop a bespoke programme that meets the needs and wants of each particular school.

DAS launch main

Project Manager of the new Dundee Academy of Sport, Ian Lowe, explains:

“The Dundee Academy of Sport isn’t just about doing sport itself, but is about using the issues surrounding it to engage young people with their education. So the Academy’s schools programme will tie in with the Curriculum for Excellence and will link sport with a wide range of academic subjects.

“This might be in the form of getting the pupils on exercise bikes during their Geography lessons so that they can follow the course of the Tour de France, or learning about the context of famous images from sport – such as the reasons for the Black Power salute given by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics – in their Modern Studies classes.

“The Academy staff will support the teaching and learning of sports-related subjects in this way from school level right through to postgraduate and research degree level.

“We’ll be working with four local secondary schools this year – along with their associated primary schools – with the long-term goal being to motivate and engage the students in such a way that they will decide to go on to higher education at the Academy.”

Widening access to higher education will also be achieved by holding annual summer camps for disadvantaged local youngsters, as well as events for adults who may never have had the chance to benefit from post-school education before.

The Academy will also offer training and development opportunities for sports teachers and professionals – as well as volunteers – within the region’s sporting and youth-work structures.

DAS launch main 2
Picture courtesy of STV. 

Professor Nigel Seaton – Principal and Vice Chancellor of Abertay University – said:

“With 2014 being such a significant year for Scotland in terms of sporting events – with both the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games taking place here this summer – there couldn’t be a more positive time to launch the Dundee Academy of Sport.

“The Curriculum for Excellence is all about equipping our young people with the skills and attributes they will need when they grow up, and the teaching offered by the Academy will complement that perfectly.

“Both Abertay and Dundee & Angus College have significant experience of working with local schools and the community, so this partnership is an excellent way of combining the expertise of both institutions.”

D&A College Principal Christina Potter said:

“Having produced such sporting legends as Dick McTaggart, Liz McColgan, Derek Johnstone who uniquely played as a striker, in central defence and as a midfielder for Scotland, and Grand Slam hero David Leslie,  the city of Dundee is the perfect location for Scotland’s new Academy of Sport.

“In Dundee and Angus alone we have six senior football clubs, top class ice hockey teams and, only this week, policeman Darren Burnett brought the world indoor bowls singles championship trophy back to Arbroath.

“At the College we encourage participation in sport and our students have had many individual and team successes. We see Sport as a great motivator and catalyst for skills development, encouraging team work and higher achievement for all who take part.”


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:

Notes for Editors:

  • The Academy will be based at Dundee & Angus College’s Gardyne Road campus, but will utilise the facilities within each institution and partner schools to engage and inspire those taking part in the project. At Abertay, these facilities include the Sports Performance Lab and the HIVE (Human Interactive Virtual Environment – a 3D computer visualisations laboratory)
  • The four secondary schools involved this year are: Braeview Academy, Baldragon Academy, Menzieshill High and Arbroath Academy. As the project progresses, more schools will become involved.
  • Abertay University is one of the largest providers of university-level education, offering seven degrees in the area of sport and exercise - the widest range of such courses available in Scotland. All courses focus on developing professionals with the skills to achieve in their chosen career, and links with local organisations enable students to gain valuable industry experience.

The University’s Division of Sport and Exercise Sciences created the UK’s first degree in strength and conditioning, which trains graduates to develop individuals at risk of health problems, right up to elite athletes. 

Some courses offer joint degree options, combining sports studies with management, psychology or nutrition.

Areas of academic research include molecular physiology, sports nutrition, sports psychology and performance analysis, and Abertay is the only university in Scotland were research into the benefits of High Intensity Training is carried out.

The results of this research are used not only to inform professionals within the sporting industry, but also to provide insight into how sport and exercise can be used to improve public health.

  • Dundee & Angus College offers a range of NQ, SVQ and HND courses in sports-related subjects, and its Gardyne campus contains a wide range of indoor and outdoor sports facilities.
  • An example of the ways in which the Academy will use sport – and the issues surrounding it – to complement the Curriculum for Excellence – can be seen below in relation to the Tour de France:


Curriculum Area

The Lance Armstrong doping scandal, how scientists test for drugs, and the effects of cheating in sport

Health and Wellbeing, Religious and Moral Education, Science

Issues such as gender imbalances in sport – why is there no/no coverage of a female Tour?

Moral Education, Social Studies

The techniques and materials to make the bike and rider as aerodynamic as possible

Technologies, Mathematics, Science

How the body reacts to exercise and how performance can be improved – through nutrition, exercise etc.

Science, Health and Wellbeing


What an athlete needs to eat in order to reach his/her full potential

Science, Mathematics,

It is hoped that by being able to relate what they are learning in subjects like physics and maths at school to what they are used for to in real life, the children will:

-       engage more in what they are learning

-       think about the types of career they could have in sports-related fields - such as coaching, engineering, physiotherapy, sports biomechanics, or a career in research like the sports scientists at Abertay University

-       think more about their health and become more active

-       be inspired to think that one day they could potentially take part in a major sporting event and represent their country at an elite level. 

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