My PE teachers were my heroes, Shaun Dowling

Season #3 Episode #4

This week on the podcast we welcome United Learning’s Head of Sport Shaun Dowling. 

Who is Shaun Dowling?

Shaun is Head of Sport at United Learning, a national group of primary, secondary and all-through schools across the state and independent sectors. As Head of Sport, Shaun supports Heads of PE and Directors of Sport in further improving the quality of their PE curriculum, school sport programmes and physical activity provision; Shaun ensures they’re using the power of sport to assist young people with their wider educational development.

Shaun is a former Head of PE and Director of Specialism, having progressed to Deputy Headship in two specialist sports colleges. 

Having trained at the West Sussex Institute of Higher Education, Shaun later gained his MA(Ed) from Southampton University. He achieved his NPQH before the opportunity arose to undertake a national role in the education team at the Youth Sport Trust (YST). 

Shaun’s extensive experience also includes:

  • Curriculum, teacher-training and sports & school leadership work in America, South Africa and Iraq 
  • 2013: Appearance before the Education Select Committee to give evidence on ‘School Sport following London 2012’  
  • 2014: Co-wrote and edited ‘The A-Z of School Improvement through PE and Sport: Principles and Practice’, a not-for-profit book published by United Learning and sold around the world. 
  • 2017: Gained the Level 7 Executive Coaching and Mentoring qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management. 
  • 2020: Shaun is elected Chair of SLQ Sports Leaders 
  • 2020: Shaun wrote ‘Pivot Flex Adapt. Physical Education through the 2020 Pandemic’ 
  • 2020: Invited to be part of the afPE Taskforce 
  •  2021: Invited to be part of Ofsted’s PE Working Group

What’s discussed in the episode?

  •  How we can be prepared for a range of needs
  •  Why the primary phase is so pivotal
  •  The importance of resilience
  •  Failure is OK
  •  What is your vision?
  • Getting whole school and community ‘buy in’



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