SASSOT Welcomes A New Board Chair

Monday 30th October 2017

First of all, I want to thank the Editor for giving me this opportunity to introduce myself to all the readers of the SASSOT newsletter. My name is Malcolm Armstrong and following a selection and interview process I have just been appointed the Chair of the SASSOT Board. I applied for the post for two reasons; firstly, because I wanted to put something back into physical activity and sport after a lifetime career in this area and secondly, because the area covered by the Board is varied and full of interesting challenges. The Board itself is going through a period of change and our funding partners are presenting us with new challenges which we will have to meet head on in order to be successful. I want to pay tribute to all those who have brought SASSOT thus far and I hope to build on that success as I serve the sub-region to the best of my ability. On that note I am happy to meet with as many of you as possible in order to establish meaningful and productive partnership, working relationships. If you would like to meet with me please contact Sarah Bixter, email, tel 01785 619349 from 9.11.17 and she will book you into my diary.


By way of background, my interest in sport developed in my schooldays where I was fortunate enough to represent the school at rugby, cricket and rowing. Not surprisingly, I decided on a career as a physical education teacher. My first post was as an assistant PE teacher in a large comprehensive school (2000+ students) on the outskirts of Liverpool. I rapidly progressed to Head of a Department of around 10 staff and soon was appointed a senior teacher. Whilst teaching, I continued my rowing career and began a Master’s degree specialising in sports psychology. I was keen to develop further and was appointed National Rowing Coach and, after a period, I was promoted to Senior National Rowing Coach. During that phase of my career I taught and developed (with others) the coaching award programmes of British rowing. Additionally, I acted as a personal coach to regional, national and international crews. Following the Olympic Games in Moscow, and with a young family in tow, I decided to further my academic a career. I had built a solid basis of practical teaching and coaching experiences to draw on in order to develop my own theory and philosophy of sport and activity. A career in higher education beckoned and I was appointed a Senior Lecturer in Physical Education and Sport at the University of Worcester (known at that time as Worcester College of Higher Education). In 1983, I was appointed Head of Department and I started to build over the next 25years what was to become the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science with over 50 staff and 1200 students.

I am fortunate to have been an External Examiner to many Universities (including Staffordshire) as well as to be Chair of the European network of physical education and sport. I have been a governor of the University and a governor of two primary schools as well as being seconded to Solihull Council to act as their senior PE Inspector during a period of change for them. I have forged partnerships and networks across the world including a soccer school with Sao Paolo University in Brazil and a coaching academy in Finland.

I made a personal decision in 2008 to modify my work life balance (to care for an elderly mother….who reached 100!) and I decided to retire from the full time post as Head of Institute. I was awarded a Senior Fellowship of the University of Worcester and was tasked to create leadership development and coaching programmes for all the staff across the University. The last 9 years undertaking this wide ranging role has included writing and teaching leadership programmes and coaching many senior staff. It has been really interesting. However, during the summer of this year and after a good holiday in the Sardinian sunshine, I felt ready for a new change. I saw the SASSOT post advertised and was successful. It has come at just the right time for me…..I hope it is the right time for SASSOT !

Please do not hesitate to contact me via Sarah Bixter if you want to meet or talk to me.  I am keen to listen to all those who work alongside SASSOT in order to establish a set of mutually beneficial programmes and activities which will impact positively on our community.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible.

Malcolm R Armstrong