Ray Lau

  • Doctoral Researcher
Start date: January 2021
Primary supervisor: Dr Ed Cope
Secondary supervisor(s): Professor Chris Cushion

Ray is an experienced Coach Educator, and Developer training Swimming Teachers and coaches. He is the author of two swimming books. Ray continues to train swimming teachers. Ray comes from a music and performing arts background. He holds a Master of Science in Learning and Teaching from the University of Oxford. He also holds other degrees in mentoring and coaching, music education and professional development. Ray has been a Principal in a Secondary School and worked for Ofsted as an inspector. He is a Leadership Performance Coach/Mentor, helping individuals working towards National Professional Qualifications in Education.


Research Title: How can improving teacher developer practice inform teachers' practices in swimming?  

Coach education training is not valued, partly because it is not seen to prepare learners for the world of work. In addition, coach learning and development vary, and CPD is often fragmented, as Coaches prefer informal approaches to learning. The role of the coach developer is emerging in the sporting coach context, but the role is variable in its implementation. Their training is variable, and their previous life experiences can influence supporting coaches' decisions. In the landscape of swimming teaching, training is severely underdeveloped. Post-formal certification beyond Level 2 is limited amongst swimming tutors. CPD is non-mandatory. CDs have been introduced in coaching but lack clarity and focused mentoring. There is no such role in teaching, despite many trained teachers, compared to coaching swimming. The proportion of swimming-trained teachers is substantially higher.

The aim of the research:

To investigate how teacher developers support effective swimming teacher practice

The objectives of the research:

  • Evaluate the Teacher Developer’s perceptions of the factors that affect their ability to support teachers
  • Construct and plan a Teacher Developer Curriculum
  • Implement a programme of delivery to drive practitioner knowledge gaps
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of teacher developer methods and approaches to support learning
  • Recommend best practices for further swimming teacher developer practice.

Conference Presentations

  • Swim England National Conference – 21 November 2019 Presentation, Birmingham, UK. From Competence to Proficiency: Strategies in Developing Effective Teacher Practice
  • World Aquatic Development Conference – 11 January 2020 Presentation, Lund, Sweden. How can Teacher Competencies be Developed?
  • International Swimming Conference – 09 October 2020 Presentation, San Paulo, Brazil (Online) What are the barriers to adults learning to Swim? How do we overcome these barriers?
  • International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE) 13th Global Coach Conference - 14 November 2021 Presentation, Lisbon, Portugal. Developing Swimming Teacher Competencies: A Practitioner's Perspective.
  • World Aquatic Development Conference – 14 January 2023 Presentation, Lund, Sweden. What factors affect swimming teacher developers' abilities to support teachers? (Phase 1 of the PhD research).

Featured Publications