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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

Beijing Olympian and FIH World Goalkeeper of The Year (2008), Ali McGregor, joins the BRIT family

We are delighted that Ali has joined our BRIT Ambassador family.

Ali accumulated over 130 joint Scottish and Great Britain caps during his Hockey Goalkeeping Career. He represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games, Scotland at the Commonwealth Games and was the first goalkeeper to captain Great Britain. Among his many achievements, Ali was awarded FIH World Goalkeeper of the Year, UK Player of the Year and GB Hockey Athlete of the Year.

Ali McGregor - Olympian and FIH World Goalkeeper of The Year

“Having been a student at both the University of Edinburgh and Nottingham Trent University, and having worked as a qualified teacher for 20 years, I am aware of the mental health challenges faced by young adults and students; especially those with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded existing mental health difficulties and it is vital that organisations work together to reduce long-term mental health challenges faced by students. I am delighted that BRIT has developed a special relationship with NatSpec – the membership association for organisations which offer specialist further education and training for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

The annual inclusive BRIT Challenge is an inspiring opportunity for every university, college, specialist college and Students’ Union to enter teams and for their students and staff to participate in a feelgood February fundraiser. Every team can choose a second charity to raise funds for, alongside BRIT, and this is a great way to raise vital funds for local, regional and national charities; particularly those that support students with learning difficulties and disabilities.

I am thrilled to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK. I urge my fellow Olympians, and Paralympians, sports personalities, adventurers and explorers, to join me as BRIT Ambassadors and support a university and/or college of their choice. By supporting students and staff at universities, colleges and specialist colleges, during the month of February, we can share our lived experience to destigmatise mental health and encourage students and staff of all abilities to take part in the BRIT Challenge and improve their mental health, fitness and wellbeing.

I look forward to encouraging students and staff at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Edinburgh to take on the annual BRIT Challenge”.

Ali McGregor

Olympian and FIH World Goalkeeper of The Year

Between 1999 and 2003, Ali attended the University of Edinburgh where he completed a Bachelor of Education degree in Physical Education. Having made his international debut in 2001, Ali represented Great Britain in Scotland; earning over 130 join Scottish and GB caps. He was the first Scottish male goalkeeper to win 100 senior caps and the first goalkeeper to captain Great Britain.

During his distinguished career he represented Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and also represented Scotland in both the 2006 (Melbourne) and 2010 (Delhi) Commonwealth Games.

In 2008 he was awarded the FIH World Goalkeeper of the Year, UK Player of the Year and GB Hockey Athlete of the Year.

Ali retired as an elite athlete after the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

Between 2015 and 2019, Ali attended Nottingham Trent University where he completed a Master of Arts degree in Education Leadership and Management; his dissertation was on Senior Leaders’ resilience in Special needs Education.

In October 2017, having not played a game for around six years, Nottingham Trent University’s Head of Hockey, Colin Clarke, managed to persuade Ali out of retirement. Ali made his British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) debut for Nottingham Trent University, against Nottingham University.

Ali has worked as a qualified teacher for over 15 years, 12 of these have been spent working with young people with Special Education Needs (SEN). Over the last 11 years, Ali has worked for a private educational provider in a number of roles including classroom teacher, Head of PE, Deputy Headteacher and Headteacher. He hold the nationally recognised headteacher’s qualification (NPQH). Ali has supported the set-up of a number of independent special needs schools over the past 7 years, with one of them recently being named TES School of the Year.

Since 2018, Ali has been Head of Education at Smoothstone Care & Education where they promotes child-centered lifelong learning. In his role, Ali is integral to the provision of safe, nurturing care and aspirational education opportunities for children and young people aged between 11 to 18 with autism, moderate to severe learning difficulties and associated challenging behaviours. This includes a fully integrated package of care, Education, Health and Therapy and they work together to promote a culture based on unconditional positive regard aiming to develop confidence, self-motivation and independence.


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