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Introducing our Football Academy

Grange Technology College has teamed up with Bradford Park Avenue Community Football Club to create a football and education programme which aims to oversee the educational development of 16-18 year olds in the community.   The Football Academy has been set up to help promising young footballers reach their potential in the game, whilst ensuring they attain a range of academic and practical qualifications to use for alternative career pathways. 

For the duration of the two-year programme, academy scholars access fully qualified FA coaching with the club, who they also represent in youth league competitions twice weekly.  This is done alongside an education programme at Grange, where they are based throughout the working week to fulfil the academic requirements of the academy.  The first cohort of scholars is now into its second half term, having started back in September. 

The programme requires scholars to train with and attend first team matches, where they fulfil a range of duties for the club, as well as following the FA coaching syllabus towards accredited sports coaching qualifications such as the FA Level 1 Award.  Additional practical experience is also gained in the education, sport and leisure sectors through community-based opportunities such as leading football camps in local primary schools. 

Grange offers an education programme including BTEC Sport qualifications, access to a range of A Level subjects and GCSE maths & English.  In addition to this, scholars have access to careers advice, daily tutoring and sports leadership opportunities within the school setting, where they regularly work with PE staff.  Another resource soon to be available to the scholars is a new 3G football pitch, funded by the Football Foundation and the FA which is scheduled for completion in January 2017. 

Scholars Rhys Barratt (left) and Andre Tavernier (right) with Academy Programme Manager Alex Meechan.

This development comes at an exciting time for the club, who recently adopted the community owned model of ownership which is widely considered the most sustainable option for community football clubs.  Officials at the club are currently seeking to take on a long-term lease for the Horsfall Stadium, where they have ambitious plans to improve the facilities and create a sports club which can meet the needs of the community as well as becoming a well-equipped, sustainable and permanent ground for the football team, with room to grow capacity for supporters in line with their league ambitions. 

The academy is now recruiting for next year’s intake and hopes to take the provision from strength to strength, taking on board lessons learned during the first year.  More information and application forms are available on this website here.

Anne Dubickas, Assistant Headteacher for the Sixth Form at Grange said: “We are delighted to be working with Bradford Park Avenue to deliver an exciting opportunity for young people in our community to develop their talent whilst fulfilling their academic potential.  The programme has got off to a great start and we look forward to seeing our academy scholars develop and improve throughout their time with us.” 

Alex Meechan, Academy Programme Manager said: “Our specialist programme delivers both sporting and educational excellence. Through sport and education, we aim to attract, develop and retain quality youth players whilst providing opportunities to support young people and help them into future employment. The students meet core social responsibilities within the community, education, social inclusion and sport development. The initiative is to raise aspirations and is an exciting development for Bradford Park Avenue.” 

Find out more about the Football Academy here.

Read local news coverage of this story here.