Pupils at a Lancing sixth form have their eyes on the big leagues with the launch of a new Premier League football partnership.
Sir Robert Woodard Academy, in Upper Boundstone Lane, has teamed up with the Chelsea FC Foundation, the community arm of the football club, to offer coaching and professional qualifications.
From September 2020 coaching at the academy will be integrated into the curriculum and made available to all sixth formers at the school.
According to the foundation’s Sussex schools officer Enzo Benn, the partnership is about more than just football.
“We’ll be creating a professional environment, looking at nutrition, strength and conditioning and coaching badges,” he said.
“But it’s also about building friendships, teaching them to manage their emotions and, even if they don’t like football, teaching them about the business side of things.”
The school becomes one of only two in West Sussex to be attached to a Premier League team – adding to its existing basketball partnership with the Sussex Bears.
Head teacher Kieran Scanlon said he hoped it would help current students engage more with their education, as well as attract more pupils to the sixth form.
A sixth form football team will be introduced for the first time, which Mr Scanlon said would benefit from the top quality coaching and facilities.
With Chelsea’s help, he said, a team could be built from ground zero.
Sixteen-year-old Owen Cunningham said he had played football at every age group coming through the school and, as a Chelsea fan, was excited a sixth form team was on the way.
“It’s great to have something like this in an area like Lancing,” he said.
Chelsea FC currently sit in 3rd place in the Premier League, eight points behind undefeated leaders and reigning European champions Liverpool.
To join the football academy student must successfully complete a trial and an online application to the sixth form at SRWA.
For further information contact Enzo Benn at firstname.lastname@example.org