New academy will provide “unique opportunity” for students to choose football course in Bungay
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Students interested in a career in sport are being given the chance to join a new Football Academy launching in Bungay.
The new venture will allow students in Years 12 and 13 at Bungay High Sixth Form Centre to choose football as part of their curriculum and play in a team in the English Colleges Football Association league.
Students will take part in an hour-long training session once a week, alongside their four other A-level choices, and will play matches against other colleges and academies.
The sixth form will be working in partnership with Bungay Town Football Club.
Nathan Brunsdon, Football Academy manager and faculty head at the sixth form, said it was an exciting opportunity.
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'At the moment we have a normal sixth form team which plays matches in the local leagues,' he said. 'Training is difficult because we don't have it on the students' timetable and due to the players having other commitments it has proven difficult to get everyone together. We have been running a team in partnership with Bungay Town for a while, but now we are really cementing that partnership with the academy and they have been really supportive.'
When the academy launches in September, students will train and play their matches at Bungay Town's ground at The Maltings Pavilion in Ditchingham.
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Matt Leech, who will be coaching the academy students, said: 'Because of our location students haven't always been able to access programmes similar to this unless they get on a bus and travel to Norwich, so it is a great opportunity.
'It will be a really professional set up, and will present a unique opportunity for students to develop not only their practical abilities in football but also encourage greater leadership, motivational and creative skills in regards training and embracing new ideas.'
Students will continue to choose four A-levels and/or vocational equivalents and choose the Football Academy as their fifth option. They will have matches on Wednesday afternoons along with a training session on their timetable. Students will also gain a formal first aid qualification.
The academy will be open to any student who meets the sixth form criteria and will be open to males and females, although they will only be able to enter a ladies' team if there are enough players.
Mr Brunsdon said: 'At the moment we have a large pool of Year 12 players who are going into Year 13 who want to join and we have sent letters home to pupils who have represented the school in football.
'We could have about 30 students in September so we will have enough for a first and second team.
'It's quite rare for a school like ours to start a football academy. The Open Academy in Norwich has done it and there is the Norwich City Academy which will be our rivals as we will all be trying to attract the best players.'
The academy will enter its teams into the English College League and English Schools' Football Association league and national cup.
Year 12 pupil Elliot Patrick currently plays for the school's sixth form team as well as training with another club outside of school.
He said: 'It will make it a lot easier for us to all get together and play when we have a set time when everyone is available. And I want to go into football coaching or become a PE teacher so it will help with that.'
The team will travel away for matches as well as playing at home, and the sixth form is also looking into a coaching course and the possibility of a football tour in 2017.
Mick Simpson, Bungay Town secretary, said: 'As a Community Charter Standard Club part of our remit is to be involved with local schools whenever required. We have never however been asked to help at sixth form level, only younger ages. We are therefore delighted to able to offer our services to the proposed sixth form academy. The club already has a number of sixth formers playing for our under 18s in the Thurlow Nunn Youth League, and our involvement with the academy can only be beneficial to both parties going forward in the future for football within the area.'
Anyone interested in finding out more about the Football Academy can email Mr Brunsdon at firstname.lastname@example.org