Sporty pupils inspired to shoot for the stars thanks to Manchester City link-up

Sporty pupils inspired to shoot for the stars thanks to Manchester City link-up

Young footballers say their confidence has grown and they have netted new life skills thanks to a partnership between school and a Premier League football team.


A group of our pupils are taking to the pitch with Manchester City Football Club in a scheme that aims to raise aspirations and give them new skills through sport.


Fourteen young people are shooting for success on the weekly City Inspires programme, which sees football training combined with classroom-based work.


The pupils, who have each earned a City training kit to wear for the Thursday sessions, will spend a year on the programme and, half a term in, we’re already seeing an improvement in their engagement in other aspects of school life.


Classroom-based work, led by community coach Dane Jones, has focused on developing research, presenting, teamwork and organisational skills and improving computing skills. Activities have included organising and promoting football tournaments, breaking down tricks and skills so they can coach each other, exercises on calculating the cost of playing football with local clubs and generating player profiles for their heroes and themselves.


On the pitch, the group, from years eight to 11, have developed communication and teamwork skills, as well as resilience and mental wellbeing through passing, defending, attacking and movement.


Thirteen-year-old Calvin Trombi said he was really enjoying the programme and the benefits it was bringing.

He said: “I love football and the programme is helping me to improve, as well as building my confidence and helping me develop life skills.


“I have loved making new friends, especially with two older pupils who are new to the UK and don’t speak much English. It has been really good for them as they have made more friends too and their English is improving each week.”


Thomas Hawkins, 13, said: “I feel more confident because of the programme, my behaviour has improved in school and it is really inspiring me to achieve my ambition of working within football in the future.”


Ben Collier, 13, praised coach Dane, saying: “The coach is really kind and patient, but we have fun with him too. The sessions have a really good feeling. Everyone gets on and we can have a laugh. I like that it breaks up my week with an intervention that I really enjoy.”


Dom Miller, 14, said the programme had increased his confidence, helped him make new friends and feel good about himself. Abdoul Tall, 13, added: “Everything about the programme is great, I love playing football, it gives me confidence and more experience on the field. Dane makes everything fun, including the classroom sessions. He is very understanding and we have a great relationship with him.”


Helen Pickavance, lead practitioner for safeguarding and student wellbeing, who organised the sessions, said the group was developing a positive team mentality and attitude following the sessions.


She said: “We identified the City Inspires programme as a positive intervention for some of our male learners who benefit from a little of extra encouragement. We love seeing how much the students are enjoying this intervention and what they are getting from it. They take real pride in wearing their training kit and are making great progress in line with the aims of the course.”


Coach Dane said future work for the group would be a social action project to devise and carry out work to improve sustainability within their school or community.


He said: “The students are already making excellent progress. They are working well as a group and are taking advantage of the opportunity the school and City in the Community have presented them with.”