Saints Academy in Partnership with Applemore College
Applemore College has been working with Southampton FC Academy to educate their young players, who are living away from home, since 2014 and the partnership has developed in to a well-honed and polished system delivering the best education and care for the young players.
Southampton Football Club Academy is the youth organisation run by Southampton Football Club to encourage and develop young footballers in the South of England. Renowned players including Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Luke Shaw all began their the Academy.
The Premier League and Saints Academy emphasise the importance of a good education for their young players, who know they need to work hard to get the best GCSE grades they can. Some of the young players’ homes are too far from the Academy to commute every day and so they live with host families and attend a local school that must have been approved by the Premier League Education Body.
Applemore College is one of only eight schools nationally to be linked to a Premiership Club. Currently three Saints Academy students are attending in Years 10 and 11.
The boys are educated at Applemore alongside their peers and they attend the Staplewood training ground for two full days each week where they train and receive education in the afternoons to catch up with any lessons missed due to their football commitments. The teaching staff at the Academy are a small body of teaching professionals who deliver subject specific lessons in purpose-built classrooms. Sometimes staff from the Academy visit Applemore and deliver sessions here at school too.
There are currently two link members of staff that work both at the Academy and at Applemore with the boys and teaching staff here in school to ensure that the young players keep up with studies and achieve their potential. Both link members of staff have worked within Applemore College for many years before moving to Saints FC and have much experience of the workings of the college and are well placed to meet the needs of the boys educationally and pastorally.
Sharon Goodall, one of the link teachers stated that “Applemore College staff take their responsibility for educating the young players very seriously and can personalise their learning around their training schedules. The pastoral care at the Academy is amazing and this works hand in hand with the caring ethos at Applemore College. It is a delight to work with the boys, they fit in to life at school so very well. They act as superb role models for some of our students, showing dedication to their education as well as their football. Being in a Football Academy is not an easy or privileged life – it is hard work”.
Toby Redwood, Education Manager at Staplewood keeps in regular contact with the school and reviews on playing and educational progress are shared between coaches and teachers every six weeks. This year we are hoping to engage in a progressive reading opportunity for students who participated in the Saints Premier League Reading Stars last year with The Saints Foundation as a way of supporting reading for students as they enter KS4 and to further promote the links between the club and the school.
Matt Hale, Saints FC Academy Manager has commented “The support from Applemore College to our programme and players in particular has been nothing other than outstanding. We are delighted with how our partnership is developing year on year. Most importantly, we know that when our players are placed within the Applemore College environment their welfare and academic progression are in the best possible hands.”
Mr Marsh, Headteacher of Applemore College said “We very much look forward to further developing our partnership with Saints FC Academy. Our Community All Weather Pitch is a superb facility and a fantastic resource to explore new and exciting joint ventures for our students and the local community to enjoy”.