Why we need sport in education and how it can benefit your child’s future

Pupils at Ackworth School's football academy in Yorkshire

Pupils at Ackworth School's football academy receive professional training, learn the history of the game, and benefit from a first-class education at the same time. - Credit: Ackworth School

Is physical education as important as academic success? 

Jamie Fullarton, director of the football academy at Ackworth School in Yorkshire and ex English Premier League footballer, certainly thinks so.

“Sports help children learn teamwork, the importance of leading an active lifestyle, and promotes good mental wellbeing,” Jamie says. “It also develops their leadership skills, builds confidence and enables them to focus which can improve academic performance.”

Here Jamie tells us more about the elite football development programme he teaches at Ackworth School and the opportunities it can open for your child.

Q: How can the football programme benefit pupils?

A: It enables them to train for a role in football and receive a first-rate education at the same time. It’s ideal for pupils interested in pursuing a future in football, not just as players, but for many roles within the industry. The programme aims to empower students and encourages them to achieve their best. It’s open to both boys and girls and plans are currently underway to develop the girl’s training and teams.  

Football academy training with ex- premier league player Jamie Fullarton at Ackworth School in Yorkshire

Pupils go on to play football, gain sports scholarships, and find employment in sports science roles, recruitment, analysis, coaching, refereeing and sports journalism. - Credit: Ackworth School

Q: What made you decide to open the academy?

A: Ackworth School has a history of offering elite sporting programmes for table tennis and squash that have been hugely successful and produced pedigree players. I saw this as another chance to offer even more learning opportunities for pupils.   

Working as a professional football manager, coach and former player for teams, including Crystal Palace and Brentford, I’m able to offer pupils real-life industry experience and help them take the next step in their sporting careers.   

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Football is a universally loved game and there are currently over 600,000 people working in the football industry, making it one of the top three employment sectors in the UK. Pupils can not only go on to play football but can find employment in other areas like sports science, recruitment, analysis, coaching, refereeing and sports journalism. We’ve had pupils go on to study at top UK universities and gain soccer scholarships at leading American colleges.   

Q: What will pupils learn at the football academy?

A: Pupils will take part in a full-time elite coaching programme where they’ll learn to develop their technical and tactical abilities, evaluate players’ styles to enhance their own gameplay and learn about the history and theory of football.   

The academy has three teams, U19s, U16s and U13s. Pupils will compete in regular matches and competitions to develop their skills, and will have a minimum of 20 hours of football training per week, taking part in daily coaching sessions and matches.   

'We are currently offering visits for families and students interested in joining us to come and see the school in...

'We are currently offering visits for families and students interested in joining us to come and see the school in action.' Picture: Ackworth School - Credit: Archant

We regularly review each child on both their sporting and academic performance, creating individual development programmes tailored to suit their specific needs.

Pupils also have access to phenomenal, state-of-the-art facilities including five full-size football pitches, an all-weather pitch and an indoor training area. They can also use the school’s heated indoor swimming pool and brand-new fitness suite fitted with the latest equipment.   

Q: How does training fit in with the school’s curriculum?

A: Academy pupils will take part in daily morning or afternoon training and mentoring sessions. We develop a personal timetable for each child that fits around their classes.   

We treat every child as an individual and provide a supportive, nurturing environment that encourages pupils to strive for excellence in everything they do. Ackworth is a quaker school, founded on the values of truth, equality and sustainability. Now more than ever, these qualities are important and lie at the heart of everything that we teach our pupils.   

They are vital skills for helping them develop into well-rounded, mature individuals and preparing them for life beyond school.

Q: How can pupils apply for Ackworth School’s football academy?

A: Preference is given to pupils already in attendance at Ackworth School. The programme is open to pupils aged between 11 and 19. Sports scholarships and bursaries are also available. You can contact our admissions team or visit our website to find out more or apply.   

Ackworth School is an independent co-educational boarding and day school situated in the historic Yorkshire countryside.    

Visit ackworthschool.com to find out more about their elite football programme or download the academy brochure.    

Call 01977 233621 or email admissions@ackworthschool.com.