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Need a good "football school" - advice please

(67 Posts)
scattycow Fri 22-Feb-13 13:56:50

Hi readers, we are looking to return to the UK after 8 years in Asia, so we are not currently in the UK independent schooling system; so my only resource has been the GSG.

DS would love a day school that is big on football; although is is very good at other sports too. So far we have identified these as suitable options for Y9 2014 ;
Whitgift, Hampton, Bradfield and Ardingly.

As long at the school is competent at results then we are happy. Aside form the sports stuff, I would really like a school that will bring out the best in him; he is a "good boy" who is more than capable and very consciencous but will try and get away with the minimum.

Given the above criteria, can anyone share any views on if we are headed in the right direction ? We are hoping to visit said schools shortly. I'm also conscious that some of these schools are boarding - as a non-border, would he be "left out " ??

Are we barking up the wrong trees ?
PS We are not restricted to location, as long as there is a route into London for work - then its fine.

Bowlersarm Sat 23-Feb-13 19:07:02

Bisjo He was already signed to a club when he joined the school

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Feb-13 19:08:50

as I said on the Netball thread ....
a Uni friend who has two Olympic medals was sent to a school that left them free to do the sport in their own time, not a sport school.

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 19:11:01

Then Bowlersarm I'm not sure what your point is confused

Bowlersarm Sat 23-Feb-13 19:12:05

That the school, being a football school, got another boy into a professional club!

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 19:15:23

Maybe you should PM the name of the school to the OP so they can do the same.

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Feb-13 19:15:31

odd that they signed him at 18 : clubs normally aim for much younger than that so that the kids are locked in until they become valuable.

Bowlersarm Sat 23-Feb-13 19:23:24

I can pm the OP if she would like. However I keep rereading her post and it doesn't say she wants him to be a professional footballer just that he would like to play football at school.

I don't think it is a question of being valuable talkinpeace. The boy I am talking about did get a one year professional contact at 18 which I believe has then since been extended. A lot of private schools have exceptional coaches who have the ear of a lot of scouts, and can get the trials with the professional clubs.

In my DS's case it was a bit of a PITA as club football conflicted with school football as he was signed at a much younger age. The schools would love to 'discover' a footballer, or any other sport, talent and are in a position to help them on in the future. Well IMO!!

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 19:30:41

At ds's old school they had dcs who were elite athletes and the school was very good about them taking time out of their studies to meet their sporting commitments. Dn's school is good too and that is a state school. Ime the schools like the prestige of their name being linked to sporting achievements.

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 19:31:43

None of the elite athletes I know were 'discovered' by their school sporting depts.

Bowlersarm Sat 23-Feb-13 19:33:11

Hmmmm are you suggesting I am being untruthful bisjo?

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Feb-13 19:34:03

schools are great at taking the credit for work done outside the school day

Uni friend even got grief for missing lectures to go to Olympic training camp.

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 19:39:19

Bowlers no not at all. I'd be disappointed if I were you that your ds's school is not more supportive of your ds's sporting commitments.

Dn puts his external sporting commitments above his school ones and even though he is the school's star player they are happy with that. They understand that he has the opportunity to make a career from something he loves and hopefully get to play for England.

Bowlersarm Sat 23-Feb-13 19:47:17

I'm nervous to say too much because i love the anonymity of MN so don't want to out myself! However our experience of DS being an elite footballer was at total odds to what the school wanted. Having been signed with the club before he went to the school our loyalty lay with the club rather then the school, and it didn't go down well when matches coincided.

In my opinion, what schools (or at least the private school we were at) want is a talented child who they are able to 'bring on' in the particular sport they excel, and therefore then take the credit

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 19:55:56

Dn's school prospectus is full of the pupils' external sporting achievements.

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Feb-13 19:58:19

totally get what you are saying

company I worked for had a UK squad (ladies) footballer on the payroll and her schools had always been offish

my Uni friend wore his Olympic medal into lectures in the autumn term and STILL the tutors were ungracious : it made us laugh that they wanted the credit without the work ....

Bowlersarm Sat 23-Feb-13 20:09:00

Clearly my DS should have gone to your DN's school! I have to say we were disappointed in their treatment of DS. He is a fab popular boy but because we didn't toe the line and put professional club over school club they were very unhappy with us. It makes me really cross actually as he himself tried hard all the time (exceptional at cricket too) but if you look at their prospectus he doesn't get a mention despite being the highest achiever at football . Bitter, me, no!

However I still maintain that if you are a notch or two below elite it would be a great place to go because they would try and improve you, and get you somewhere, then that would have been their achievement and the kudos would have been in finding someone for the club.

Where's the OP,by the way?

Bowlersarm Sat 23-Feb-13 20:10:20

Oh thank you talkin thought I was sounding unreal!

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Feb-13 20:11:40

practicing penalty kicks

and DCs school covers the walls with kids who excel at sports - even ones that the school has nothing to do with like stock car racing :-)

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 20:12:18

He could have gone to ds's old school or dn's current school, both would have celebrated his achievements. Ds's current school probably does too but we haven't been there long enough to know.

Dn's prospectus mentions the various clubs the dcs play for. They have been very accommodating with dn missing lessons to attend training.

RiversideMum Sun 24-Feb-13 08:08:47

I agree with Bowlersarm - the OP hasn't said that her DS is academy standard, just that he wants a "football" school. I agree that other factors are much more important in choosing a school. If he is not going to board, then the best thing to do would be to find a good local team nearby to where you end up living. What tends to happen is that there are area leagues of various levels so he would be able to find a team that fits the standard of his play.

Needmoresleep Sun 24-Feb-13 08:47:09

Very few schools have provision for elite sports, whether football or anything else. It depends on what OP is looking for.

I had read her post as looking for a school with a lot of football going on, eg that there would be an activity that her son could participate in from the start, and, since team sport was taken seriously, would allow him to make an early contribution to school life.

In terms of elite sport, there are exceptions. Millfield has the room and facilities to support future Olympians and will offer significant scholarships, and other schools such as Kelly College have a number of students participating in top level sport. However normally the best that can be hoped for is either a partnership between the school and a club, or good signposting by school sports staff towards suitable clubs.

This is often on an ad hoc or accidental basis, perhaps starting with an individual games teacher having a strong specialism. For example Surbiton High that has a strong reputation for gymnastics. Elsewhere in London Dulwich College, has always had a reputation for developing elite sportsmen in certain sports, and Whitgift is rapidly gaining the same, though often in different sports. It is highly likely that that different football academies have built links with local schools who understand and are sympathetic to dual demands placed on promising sports people.

A good example of partnership between a school and sports club is Plymouth College and Plymouth Leander Swimming Club, which got Rūta Meilutytė, age 15, to a gold at the 2012 Olympics, with Tom Daley gaining a silver in diving.

If you are aiming to be an elite sports person you probably need to find the coach/training centre first and then work out schooling. It might well be better to be at a school which is sympathetic and flexible and which does not expect you to turn out for school teams.

If OP simply looking for a school with a lot of good quality school football going on, then look to see who features in inter-school competitions, and then check with the school that your son is of a sufficient standard, or that there are enough teams, to play regularly for a team.

Sorry long....

Needmoresleep Sun 24-Feb-13 08:49:32

I should not have cut and pasted a name with accents: Ruta Meilutyte

I loved her face when she won gold at 15 and could not believe it, and the interview afterwards where she was unable to speak.

difficultpickle Sun 24-Feb-13 12:01:08

Tom Daley got bronze not silver although if there were a prize for crowd cheering he would have got gold (we were there). Spot on re finding a school/club partnership. Bowlers is a good example of where this didn't work and caused problems. Dn's school definitely encourages its pupils external sporting activities and celebrates them.

If the OP's ds is already playing at a club in Asia then they would probably have contacts in the UK that could help the OP to pick a club and from there to pick a school. Eg Reading FC has a very good academy and Reading Blue Coat school has a very good reputation for football. Reading has lots of fast trains into London (school is on east side of Reading near Sonning).

difficultpickle Sun 24-Feb-13 12:02:35

Reading Academy trial details

seeker Tue 26-Feb-13 19:32:54

Ds's secondary modern has had two players in the England u18 squad- but I suspect that is not what the OP means!! grin

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