Need a good "football school" - advice please(67 Posts)
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.
Used to teach at Bradfield. Lovely school for all rounders but football mad! Yes to Saturday school but they got Tues and Thurs pm off for sport instead. Loads of matches and teams. Now co-ed so much will have changed but it produced great pupils and sport was king!
That's not quite true. Certainly you are correct about the term academy as it is far too overused. However, the Sunday League system isn't necessarily the best way. Sometimes the training given is not the strongest and the facilities they play in are poor. We work with around 15 professional clubs, playing them in fixtures and linking with them, and they are then able to keep in touch with our players.
Added to that, training within the boarding school system gives the player time. Time where they aren't travelling, time to focus on their studies when not training (meaning that they aren't suffering educationally from the training), and also time to be late developers perhaps as there is no cut off as there certainly is in clubs.
The idea of neglecting other areas isn't true either. One of our lads who is now playing for Leeds United was also a very talented pianist and a top academic, achieving 36 in his final IB scores. Being at an Independent School such as Ardingly allowed him to develop a broad amount of interests whilst putting him on a stage to perform in football with the correct training and expertise.
In the UK schools do not really get you into sports like football so its largely not relevant. Your son has as much chance of being scouted (probably more) playing sunday games or with a club youth squad than at any school. The words 'sports academy' generally means the school neglects other areas in preference for sports because they get more funding and is no indication of good educational standards.
My name is Nick Tester and I am the Head of Boys Sport and, in particular, Football at Ardingly College. One of our parents brought this thread to my attention.
Basically, Football is quickly growing in the Independent sector. Many ex professional footballers are now working in schools such as the ones mentioned and they are all very good and high quality. Just speaking in terms of Ardingly, two boys in the last two years have been given professional contracts at the age of 18 and one is currently the captain on the Full English Schools team.
I think that going down the Independent school route gives you the chance of a great education, but also the chance to pursue one's dreams if your son is good enough to play at that level. We have developed an Academy that train 11-12 hours a week and play professional clubs on Sundays, as well as fulfilling a fixture list on Saturdays against other Independent Schools.
Basically, the link to our video describing this is here:
And the link to our website where the programme is described is here:
Do have a look and contact me if you would like to come and have a look around.
Hampton School is right next to Hampton School which is not a "naice" school at all. Have in the past had issues with Academy boys picking on Hampton School boys at local public bus stops. Not sure if this is still an issue, though.
Can't help with anything else, but can say that Hampton boys fit in very "naicely" in the Hampton area. It's an area where I think 60% of DCs go to private secondary, so they really don't stand out.
WOW - thank you all so much for your input . Been offline due to no network at home , but back now and truly thankful for the comments posted. They have made me re-assess or re-define what I'm actually looking for, and I realise that my 4 preferred schools have very little in common except the football.
Coming from Asia, my son could well be a very small fish in a big pond back in the UK, so whilst I have no inflated ideas on his skills, I just want to see him play as much as possible and with the best coaching possible - not just the old history teacher.
He will no doubt join a local club too because school football is never enough for him - and in a fairystory world he will get discovered. However, YES the other aspects of school life warrant attention too.
The posting which mentioned my disparate choice of schools has made me focus a little more on the differences e.g single sex , boarding etc, although having said that I'm still no clearer in which direction to head in. I think I want the crystal ball .......
However A few questions spring to my (newbie) mind
- if its a boarding school - will he finish late and have to do saturday school ?
- if its a London school (hampton or whitgift) - do the boys get the micky taken out of them for attending an indep school by others in the surrounding areas ? I saw one of these schools gives lessons to their boys on how to avoid trouble and stay safe. Whilst I appreciate this lesson in life, I'm wondering if there were any incidences that have prompted these sessions.
We have lead a very cosseted life here in Asia, and the thought of sending him into the big wide world, gives me kittens !!! I have no idea how these lovely independent schools compare to our very safe environment here.
Im probably sounding over-protective (and rambling) but essentially just want what we all want - a happy and fun school experience.
PS I have added Bede's School (eastbourne way) to my list after consulting ISFA website then the schools website. Any views ??
Hampton School have 7 football teams in each year, and the A, B and C teams are all offered extra training during lunch times (three lunchtimes a week for the overall first team and two for the second team, Under 16As, Under 15As, and one lunchtime per week for every one else).
As you can probably see here:
Hampton, Charterhouse and Millfield have done best in schoolboy football.
In terms of professional careers, there's a list here:
Not altogether amazing, but a number (8) from Brentwood School, which may partly reflect the fact that it's not generally for the brightest boys, so less pressure perhaps to go on to Oxbridge or whatever.
Now I really want to know.
The tautology I refer to is at dh's school (he was off on a period of long-term sickness and someone kindly re-wrote his strap line such that it now makes no sense at all).
I am desperate to tell you my ds's school's strap line- - but I just googled it and his school comes up top so I can't without his permission. Presumably it comes up top because it is so ghastly in every way nobody else would touch it with a bargepole!
Ha! Strap lines! They either say nothing, or something they didn't mean to say or are tautological or ungrammatical...most of the time.
And don't get me started on mission statements and strap lines!
I know. Being married to someone who sits on his school's SLT and has marketing as part of his remit...(it's not his school with the ballerinas, btw!)
I agree, Books. But marketing and image are all nowadays.
Oh, I agree supporting those things is really important: I just think it looks a bit desperate to have something like that as a key image which is clearly nothing to do with the school (where arguably you could say something like football was jointly thanks to the school and local club, say).
I'm not sure it is about schools claiming credit but more about acknowledging and supporting their achievements. Dn gets time off lessons to pursue his sport and his school fully supports that.
I never get why schools think it's a good idea to try and claim credit for activities/results which the children clearly do in their own time.
One of our local schools has a beautiful picture of two girls en pointe as the main picture on the front of its website. They don't teach ballet at the school...
Ds's secondary modern has had two players in the England u18 squad- but I suspect that is not what the OP means!!
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :-)
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