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  • Giving kids a chance

    Strachan Foundation and SCL partnership: Giving kids a chance not just in football but in life. Both on and on the pitch, Gordon Strachan has enjoyed a glittering career. Not only did the fiery Scotsman star play for the likes of Aberdeen, Manchester United and Leeds, but he’s also shone on the touchline. During Strachan’s club career, the Scot won some of the most glittering prizes in the game, including the English Division One title (now the Premier League), the FA Cup, the Scottish Premier League and the European Cup Winners’ Cup. Gordon also represented Scotland 50 times – appearing in two World Cups. He has since managed Coventry City and Southampton in the Premier League and Celtic in the Champions League and also had a short spell at Middlesbrough. He was then in charge of Scotland for four years - which he described as a ‘dream job’ and an absolute honour to lead his country. In partnership with SCL, the Strachan Foundation is now looking to pass on the 60-year-old’s wealth of experience to the next batch of stars, by running a two-year football training and education programme for 16-18 year olds, based in Rugby. George Mackie, Director of Football at the Strachan Foundation has a wealth of experience in Football. George plied his trade for Dundee, Partick Thistle and Odense of the Danish Premier League as a player, before moving into coaching with Coventry City, Dundee, Livingston and Arbroath. George has attained the prestigious UEFA PRO License qualification – the highest honour in coaching. George has had some great achievements in his coaching career guiding Coventry City Youth team to two consecutive FA Youth Cup Finals against Arsenal and West Ham United. The high level of football training available coupled with an excellent education programme from SCL, creates a great opportunity for youngsters looking for a career in sport which is run at some fantastic facilities. George Mackie, Director of Football at the Strachan Foundation told The NLP: “The link at Rugby Town junior football club is some of the best facilities in the country, gives us the opportunity to work with them to improve the site and enhance our programme. “ Ian Cooper, Curriculum Manager at SCL Education Group told the NLP “It’s an outstanding all round facility, range and size and services of the pitches are phenomenal with better facilities than most league football clubs, classrooms on site, a safe environment.” Gordon Strachan, Director at the Foundation and former Scotland manager is a regular face at the training ground and takes a strong interest in the goings on with the Foundation. The programme gives students the opportunity to go onto many exit routes such as University, Apprenticeships, playing professional and semi-professionally, football coaching, sport, leisure and fitness jobs. Students will also benefit from fixtures against professional clubs, US college and touring teams, visits from guests with premier league experience, physio from Coventry University and regular visits to St George’s Park. Paul Shepherd, Tutor "The programme that the staff have developed here has led the way since its formation in 2011. Since the senior coaching staff have unrivalled experience, coming from top professional academies, this model was followed from the start (which many competitors now also use) allowing an academy experience to rival (and by all accounts surpass) the academies of professional teams.” “We were recently praised by Ofsted for our progression rates on to higher education being well above national averages after supporting our learners through both the UCAS system and the US Scholarship application process to send 85% of one of our cohorts to Universities in the UK and USA.” CREATING OPPORTUNITIES George told the NLP, “Our motivation is to give kids a chance not just in football but in life.” “There is a lot of kids who come out of things and don’t have a target in life, their parents have targets for them which mainly is education, going to university, college and staying on at 6th form to do A-levels, some just don’t have that mentality to be able to do that, so really it’s a go between where football is an enticement for them but they also have the education which gives them that pointage to be able to make that university choice 2 or 3 years down the line. So then we try and teach some life skills and actually just knowledge of life and an understanding of what adulthood is and how they can go forward in life to a passageway to university or into jobs, into work.” “They may be kids who did not like exams and could not meet up to that we try to change that so they to face up to that and become more self-assured and self-confident.” “We try to give them the discipline of coming up every day being on time and make sure they have the right profile for someone going into interviews or actually into the workplace.” “We hope they become more rounded people going into society and are more beneficial to employers.” Talking about the education side of the programme George told the NLP “I think SCL gives us everything we require to have the education in place, to have the proper people in place, to have people with drive, people who are heading in the same direction as us, they are now giving us that extra degree course at the end of it and I know they are pushing to do other things” “I just think they are a really positive provider; I just think they are an outstanding provider. “ SETTING THE STANDARD George told the NLP, “We have a full time teacher and a part time teacher so we have a good staff there and they have 56 boys this year on the programme, they do their BTEC in sport.” “The standard that we set and the standard that has to be set is that if they don’t keep up to speed with their education, they don’t train, they don’t play. “Where Football is a carrot for them Education is a priority that they have to adhere to because if they don’t get the education right then there is no 2nd chance for them.” “And we really need to give them as many options and chances as we can. “ “And now with that added bonus of the degree course on the end.” Ian Cooper, Curriculum Manager at SCL Education Group said We are trying to work a lot more closely with the local community. Students get a chance to go on whatever course is best for them. “ We offer a bespoke approach in a flexible environment where the tutors and the students are supported throughout the year.” “Education has always been at the forefront of the Strachan foundation, so the parents and the students really appreciate the importance of a good education alongside football and how learning benefits them on and off the field. Ultimately the gap between football and education is closing. The students, the coaches and the tutors are all working off the same hymn sheet which is beneficial to the students. “ “We don’t just want to encourage the academic approach we also want to encourage the social and personal development so they are not just leaving with a qualification, they are leaving as a better person. “ DEVELOPMENT IS KEY Talking about the continual development of the programme George said. “Absolutely because that’s what it’s all about, I’m 63 I don’t want things out of this and it’s the same with Gordon, Gordon is a huge advocate of the not for profit because it is for the kids, of course he comes in a lot to take training sessions and pass on his knowledge.” “That’s the only way we want to carry on, everything is on offer for the kids, it’s for our kids, it’s for our coaches.” “We hope to develop our coaches to go on to professional clubs and then we will bring in new ones out of the boys, we have just taken on a boy who has been 3 years with us and we have employed him to be one of our coaches.” “One of our coaches who was with us last year has now gone to Coventry city to be head of a department.” George told the NLP about the games programme they have in place “Wednesday we play football and have games, 1 team in the National College League and 2 teams in the SCL League, Thursday we give them a day off. A team in the Midlands Floodlit League and Saturday, in the Midlands Junior Premier League.” Talking about the SCL Development League George told the NLP, “it develops them as players to play in a way which we would hope will stand them in good stead, which ever level of football they end up playing at whether its professional or semi-professional we try and get them up to level of understanding, game understanding which hopefully makes them aware more of how the game Is played.” The SCL Development League currently has 45 clubs and is for players aged 16-18 years to compete for the chance to win the divisional championship and go on to win the “Champion of Champions” title. SUCCESS The programme has seen much success, George told the NLP “We have had 3 boys go on to professional football from the academy which is a great success.” “One went to Falkirk in Scotland and has now progressed to play for Worshall” “We have a boy who has just made his first team debut at Coventry City and another one who has just gone down to Bristol Rovers. “ “We have had 8 or 9 boys go to scholarships in America where football is still the attraction within that scholarship but the season in America is very short so the rest of the time they are working on their education. “ When asked about the competition in the local area and other opportunities for young people George told the NLP, “Other people will do it and that’s fantastic and they will do it their way and we do it our way but you can’t stand still it’s like every other thing, you can’t be living on things that have happened in the past you have got to be looking for new things.” “We have to up our game with what we do.”  “We have to up our game in what we deliver.” “We have to up our game in all the things we can deliver to them.” “We hope a great level of education and a wider spread and obviously the football on top of that.” WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP George told the NLP about how he feels that SCL is the right partner to help them meet their objectives, “ “We would not have joined with SCL if we hadn’t though that.” “We have every faith, had every faith and look forward to having more faith in what SCL are going to do for us and the kids especially.” “We are both very forward looking both the Strachan Foundation and SCL and I hope in partnership we can develop one of the best providers for kids in this country.” Steve Franks, Partnership Director, SCL Education Group said: “We are proud and privileged to be working with Strachan Foundation. Their dedication and mission to put young people first and give them an opportunity in life is something we feel very strongly about. “   Find out more about the Strachan Foundation’s programme in partnership with SCL at  

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  • West Ham Way just keeps on growing

    West Ham have had an illustrious history of nurturing and producing some of the best young players around in recent generations. The likes of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole have all come through the East London club’s ranks, and now the Hammers are on the hunt for the next young stars. For nearly 5 years, the West Ham United Foundation has run a 2-year training and education programme for 16-18 year olds called the West Ham United Foundation Learning Academy, in partnership with SCL. Starting with small beginnings, the pilot squad had less than 20 learners - today they have nearly 160 learners attending the course, an impressive feat. Sam Taylor, Football Integration Manager at West Ham Foundation has seen the programme grow and has played an integral part in its set up. Sam grew up in the world of football. From age 9 to 18, Sam came through the ranks of West Ham United playing in the famous youth team that produced players such as Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe and Glen Johnson. After spells with Darlington and AFC Bournemouth, Sam went onto play for over 12 years in non-league football representing Thurrock, Barking, Billericay, Boreham Wood, Bishop’s Stortford and Harlow, before finishing his playing career at Concord Rangers. Retired at 28, Sam got an opportunity to work as a part time coach at West Ham, where he was involved in the process of the club getting their Category 1 status. With the growth of the Foundation, he stepped across and with growth of the programme stepped up to more management of the programme. His invaluable experience from his playing days made him a perfect fit to help develop and nurture these young lads. Talking about the growth of the programme Sam told The FLP: “We try to improve every year, whether its facilities, equipment or staff, and SCL have matched that. It’s proof in the pudding that it does work. “In terms of club facilities, equipment, links with the academy, most of our staff are linked with semi-professional clubs, we offer everything that a young player looking to get into the game or looking to push to a higher level. I think we are in a really good position to offer that.” “From a clubs remit we have been tasked to hit areas that we have not worked before as a Foundation, working with SCL gives us that flexibility to not just be stuck in one venue.” “Initially the flexibility ticked all the boxes for us in terms of the growth of the programme. In the last few years for us, I would definitely say SCL’s professionalism and support and investment in more recruitment and more staff has been of benefit to the programme.” “We have had lads move and come and live with relatives so they can be part of the programme. “ A great setup The academy team at West Ham United Foundation consist of a great set up for the football with daily training from highly qualified FA coaches and guidance on football fitness and nutrition. WHUFC coaching has been developed using the West Ham Academy philosophy of learning to play the ‘West Ham Way’. Couple this with a support network for the education from SCL consisting of tutors, curriculum managers, quality assessors and operations support, it’s a programme that’s hard to rival.  Sam told The FLP: “In terms of support staff, we have got FA tutors that work with us from different counties, London, Essex, Middlesex, sometimes these guys come and work with the players. We’ve got our training and workforce programme. “We have a rotation policy; one coach will be assigned for matches but then we rotate that timely. “Different players relate to different coaches, different people, different ways.” Sadly, not every learner who comes on to the academy programme will go on to play football but West Ham United Foundation see the programme as an opportunity to give young lads a chance and through giving them an education, this gives them a backup plan and opens up other options. Sam said: “From my point of view and in terms of the Foundation it’s giving opportunities to some lads who probably years ago would not have had these opportunities, and I was one of them who academically wasn’t quite strong but I could channel my energy into a sport. “ “I think keeping these guys engaged, giving them the education, and then giving them the chance to step up and perform at a sporting level, that’s the shouting point for the Foundation, who we may have lost years back. “We have had boys who have come on the programme from challenging backgrounds, whether it be family issues and not having the support, been in trouble with the police, and there has been a point in their life, where we have tried to affect as many of them positively as we can. “We have lost a couple along the way, we have stayed in touch but they have gone on to do bad things and have been punished for it. But, we have also seen some lovely stories where you know these guys would have been that person but thankfully they have attained their degree or are in full time work and got a young family. “ A lot of boys who come on the programme soon realise that if they want to play at a high standard they are going to have to put in the work. Sam said: “Most boys will turn up because they want to be involved in the club at some sort of level, it’s our job to manage their expectations around what they are going to do, where they are going to go. “They see their end goal but for example, the most basic they are not playing men’s football.  So in terms of a football programme, it’s like right guys your telling me you want to be a professional player but you’re not even playing adult football on a Saturday.” “We will try and do everything from a club and education provider point of view, we will do our upmost to make it happen. “ Testing the boys  “We have got from elite through to boys who are looking at first step, some have never played football before, some have come from school teams and want to be part of a team and involved in football. “ “The great thing about our programme is we have that pathway where we have our 2nd chance shadowing the academy. “ “They have that elite environment where they can be pushed and it’s been great for lads who think they are somewhere, they step into a couple of sessions with the U18s and even the U16s and they understand where they have got to be and what targets they need to hit if they are going to be anywhere near that standard. “Going into a full time training programme it’s amazing how you start to see a difference in the standards of the players.” “So it’s looking at the level of learner, trying to get them into adult football, we’ve had boys go on to play semi-professional football which is great.” West Ham United Foundation currently have 5 teams in the SCL Development League, giving learners more opportunity for competitive matches. Talking about SCL’s League Sam Said “The Aoc college league is great for the lower level footballer, The SCL league works really well in that mid to better standard of football provision.  We like the way it’s managed and the way it’s run and quite a hands on secretary, he’s good to work with.” Connecting with the education West Ham United Foundation and SCL pride themselves on monitoring learner’s development on and off the pitch. Sam told The FLP: “If someone excels on the pitch, great, you can potentially be in this squad, what are you like in the classroom? That’s when the tutor comes in and works with them. “If the boys are going to be effective with the football they need to connect to the education, we are constantly telling these guys, it’s education, education and the football comes secondary. “Through regular contact from the tutors and Emma who oversees our region, we are daily, weekly seeing who is attending who is not attending.” “In terms of the education, definitely the boys are getting tested. “It’s a fantastic qualification, the options we have got for some of our exit routes in regards stuff we can offer as a club and SCL can offer as well. It’s perfect for the level of player we get onto these programmes.” Glenn Pennyfather, SCL Education Group tutor, told The FLP: “They are all keen to do work as well and they have the opportunity to learn in a fantastic environment.   “They have had some great people come in and do talks and they realise this could lead on to a degree. West ham have really shown them the opportunities they could have if they work hard and get their head down. They get to play football every day and not many people get to do that. On top of that they get educated which we know is vitally important. It’s important because once they have finished with us, once there 18/19 they got to go out into the big wide world and they have to be able to work and make a living.”   SUCCESS The programme boasts some great successes in both the academic and football arena. Sam said: “The exit routes and the work placements for them, that’s one of the most important parts of the programme. “When they came as a 16-year-old lad, they probably never thought they would get into coaching, education or mentoring. In my role, I am as happy to see that happen as much as some lads going round and travelling with the U23s. “Depending on what sort of route they want to go down; our Foundation degree tutor would have already spoken to most of our group. “Making these boys understand that, if this is the route you want to go down then you need to start speaking to Andy, these are the qualifications you need to hit. “It’s great to see players who have gone down university routes, maybe take up teaching qualifications.” “We had a lad, Prince, last year, went out to the States, got a full scholarship, again great case studies for our players where we can show them that these are avenues these players took, look we can help you get there, but this is what we need from you.” “I’ve had guys come through, some are good at football but some are our weaker players but they are working within the Foundation now, they’ve gained their coaching qualifications, they have gone into our delivery across east London and Essex. “ “Roque Nchaso, last year from our Chadwell programme got invited out to the Hong Kong for the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens with a mixed U18s and U23 squad, then he got asked back to preseason training, played in a couple of pre-season games. “That’s a fantastic case study for us because Roque come over last year, wasn’t really involved in football. Off the back of that he got called out to the Equatorial Guinea national side. “He went out to Africa two months ago with the national team and he’s out there now playing with professionals from other countries.” Looking to the future Talking about the future of the programme, Sam told the FLP: “Based on what we have done this year I can see it running on many more years to come. We just want to give the best experience to these boys. Giving them every opportunity which is possible. “ Steve Franks, Managing Director, Education and Training at SCL Education Group told the FLP: “We have been privileged to work with West Ham United Foundation for the last 4 years and have developed a fantastic working relationship with them. “We are confident that our partnership opens up opportunities for these young people which they would otherwise not have. If our partnership stops young people taking the wrong path, then I think that is a true mark of success.” Bryan Glover, Head of Football Development told the FLP, ‘It is fantastic to see West Ham United Foundation SCL Learning academy’s growth over the last 4 years, it shows what a great programme we jointly deliver and look forward to the future expansion into London and Essex.” To find out more about the programmes West Ham run with SCL or if you know someone aged 16-18 years old would like to apply for the programme visit

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  • Fulfilling their potential – shooting for success on and off the pitch

    A gleaming future lies ahead for Grantham Town as the high-flying Gingerbreads continue to show the skill and passion required to maintain their title push from Evo-Stik Premier. However, it’s not just the first-team players who are pressing forward at pace. Since partnering with SCL Education Group in September 2016, the lads at Grantham Town Academy have gone from strength to strength, with a spot in this season’s SCL Development League to prove it. Unique and experienced in progressing players through the youth teams, into the first team, and onto professional set-ups, Grantham Town strive to create and improve opportunities within football, helping to prevent 16-18 year olds from becoming NEET, and giving them an opportunity to channel their passion for sport. The two-year education and development programme, delivered in partnership with SCL, provides aspiring players, coaches and referees with the knowledge, attitude and skill required to go pro. The Academy programme boasts fantastic exit routes into higher education and employment, with learners going on to play professionally, secure jobs or enrol in apprenticeships and Higher Education programmes. Academy Manager, Alex Watson, declares SCL Education Group to be “the only provider” for the club. “It’s different to school. We found that most of our learners are kinaesthetic learners, and this course is very friendly towards them. There’s lots of learning by doing,” Watson tells The NLP. “It’s a different take on academic life, it’s a different environment,” adds Academy Tutor, Leon McSweeney. “You’re treated maturely and you gain a lot of independence.”Ensuring the young players get an education while plying their trade is something which Grantham reinforces as SCL champions. McSweeney keeps his lads disciplined and incentivised by rewarding classroom behaviour with on-pitch opportunities. “If they don’t hand in their work, or if they fall behind on attendance, they don’t get to play football,” he explains. Appealing to youngsters of all backgrounds, the Football Academy programme has transformed the lives of many. When one lad was taken out of school with no qualifications, amid concerns from his mother that he’d end up in prison, Grantham Town took a chance on the troubled teen, enrolling him on the Academy programme. “The different style of learning suited him extremely well, and he’s now settled and succeeding,” explains SCL Regional Manager, Ian Cooper. Progression “We have two lads constantly involved in the first team, and we’ve had other players included in match day squads, so the progression is there,” Watson boasts. “If they play consistently, train well and show a good attitude, then they’re given the experience of travelling with the first team, sitting on the bench and maybe making an appearance. “There’s a lot of positivity, and once the lads see other guys doing it, that pushes them to try and achieve the same. “It’s all about fulfilling their potential,” Watson continues. Academy Tutor, McSweeney, adds: “When students come to us and see the programme that we’re offering with SCL, and hear how other players have progressed into the first team, they see the programme as a pathway.” With such a great response to the Academy so far, it’s no surprise that Alex and the club are already looking ahead to bring their lads new opportunities in partnership with SCL. “There’s so much more that we’re part of than just football and education. You’ve got the next step in their career. It’s about looking after their future pathway,” adds McSweeney. Inspiring Attitude Steve Franks, Managing Director, Education and Training at SCL Education Group tells The NLP: “The support we have received from Grantham Town has been phenomenal and SCL’s partnership with them has enabled us to run a first class Academy. “SCL and Grantham share the same ethos of helping educate 16-18 year olds who might otherwise not have had the opportunity to follow their passion with a career in sports. “We are very excited about the future and working closely with Alex and the Grantham team.” But it’s not just about personal development for the lads at Grantham Town. The club recently kicked off its disability football team, as scholars swap their lunch hour for coaching a group of adult disabled footballers. On his team’s inspiring attitude, Watson concludes: “It’s not essential, it’s voluntary, but they’re all keen to get involved and most lunch hours they’ll play a game against them. The scholars cheer on the adults, they love it, and it’s really inspiring for them. “We strive to achieve excellence in everything we do.”   To find out more about Grantham Town’s programme in partnership with SCL, or if you know someone aged 16-18 years old who would like to apply, visit The Sports Academy study programme for young adults combines full-time education with sporting excellence and is delivered in partnership with Professional and amateur clubs. If you would like to speak to SCL about running an academy programme, becoming part of SCL’s development league or about how an apprenticeship programme could help your club then call SCL on 0345 644 5747 or request a call back by emailing By Hannah Cameron

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  • Finger on the pulse! Creating opportunities through education and football

    With a booming reputation and a growing trophy cabinet, the high–flying Pulse family continue to disrupt the world of Non-League football, enjoying an impressive two Development League wins and two Champion’s Cups victories to match. As a result of their long-standing relationship with education providers, SCL Education Group, Pulse proudly hold the status of one of the first academies to partner with SCL. Taking The NLP back to the very roots of the now established Academy programme, Paul Harkness, Co-Founder of Pulse Premier Football, explained: “We wanted to create something that wasn’t a club. It was an independent programme that was for the benefit of the player and their career.” Having met in New Zealand whilst playing at North Shore United, Harkness and Pulse Co-Founder, Paul Seaman, shared a vision of bringing young players opportunities within football across the world. Harkness added: “It wasn’t about developing a player to go into a first team with us, it was about providing career opportunities.” Opportunity
    The carefully curated programme in partnership with SCL delivers a mix between in-classroom and on-pitch learning, and has gone from strength to strength since it opened its doors to 16-18 year olds in 2011. Harkness hails much of the programme’s success to a strong and aligned vision with SCL, telling The NLP: “It’s very much a partnership. We work together. It’s that solidarity as a team. “SCL are recognised in the area, Pulse are recognised in the area, and partnered together it’s known as a strong programme”, he continued. Steve Franks, Managing Director, Education and Training at SCL Education Group continued: “The fantastic football provision delivered by Pulse, coupled with our education programme, gives students a great stepping stone into the world of sport. Our long running partnership is testament to the hard work that has been put in by the team at Pulse since day one to create such a successful programme. “We are proud to partner with Pulse, and be part of the Pulse family.” The two-year, full-time education and football development programme prides itself on its unrivalled exit routes and progression opportunities for its learners. Austin Harris, SCL Education Group Tutor, added: “We offer a very integrated career progression pathway depending on each student’s career goals and targets. “Options include accessing higher education either in the UK, America or New Zealand, careers in teaching and coaching, or sport related apprenticeship programmes.” “Competition for students has increased but none of our competitors can rival our education offering, especially the FA Level 1 and Level 2 coaching qualifications, as they don’t have the tutor experience or expertise.” Academy Manager, Mark Anderson, the former Aldershot Town striker, went on: “The opportunities the course provides are second to none. “We’ve seen huge success. We’ve had over 50 graduates from the Football Academy go onto America on USA Scholarships, and to New Zealand and Australia on playing and coaching placements. “We’ve got three of our boys flying out to New Zealand on Monday. They’ll be coaching the junior teams after school, and representing the club at the weekend, playing in the senior men’s team.” But it’s not all eyes on the game at Pulse Premier Football Academy. Harkness explained: “It isn’t just about football… it’s about creating that person”. Transferrable
    “Everything that we do is transferrable”, added Harkness, who turned out for Camberley Town and Farnborough Town. “I think we actually do a lot to make good people. “It’s not necessarily about what you do on the pitch in terms of matches, it’s the substance that’s going in day after day; the work that’s being put into improving and developing you.” On the importance of the education and football mix, Harris explained: “Education is the most important part of the Academy offering. We operate a no education, no football policy, and football is used as the carrot to ensure that our values both on and off the pitch are upheld.” SCL’s Football Academy programme provides Pulse Premier learners with an opportunity to not only find their feet, but their future career path. “We just reignite a fire. There’s a spark there, and by the time they’ve finished with us, they don’t want to leave us”, said Harkness. “They enjoy it so much, and we develop those skills around basic things like shaking hands in the morning with the staff, eye contact when you’re talking to someone. “Through the power of football, we’re able to really engage and hone in on that and for some, inspire them further to go and get a good job and be successful.” Speaking about development opportunities and SCL’s Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching and Physical Education, Harkness added: “I think it’s the next step for SCL to continue the development and the pathway after the BTEC. I think it’s good for young people to get the opportunity to do a degree with SCL.”   To find out more about the Pulse Premier Football Academy programme in partnership with SCL, or if you know someone aged 16-18 years old who would like to apply, visit The Sports Academy study programme for young adults combines full-time education with sporting excellence and is delivered in partnership with Professional and amateur clubs. If you would like to speak to SCL about running an academy programme, becoming part of SCL’s development league or about how an apprenticeship programme could help your club then call SCL on 0345 644 5747 or request a call back by emailing   By Hannah Cameron

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  • SCL sign up for 'Respect' Campaign

      SCL Youth Development League sign up for 'Respect' Campaign SCL have joined forces with Kappa UK and MJm sports to setup a fair play initiative to help increase sportsmanship, encourage good behaviour and set an example for fair competition. Steve Franks, Co-owner and partnership director said “SCL are pleased that Kappa UK and MJM Sports have signed the SCL development league as part of the respect campaign to encourage to the lads the benefits of playing by the rules and setting an example which is a fundamental part of the game.”  The SCL Development league gives players aged 16-19 yrs to play in regular competitive fixtures and engage young people through the power of sport. SCL is the UK’s leading independent provider of education through sport and currently partners with over 60 football, cricket and rugby clubs to deliver study programmes for young people. SCL use the power of sport as a medium to engage young people in education and help them build career pathways and opportunities in sport. “Kappa UK are delighted to have signed the SCL youth development league up to our respect campaign in conjunction with our retail partners MJM sports. With MJM sports Kappa continue to target grass roots football and rugby throughout the country and in particular we are pushing the whole respect element which under pins our joint ethos. The SCL league is a perfect vehicle for the respect campaign.” said Dave BANDELL, Team Sport Manager “MJM Sports are proud to deliver the Kappa respect campaign across the UK and see this new signing as one of the best to date, we are looking forward to working with the SCL Youth Development League and helping to promote Respect” commented Terry Schofield Managing Director MJM Sports. You can find out more about the SCL Development League and the teams that play in the different divisions at

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  • 7 Simple ways to get your family active

    We know that staying active is important but family time is too…so why not combine them? Here are 7 simple ways to get your family active while enjoying some quality time together.

    The NHS recommends that children receive at least 1 hour of physical activity a day. This will encourage growth of strong bones and muscles, help to maintain a healthy weight, and build confidence.

    1. Make the most of the great outdoors! There are plenty of local nature trails out there for you to enjoy. Take a hike through the beautiful English countryside and if your little ones are prone to ‘tired legs’ then why not encourage them ride their bike or scooter instead?

    2. Go on a scavenger hunt…Take a step outside and go on a hunt for ‘treasures’ – and to keep your children occupied later, release their creative side and use what they’ve found to create pictures (all you need is a piece of paper and glue!)

    3. Set up an obstacle course! This can be outside OR inside so there’s no worrying about the weather ruining your plans

    4. Make ‘family dance night’ a thing - Get together to create a dance routine to your favourite song or watch a video and copy someone else’s – there’s plenty on the internet. Or why not teach your children some of your favourite childhood moves and learn some of theirs?

    5. TV Adverts don’t have to be boring! Use ad breaks as an opportunity to get active and have some fun? See who can do the most jumping jacks before the TV show comes back on or play follow the leader and take it in turns to copy one another to run on the spot

    6. Find your inner yogi – There are so many health benefits to yoga and it is incredibly calming. Why not gather together to give some of the basic moves a try as a family? It’s a great way to start or finish a day!

    7. Get mucky! Don’t be ashamed of getting a little muddy or wet…jump in puddles, roll down hills, climb trees and have fun with it!

    Here at SCL we’d love to learn how you keep active with your family. Tag us in your photos on social media and don’t forget to use #SCLFamily. Looking to keep your child active in the school holidays? We guarantee that your child will part-take in at least 1 hour of physical activity per day at our Holiday Clubs. Click here to find a venue near you.  

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  • New partnership - Premiership Rugby

    SCL are pleased to announce a new partnership with Premiership Rugby.  SCL has teamed up with Premiership Rugby to deliver HITZ Programmes across England, with the aim of improving the lives of hundreds of 16-18 year olds. HITZ uses rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship to support young people not in education, training or employment (NEET) back into education, training, apprenticeships or employment. HITZ is funded by partners Land Rover, Comic Relief and Wooden Spoon. The HITZ programme, which will be delivered in partnership with SCL at five Premiership Rugby clubs, is targeted specifically at 16-18 year olds to help them develop valuable life skills and gain key qualifications alongside experience from work placements. The HITZ Programme also offers a variety of enrichment and sporting activities, such as basketball, karate and BMXing, which supports the overall development of participants through not only improving their mental wellbeing but physical health as well.   All educational aspects of the Premiership Rugby HITZ Programme at Bath, Exeter, Harlequins, London Irish and Northampton Saints will be managed by SCL, a leading independent provider of education through sport with over 15 years’ experience in delivering a range of forward-thinking and successful sports academy study programmes for young adults. All HITZ Programme participants will get the opportunity to study a variety of nationally-recognised qualifications within sport, coaching and fitness to improve their employability.. HITZ Programme participants regularly report an increase in resilience, self-confidence and aspiration afterwards, with over 70% going on to achieve a positive progression into further education, training or employment. With the launch of this exciting partnership, Steve Franks, Partnership Director and Co-owner at SCL, commented: “SCL are proud to partner with Premiership Rugby to give young people from all walks of life more opportunities to gain life skills while getting an education.” Wayne Morris, Community and CSR Director at Premiership Rugby, added: “With this new partnership, Premiership Rugby’s HITZ programme is set to move from strength to strength. Benefitting from the expertise and experience of SCL at these five clubs, it is our aim to be able to reach and help more and more young people each year, using rugby and its values to help learners return to education, training or employment.” If you’re interested in finding out more about the Premiership Rugby HITZ Programme, please visit 

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  • Giving academy talents a chance to shine on and off the pitch

    THINGS are going brilliantly at Ebbsfleet United. Not only did Daryl McMahon’s side seal promotion, in dramatic fashion, to the National League last season, they have also settled into Non-League’s top-tier seamlessly, sitting just three points off the play-offs. However, it’s not just the first team who are flying. Ebbsfleet United Football Academy, developed in partnership with SCL and nurturing over 40 lads on the programme, is going from strength to strength with its well-established training and development scheme. They have just opened the gates to the new academic year with a new intake of young hopefuls looking to establish a career in football, and the future is looking bright. The programme has already proved to have great exit routes, with several players last year from the academy programme signing first-team contracts – not to mention 17-year old Academy midfielder Shilow Tracey completing a move to Tottenham Hotspur for an undisclosed fee. This season they have had five players sign for Ebbsfleet’s first team and one boy has signed for Notts County. Despite the success, Fleet are refusing to stand still, and have just taken on a passionate new manager in the form of Adam Griffin, who told The NLP that the club are on a mission. “The club are taking the youth section very seriously at Ebbsfleet. We aim to be a Cap 3 academy by 2019, the infrastructure we have put in place, obviously myself and Danny. The full-time training syllabus I put in, It’s very similar to a Cap 2 or 3 academy.” Griffin’s experience will create the perfect match with the education and excellence programme being run by SCL. “I have worked in Academy football for the last eight years, working for professional clubs,” he added. “I joined Ebbsfleet this season, I was brought in by first-team striker Danny Kedwell – also Head of the Academy – and given the Head of Coaching role to oversee the U19’s. “I played at youth level for Crystal Palace, so I have been in the system and I know how difficult it is so putting me into this sort of environment is beneficial to the boys as I can advise them on and off the pitch. “To be honest a lot of them are quite underprivileged kids who don’t really live in Ebbsfleet. “Twenty-five per cent of the programme consists of local lads, the rest are inner-city London kids, making an hour-long journey to get in because there is nothing there for them in their local area at this level and environment. If they didn’t get Ebbsfleet this year, I don’t know where they would be.” So, what does it takes to be successful? “They know that the work of what they need to put in is massive,” Griffin added. “Even when they are not here we tell them to go and do gym work, do things outside of Ebbsfleet that will help them, whether it be swimming or yoga.” Steve Franks, managing director at SCL Education Group, told The NLP how the success of a programme like this speaks for itself. “We are always looking at ways for young people who have a passion for sport to follow their passion, but get an education and widen their career options at the same time,” he said. “Partnering with clubs like Ebbsfleet allows us to create a bespoke programme with a fantastic football development programme and education, which gives them the best of both worlds. The success stories we have seen from the academy programme speaks for itself.“ Asked about the importance of the boys getting an education, Griffin added: “It’s the back-up plan, they need to have something to bounce back on, as much as we are very much for the football, if the education isn’t completed or they don’t turn up to lessons they don’t train. It opens up a wide variety of options when you leave Ebbsfleet. “Even the top clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal and Southampton they all have education. It’s having that equal balance, we are quite stern with the coaching and they are quite stern with the education. “In these two years they are with us, we want to put life skills in them as well, making them realise that it’s not necessarily about playing for Ebbsfleet, it’s about making a career out of football. “We try to instil that in all of them that if they work hard and go all the way and get into the first team then that’s brilliant, but there’s other options outside of here were help them with as well.” Donna Finning was a tutor at Barking Football Academy, run in partnership with SCL and has since progressed to curriculum manager at SCL covering the London Region was asked about the education side of the programme. She added: “We give them an exclusive tailored education programme which encompasses football. While their doing the football they actually get the chance to develop and get their skills for going out to the future workplace. “SCL’s drive in setting up academy programmes originates from the fact that young people are often disengaged from traditional education and often when players don’t make it in the game, they get released and have to face the reality they have nowhere to go and nothing to fall back on. On facing the reality of trying to get in the game, Griffin added: “We have a very strong link with the first team and the academy, it’s the realism that if you not going get to that level, we look after the boys outside of football. When the two years are up we have an exit route for a lot of the boys which I think a lot of people haven’t got. That’s what we are good at, we’re either going send them out to America to universities out there or were put them into Non-League, lower level. “They are gaining so much when there here but when they are out we still want to help them with their exit routes.”

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  • Former Villa stars link up with SCL to help pros of the future

    With over 1,000 professional appearances under their belts, it is fair to say that David Norton and Mark Draper know a thing or two about what it takes to have a successful career. After starting in the ‘Second City’ with Aston Villa, Norton forged an impressive career for himself that saw him enjoy spells at the likes of Hull City and Northampton while Draper, who played over 200 times for Notts County, turned out in the top-flight for Villa and Southampton via time in La Liga with Rayo Vallecano. But instead of basking in their past glories, Norton and Draper are now using all their experience to help the stars of the future – in whatever career path they want to take – by running the Team DNF (Draper Norton Football) Academy. Team DNF Academy has formed a new partnership with SCL Education Group to run a two-year football training and education programme for 16-18 year olds, based in Nottingham. Players will train and educate, in brand new world-class facilities at Nottingham Trent University which boasts a sports hall, gym, classroom, a variety of pitches including a new 3G pitch and a nutrition centre. Players will be taught the knowledge, attitude and skill they can apply in their professional careers making for an educational experience like no other. Players who graduate from The Football Academy programme have the opportunity to go on to play professionally, secure a job in sports coaching or leisure, enrol in university or an apprenticeship programme. Norton and Draper plied their trade at the highest level but at DNF they believe that talent at all levels should be nurtured, and that players should receive the recognition they deserve so that they may aspire to reach their goals. Experienced DNF’s ethos is a perfect fit for SCL, whose mission is to engage and develop young people giving them a platform to launch a career in sport. SCL is an innovative OFSTED approved provider that allows grassroots and professional clubs to inspire youngsters in their communities into education and help develop future first-team stars. Over the past 15 years, SCL has teamed up with over 60 Non-League and professional clubs to create academies for 16 to 18-year-olds and they have developed, educated and graduated over 7,000 students. Steve Franks, Partnership Director, SCL Education Group said: “We are pleased to partner with an academy like DNF who believe in what we do. Our success with helping our partners run successful programmes stems from our passion for developing people, this is what motivated us in the beginning and is what still motivates us today.” The academy programme offers opportunities to young people who have become disengaged from traditional education. Draper, DNF Academy Manager told The NLP: “All these lads don’t want to be stuck in Sixth Form and a lot of them end up dropping out, whereas on these courses we have retained a high percentage of the lads for the two years.” Many clubs or private academies who are currently with education providers may be deterred from switching provider, as the process can be difficult but SCL are well experienced in managing this process. Unique Draper added: “We weren’t very happy with our education programme at the time so we reached out to Matt at SCL. “I had known other clubs that had used SCL and there was good feedback and I had done a bit of research into SCL and everything looked exactly what we were looking for at the time and it has proved it was a good decision.” When asked about the switching process at SCL and how SCL are now working with and successfully running the educational side, Draper said: “It’s been brilliant. Obviously, we needed to get it done pretty quickly, we had 45 lads on the programme, and it was all done within three or four weeks which was fantastic. As football coaches it makes our job a lot easier whereas before we had to deal with different bits and bobs and obviously SCL took care of that. “We had two good teachers in place which stayed on with SCL, which is even better. It gives us more time to concentrate on the football side. “We’re sort of getting more established now, our reputation is growing and we are quite happy with SCL and we want it to be a long-term relationship.” Andy Roach, who is the FE Sports Lecturer on the programme, told The NLP about how the programme improves the life of the players. “At Draper Norton we feel we have an extremely strong provision both on the football side with two experienced ex-professional players and highly qualified coaches, but also on the education side. We have two tutors who between them have over 15 years of delivering Level 2 and Level 3 BTEC courses in a range of higher education institutions. “The tutors and coaches work very closely every day in supporting our learners to make sure we offer the best possible support and provision. We are all passionate about improving the life chances of our learners in both football and the world of work.” Draper Norton have also put one of their teams into SCL’s development league to give their players the opportunity to play regular competitive matches. The SCL Development league currently has 45 clubs and is for players aged 16-18 years to compete for the chance to win the divisional championship and go on to win the Champion of Champions title. Find out more about the DNF’s programme  in partnership with SCL at If you would like to speak to SCL about running an academy programme, becoming part of SCL’s development league or about how an apprenticeship programme could help your club then call SCL on 0345 644 5747 or request a call back by emailing

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  • SCL are the perfect match for AFC Fylde

    AFC FYLDE are the envy of many clubs in Non-League – and they’re going from strength to strength. With a young, passionate manager in the shape of ex-Tranmere man Dave Challinor, an impressive multi-million pound stadium and training ground recently opened at Mill Farm, and a side already seven points clear at the top of the National League North, everything is going in the right direction. But the Coasters are refusing to rest on their laurels, and with the help of SCL, they now have an Academy system to match their huge ambition as they prepare for the future. “We are a very progressive club,” Challinor, 41, told The NLP. “We started a few programmes with our academy at some local schools and colleges, but with our new ground and education centre, we wanted to move in house and control what the lads were training and learning. Reputation “SCL is obviously very big down south, and looking to branch out, and it seemed a perfect fit for us because we also wanted to grow and they have a great reputation. We had a few meetings, and Steve [Franks, Partnership Director and company co-owner] sold SCL to me – his enthusiasm and optimism was something I could relate to.” To produce young players through the academy is the ultimate aim for any football club, of course, but Challinor also recognises the brutal nature of the game, and that work with SCL is integral in providing young players at Fylde with more opportunities than ones that only present themselves on the pitch. The many youngsters in the academy would be forgiven if they thought they were already on the road to a career in professional football, but Challinor knows the importance of giving the boys an education too – something SCL are passionate about. Challinor said: “To some extent, of course it is important to get the balance right between football and education, because we are an ambitious football club and want to produce players. “But I think it’s not about balance; at their age, education is vital and paramount to give them opportunities. “We make sure they all know they have to work hard with SCL away from the pitch too, and that if they fall behind in work then their football will suffer too. “We are always realistic with the players and parents – they understand that we are trying to develop them into good footballers, and over their two years with us we will try and make that happen. But, whatever happens, after two years we make sure they leave with qualifications to help them with whatever they do afterwards.” Franks agrees with Challinor’s mantra, and recognises how important the role of education is in the lives of young footballers. He told The NLP: “Our Academy programme uses the power of football as a tool to motivate and encourage young people to stay in education while keeping one eye on the dream of progressing through the ranks to the first team or other opportunities in the football sector.” Confidence A prime example of the success being had at Mill Farm between AFC Fylde and SCL is the rise of young striker Serhat Tasdemir, who has already made a massive impression within the first-team. Not only has the 16-year-old already made his debut for the National League North leaders, but he’s ­­­already notched a hat-trick, when he scored a treble against AFC Darwen in the Lancashire FA Trophy. Boss Challinor named a strong team that day, so to start with Tasdemir up-front was a huge show of faith, but it is just a sign of how much confidence the manager has in his youth players, coming from such a well run Academy. “Serhat is a prime example of someone who has worked hard, got his opportunity with the first team and taken it with both hands,” said Challinor. “He has worked hard and we have worked with him to develop him into a great young player, and his hat-trick has shown he is developing well thanks to our work and SCL’s work. “Working with SCL has been brilliant – to get players through our Academy while also providing an education from with SCL is building a reputation for years to come.”

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  • Addicks youngsters combining education with football development

    The last few years have been a rough ride for Charlton and the club’s fans, with relegation from the Championship.

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  • Player heads to Hong Kong!

    West Ham and SCL Education player Roque Nchaso heads to Hong Kong!

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  • Millwall scheme a roaring success with SCL

    Last season, Millwall came heartbreakingly close to reaching the Championship, but fell at the final hurdle as Barnsley denied them promotion in the League One play-off final at Wembley. For many clubs, that would have been hard to come back from. However, at The Den they do things differently. Instead of remaining down and distraught by the events that occurred under the famous arch, they’ve bounced back and Neil Harris’ men are on the brink of securing a top-six spot again, and could be back in the second tier next season. Off the pitch, the mantra is very much the same. While the first team looks to have a bright future, so does Millwall Community Trust in partnership with SCL education group as they go from strength to strength to help young people achieve their dreams. For two academic years, Millwall Community Trust and SCL have been working together to provide an education programme for young players alongside their footballing careers, giving them a helping hand as they aim for successful futures – whether that’s as a professional player, or down another pathway. Speaking to The FLP, Freddie Ruby, Education and Employability co-ordinator at Millwall Community Trust, said: “The hook of the Millwall badge, the good work the trust has already done in the community and the brilliant support and knowledge of SCL together combined has worked out really well. “Our CEO Steve Bradshaw and Steve Franks (Partnership Director and SCL co-founder) have put together a programme whereby we can work with young people looking for a career in sports, provided down different pathways, whatever they may be. “If a young person wanted to go down the route of higher education, they could access that with us, if they wanted a pathway into an apprenticeship or employment they could access that, and also potentially further their career in football.” Ruby, Millwall Community Trust and SCL are all passionate about providing young people with the greatest chance to succeed. SCL is one of the leading education providers through sport, and alongside the Lions, they’re providing 16-18 year olds with an education as well as the opportunity to become a star. “It’s absolutely massive to get the balance right between football and education,” said Ruby. “We are always firm believers in giving young people an opportunity to succeed, whatever their goal, and we’re not there to put the fire out on their aspirations. “If they’ve got aspirations to reach the highest level then good on them, that’s a fantastic mentality to have and we will help them all we can. “But, alternatively, we’ll bring it to them that they have to think about the other considerations, they have to think about a contingency and we’ll offer them a bespoke education with SCL that is based around sport and what they love in order to give them another option. “We are inclusive about who we accept on our programme. A lot of people have this perception that they have to be the greatest footballer to go on the programme but they don’t. “You don’t have to be an Academy player, you don’t have to be a semi-professional or future professional, what you have to be is willing and keen to work hard and follow a career path in sport, and we’ll help you as best we can.” Kiran Dingri, a tutor who was recently awarded the quarterly inspirational award as part of SCL’s excellence awards and works within Millwall’s programme, agrees, saying: “The Millwall Community Trust Academy provides a fantastic opportunity for 16-18 year olds to combine full-time education with their passion of football and sport. “Many of the students who attend the programme come from a variety of backgrounds and have overcome a number of different barriers to excel both in the classroom and on the football pitch.” But, despite the excellent work Millwall and SCL are doing within the programme to provide young players with every chance to succeed on the pitch, the education is of course vital. In a footballing world that can be so cruel and unforgiving, not every young player who dreams of reaching the top will do so – but that’s exactly why the opportunities provided by SCL and Ruby at Millwall are so priceless. SCL’s Franks said: “Our Academy programme uses the power of football as a tool to motivate and encourage young people to stay in education while keeping one eye on the dream of progressing through the ranks to the first team or other opportunities in the sporting sector.” The education being provided at Millwall Community Trust varies from BTECs to VRQs, and depends on the GCSE grades of the person involved. One player who did knuckle down, completed a course at the Trust and continued a career in football was Ella Rutherford. The 17-year-old, who plays for Millwall’s women’s team, the Lionesses, and England Women’s U17, is a prime example of the success SCL and the Trust are having. Ruby said: “She’s a female who has come through the programme to play for the first team of the Lionesses, starts every week, has not long turned 17 and has become one of their most important players. She’s a real success story – and has become almost an inspiration.” By the sounds of it, there could be quite a few more success stories to come. *This advertorial originally featured in the April 30th edition of the FLP.

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  • Play and learn for a bright future

    SCL is a private education training provider, specialising in sport, aiming to help clubs benefit from rugby’s showpiece being on home territory. By creating a partnership with SCL, clubs can set-up their own private academies for 16-18 year olds to train and gain a Diploma in Sport. They guide clubs through the whole process while offering the unique opportunity to run the programmes from their own ground or facility. Partnership Director and co-founder Steve Franks told The Rugby Paper:  “We’re not looking to take over a club’s existing scholarship programme where they’ve got players aged 16-18 on professional contracts. The SCL Rugby Academy is almost a second chance programme for those who didn’t quite make the grade, but the club still want to keep an eye on. It gives them an opportunity to take on another squad. “We originally piloted the programme with Blackheath RFC. It has proved to be an outstanding programme and we are now in our third season with them. We’ve had 100 per cent pass rates and the club has benefitted a lot from it with players being selected for their first team. “There’s a lot of young people who aren’t in education but are inspired by rugby. This offers them a chance to be motivated and engaged to stay in education whilst developing their sporting performance with a rugby club. It also ticks a lot of boxes for clubs’ social responsibilities in the communities they serve.” As well as the BTEC Diploma in Sport, students can gain sports coaching qualifications and undertake GCSE resits in Maths and English if needed. For clubs who have community trusts, players also undertake work experience and provide coaching at schools or holiday camps. “The programme works because it combines two experts in their field. SCL concentrates on delivering the education, the club on the rugby training and player development.” Franks said. “Our USP is that we deliver the education programme from the club alongside the rugby training and match play. In short, we are an onsite college but with many advantages. Instead of students taking time out to go to a college, they are immersed full-time in the club environment and experience what it is like to be part of a rugby club.” Franks continued, “The clubs benefit from on-site delivery too. Having the education delivered by a college may restrict when the rugby training takes place. By having the education delivered at the club’s facilities, we can create a bespoke timetable that suits both our needs. A lot of the clubs are also keen to progress players from the second chance programme into their scholarship programme or any late developers even into their first team. Having the players at the club full-time, training day in, day out gives club the ability to monitor their progress closely as well.” “It’s all together on one site and it’s made for excellent success rates. For education, across all our 40 Sports Academies our overall success rate is 95 per cent, which is about 12 per cent above national average. “We pride ourselves on delivering a quality education and parting with clubs to offer a first class Rugby experience for young people that creates opportunity. At the end of the education programme, players can progress onto Apprenticeships or university, find employment within the sport and leisure industry, or within rugby itself.” “We also offer excellent training and support for our clubs. In-service training for coaches, club-specific pages on our recently launched website, a marketing toolkit and an online trials booking system are just examples.” “We believe in creating the correct relationship with our club partners for long-term success and work hard to ensure we deliver for the clubs and for our learners.” Franks concluded, “We have funding availability to establish new programmes with clubs for 2016/17. So whether clubs are looking to set up a second chance programme to work along-side their main scholarship programme or indeed set up a scholarship programme, SCL has the expertise, support structure and experience to make it happen.” This piece first appeared in The Rugby Paper on Sunday, September 13th.

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  • Plan B’ stacks up for Cards

    WOKING Football Club has worked in partnership with SCL for over five years and the club’s community co-ordinator and welfare officer, Jane Spong, could not be happier with the relationship! SCL is an innovative private education provider that works with grass-roots and professional football clubs to create a unique football academy that aims to both inspire young adults into education and also develop future first team stars. Spong told The NLP: “We have had a really strong relationship with SCL that has helped us to get the best out of the boys, not just on the field but in the classroom as well.” To date SCL has teamed up with over 40 Non-League and professional clubs to create a full-time education and football/coaching development programme for 16 to 18 year olds. Football training plays a key role at the academies but a strong emphasis is also placed on education. “It is really important for us to provide a Plan B for the boys,” said Spong. “We all know that not everyone is going to make it into the first team so it is vital the boys have qualifications to fall back on. “We make it clear how important these qualifications are by telling the boys if they are behind with their education they don’t get to participate in the football.” Through SCL’s educational provision, players at Woking’s Academy are able to enhance their footballing development and also work towards BTEC Diploma in Sport, sports coaching qualifications and Maths and English GCSEs. Opportunities SCL’s co-founder Steve Franks told The NLP: “Our Academy programme uses the power of football to motivate and offer young people an unique programme which enables them to stay in education, while keeping one eye on the dream of progressing through the ranks into the first team or onto other opportunities within football.” In recent years Woking FC has built on the Football Academy model by introducing an Apprenticeship scheme for their community department in partnership with SCL. “The gap is widening between academy football and first team football and we wanted to find a way of bridging this gap whilst also providing a career progression here at the club for graduating Academy players into employment,” said Spong. “We select ten players who successfully completed their two years in the Academy and invite them to continue with the club for a third year. “The apprentices have a unique job role working within the community department delivering sports coaching and assisting with the delivery of PE lessons in primary schools. Plus our apprentices continue their football development and have the opportunity to be around, and play with, the first team or go out on loan to other clubs. “We have had a number of successes from the Apprenticeship programme. For example, Andrew Mills is one of our boys who has appeared regularly for the first team this season.” This year Woking have further expanded their relationship with SCL by creating a brand new Coaching Academy. “We take on a lot of young people on work experience within our community department and a lot of them probably don’t have the right skills to come onto the Football Academy, but enjoy the coaching side of the game,” said Spong. “SCL created a bespoke education and sports coaching work experience programme and we are the first SCL partner club to set up a Coaching Academy. “In a similar way to our Football Academy, school leavers are offered a one or two year programme, only here the emphasis is placed on providing them with qualifications and skills to create the next generation of coaches. Experience “The students are educated five days a week. Students at the Coaching Academy undertake a Sports Diploma alongside their Level 1 and Level 2 FA coaching badges. In addition they receive vital on the job mentoring while out undertaking work experience in local schools and the community.” Students at the Coaching Academy have the opportunity to work within Woking’s much applauded community department. This year the club beat off stiff competition to win the 2015 Community Club of the Year at the Vanarama National League Annual Congress. “We do quite a bit in the community!” said Spong. “We coach about 110 hours a week in schools delivering curriculum time and after school clubs at around 23 schools around the Woking area. “We also run walking football for the over 50s and the Surrey Community Football League, which is a league for adults suffering from mental health issues. We are very proud this league has now been affiliated with the Surrey FA.” Woking have clearly benefited from their flourishing relationship with SCL and the organisation’s Managing Director and Co-Founder Lewis Field told The NLP that SCL is always looking for new opportunities and partnerships. Field said: “Whether clubs have an existing Academy and are looking for an alternative education provider or want to set up a programme from scratch, SCL has the expertise, support structure and experience to make it happen.” This piece first appeared in The Non-League Paper on Sunday, October 25th.  More News From SCL  More about Woking FC Academy 

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  • Academy Student to Football Pro

    Lamar Reynolds, scores himself a win as he hits the big shot & lands himself a position with Newport County FC.

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  • Champions of Champions Match

    All in all, an excellent game for second time champions Pulse Tomlinscote.

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  • Getting children fit for the future

    New research shows that after school clubs can improve the academic performance and social skills of children. 

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  • David Peplow selected as finalist for the HITZ awards

    Worcester Warriors’ & SCL Tutor David Peplow was 1 of 3 finalists selected for the HITZ Champion award supported by Comic Relief.

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  • FC United and SCL are paving the way

     FC United of Manchester boss Karl Marginson is a huge supporter of the work SCL are doing at his club and had praised the way they are teaching his aspiring young first-team stars in the right way.  Last weekend, 17-year-old academy defender Samuel Baird made his first-team debut, playing a starring role in a vital 4-2 win over local rivals Stalybridge Celtic, and was named man of the match. On Saturday, he attended an England schoolboys training session at Manchester United’s training ground with team-mate Kamahl Fuller. Clearly, they’re doing something right at Broadhurst Park. First-team manager Marginson keeps a keen eye on the Academy at FC United, and says players such as Baird are a great example of the impressive work being done behind the scenes at the National League North side, with help, of course, from SCL. SCL is an innovative private education training provider that allows grassroots and professional football clubs to inspire youngsters in their communities into education and develop future first-team stars. Over the past 15 years, SCL has teamed up with over 50 Non-League and professional clubs to create football academies for 16 to 18-year-olds. Football training plays a key role at the academies, but the main emphasis is on the players’ education. “SCL have been brilliant for the players,” said Marginson. “We had a meeting over the summer, and were so impressed by what we were shown, and the partnership has started fantastically well. “Since SCL took over the education at FC we have seen a new side to the lads. Their tutor, Paul, has invigorated the lads and it’s great to see them actually excited to attend college. “He has been fantastic in many ways, and not only does he deliver a fantastic education programme, but his pastoral care has also been brilliant, and he ensures the lads develop their emotional intelligence to ensure they not only develop as students, but as individuals who want to have a positive impact in the local community. “When I took over [in 2005], it was a lot harder for our academy, especially as we didn’t have our own ground, and where we had come from. “But things have moved on a lot since then. This is our first partnership with an organisation such as this and SCL have been fantastic. “It’s helping the academy, no doubt. Attendance has been great, and with the programme held at our ground, it is bringing everyone together. The lads can spend time together away from the training pitch, and it also helps our staff who can now get to know the players more.” Education Sadly, not every Academy player will break into first-team football, or make it as a pro, but with the help of SCL, footballers are being provided with an education to fall back on. SCL’s Partnership Director and co-founder Steve Franks told The NLP: “Our Academy programme uses the power of football as a tool to motivate and encourage young people to stay in education while keeping one eye on the dream of progressing through the ranks to the first team or other opportunities in the football sector.” This is a value FC United and Maginson also pride themselves on, and he said: “Of course the football is important, because at the end of the day we are a football club, but the values our players are taught are also important. “It’s all about creating good people, and making a balance in people’s lives. We want to develop them as footballers, but we also have to show them the right behaviour, the right way to act and how we want them to represent our club. We have to keep them grounded.” And the hard-work being put in by SCL and FC United of Manchester is clearly paying dividends, with success in the form of players such as Baird and Fuller, and the form of the club’s second year Academy side. As well as reaching the first-round of the FA Youth Cup for the first time in the club’s history, they are also unbeaten so far this season in the league. “Sam [Baird] made a real impact last Saturday,” said Marginson. “The standard of our Academy is now great for their growth and development. With the help of SCL, it’s now a great environment to learn on a personal and team level.”   Run a successful football academy with SCL    More News From SCL   More about FC United of Manchester Academy

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  • Palace ace joins forces with SCL scheme

    BOBBY BOWRY has been there and done it in football. He’s played at the highest level with Crystal Palace, in the Championship with Millwall and Colchester United, and in Non-League with Gravesend & Northfleet. He is even Saint Kitts and Nevis’ only every Premier League goalscorer! So when he says the partnership between SCL and his Volenti Academy is a match made in heaven, you tend to listen. The academy, based in the footballing hotbed of south London, has been going since Bowry was plying his trade in the Football League. Now, however, it’s going from strength to strength, giving young players a chance in football and passionately providing them with other opportunities in other walks of life. “Education is key, we want them to be able to go down different pathways if needed,” Croydon-born Bowry told The NLP. “Sadly not every boy we have at Volenti will make it, and I’m happy to be transparent and tell parents that. “But as a parent myself, I recognised that the education SCL deliver is what I want. “The way they are with the boys, and their attention to detail; it’s spot on. As a former player, I know what gets you far in clubs. Passion “It’s my passion to see them develop a good ethos, work ethic and values that will hold them in good stead if they get to pro academies; that’s what SCL has helped with.” SCL agree with Bowry, who says it is his huge ‘passion’ seeing young players succeed, and Managing Director and co-founder Lewis Field said: “We believe in creating the correct relationship with our partners for long-term success and work hard to ensure we deliver for partners and for our learners.” As shown at an independent Academy such as Volenti, SCL is able to help programmes across the footballing world, and Field added: “Whether clubs or private set ups have an existing Academy and are looking for an alternative education provider or want to set a programme up from scratch, SCL has the expertise, support structure and experience to make it happen.” Buzz With the help of SCL and Ten-Em-Bee SDC, who let Volenti train in great surroundings, the Academy is not only able to provide players with a chance to play the sport they love, but also learn and gain the experience they might need for a life out of football. Bowry’s son, Daniel, is a fine example of a player coming from Volenti and into a pro-academy; he signed for Charlton in April and played a vital role in the under-18 side winning the National Youth Development League. He is also the player from that under-18 team that has represented Charlton’s under-23 side the most times this campaign, but with 10 GCSEs, the 18-year-old defender doesn’t just have to rely on his feet to do the talking. That is partly down to the upbringing his father gave him, and of course partly thanks to the environment created at Volenti. “We’re not a football club, and are batting above our status,” said Bowry. “We come from an area with a lot of teams, and great youth set-ups such as Dulwich Hamlet and Maidstone United, and of course Palace, but we offer the boys something different. “With the support of SCL and regular sessions, I can now work for more than just one hour with the boys, coaching them. “We don’t mind losing kids to pro Academies, I buzz off seeing players I have worked with play at the top level, like Charlie (Daniels) and Tommy (Elphick). “We have a great relationship with the players and SCL , and I am sure it will only blossom.” Run a successful football academy with SCL    More News From SCL   More about Volenti Academy

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  • 10 Minute Shake Up this Summer

    ukactive are supporting the 10 Minute Shake Up this summer, an exciting initiative from Change4Life with Disney. 

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     This has capped off a tremendous season for all the Pulse Tomlinscote boys.

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  • A Great Achievement for Educoach

    Educoach College have had great success in winning the East Division of the SCL Youth Development League. 

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  • Success for the Blues Academy

    The Blues Academy have had great success in reaching the final of the FCYA league

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  • Primary PE and Sport Premium will be doubled to £320m

      ukactive have responded to the 2016 budget and in particular George Osborne's announcement that a levy on sugar will get the next generation 'fit for the future', and welcomes the extra investment for children's activity programmes. Responding to the announcement that the Primary PE and Sport Premium will be doubled to £320m to spend from 2017, Executive Director Steven Ward said it was a chance to turn the tide on generation inactive. Ward said that it was absolutely crucial that the extra funding be put to use to tackle the childhood inactivity crisis and focus on ensuring that every child in the UK has the opportunity for an active start to life. ukactive Executive Director Steven Ward said: "I join every ukactive member in welcoming this opportunity to provide a fitter future for our children. Today's announcement from the Chancellor of a near half-billion pound boost to children's activity is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get more children active and we need to grasp it with both hands. Whilst recognising the good work that is already happening in schools thanks to the Primary PE and Sport Premium, this means going further than just getting children playing sport at school, by looking at building activity into lessons, on the walk to school, on the weekend, during the holidays and at home. From pre-natal to post-natal, right up to college age, we have an opportunity to get this right, right now and this injection of resources is our chance to do that. We look forward to working with government, our stakeholders, members and partners to use this chance to look at the whole picture and to prioritise funding to projects and programmes that will have the biggest impact in getting the most children active. There are 168 hours in a child's week so we'd be naïve to think that by driving investment towards a small proportion of those hours via PE and school sport that we wouldn't be making a mistake. We've got to look at the whole picture. The Chief Medical Officer called for 60 active minutes every day for every child - that now has to be our single minded goal." We at SCL echo the thoughts of ukactive in making sure that we use this once in a lifetime opportunity to turn the tide on generation inactive.  Responding to today’s 2016 Budget announcement that the Primary PE and Sport Premium will be doubled to £320m to spend from 2017, SCL CEO Lewis Field said “This near half-billion pound boost to children’s activity is a fantastic opportunity to provide a fitter future for our children. Schools now have the funds to really help every child achieve 60 active minutes every day – the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer, and one wholly supported by SCL. Be it through playing sport, building activity into lessons and break times or encouraging children to be active during holidays and at home, this is our chance to turn the tide on generation inactive and get them ‘fit for the future’.”   More News From SCL   More News From Ukactive  

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  • The National Game Awards return

    The return of the National Game Awards signals the start of what the business end of the season.

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  • Academy Player signs for Norwich

    Ebou is a product of our extremely successful Academy programme, working very closely with Tony Burman, Steve Mosely, Deren Ibrahim and Jason Long.

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  • Engaging Young People in Physical Activity

    Reflecting on the Active Training Awards, SCL Education Group CEO, and co-founder, Lewis Field explores the impact young people can make and how best to harness their energy to drive the sector forward. "At SCL we were delighted to be involved in the Active Training Workshop and Awards in November; contributing to a panel discussion on the importance of youth engagement in Apprenticeships in the physical activity sector. How to ensure our sector is helping to shape young people into positive leaders of the future is an important area to explore and it was fantastic to deliberate this with experts in the area including Marcus Kingwell from the Association of Colleges and with awarding bodies and training providers such as Active IQ and Sports Leaders. The Active Training Awards are a great way to develop the priorities of the sector in regards to training and this is particularly significant as the government reforms Apprenticeships, aiming to have 3 million starts in 2020. The sector has to take charge to ensure we make the most of the opportunities a newfound focus on Apprenticeships could bring to developing the skills of young people and how this will contribute to the growth of the sector and increase activity levels. As I outlined at the Active Training workshop SCL - both an employer and training provider - understands the power that sport can have for engaging young people in education; and it's incredibly important that for young people who may not have found school the right environment for reaching their potential are able to elsewhere. We therefore must be engaging people from a young age, helping them to hone their skills and allowing them to grow into the culture of their employer. At SCL we have seen a real progression in some of our students who once disengaged, then went on to further education, became apprentices with us and are now part of the management team at SCL. It just shows that in the right setting with the correct approach everyone can reach their potential and make a positive change to their lives. One of the fantastic things about Apprenticeships is the on-the-job training it provides, for developing both technical and soft skills. While technical skills can to some extent be taught in the classroom I don't believe there are truly embedded until there are applied in the work environment. And we really see this work in practise at SCL - giving our apprentices the opportunity to teach young children allows them real responsibility which helps them to develop skills in organisation, leadership and teamwork - all of which are necessary for any job. So, while it is great to see young people thrive in the physical activity sector it is also fantastic that the skills they gain are valuable for any future job they may have. What's great is that at SCL we can see the importance of engaging young people both from an employer's and training provider's perspective and how this helps prevent them from becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).  Through our sports academy partnerships SCL educates 2,000 16-18 year olds each academic year and we also provides children's activities and school sport services to hundreds of thousands of primary school children each year. We can therefore see what employers are looking for in employees and ensure these skills will be developed through our training.  It was fantastic to be part of an event alongside a coalition of organisations that recognise, celebrate and promote best practise in the training of physical activity professionals. It should certainly be interesting to see how the Apprenticeship reforms impact the sector and how we can harness the energy and enthusiasm of young people to improve health and wellbeing."   More News From SCL   More From Ukactives's Blog

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  • SCL's Model Sub-contracting Partnership

    The Department for Education (DfE) has unveiled a detailed report spelling out Education Funding Agency (EFA) 16 to 19 subcontracting arrangements for the first time. The Skills Funding Agency has published its subcontracting data for years, but yesterday (January 28) was the first time the EFA followed suit. The largest lead providers by student numbers subcontracted were Central College Nottingham (930), South Essex College of Further and Higher Education (835), Weston College of Further and Higher Education (797), NCG (730), and Greater Merseyside Learning Providers’ Federation (516). When asked why it subcontracts the provision, deputy principal and chief executive of South Essex College Anthony McGarel said: “We work with skilled collaborative partners that are specialists in their field, these partnerships have been extremely successful for many years. “Working alongside the best local providers, on targeted curriculum areas, reduces unnecessary course duplication and provides more choice for young people in Essex.” One of its subcontractors was Surrey-based SCL Education and Training Ltd. SCL, which had the most learners among all subcontractors, dealt with four lead providers — South Essex College (633 learners), Jancett Childcare and Jace Training (38 learners), Access to Music (344 learners) and Bromley College (39 learners). Lewis Field, director at SCL, said they ran courses from level one to level three in sports and active leisure, and also provided GCSE maths and English as well as Functional Skills. He said they were in discussion with the EFA about becoming a lead provider, when asked why they operated as a subcontractor. A South Essex College spokesperson told FE Week it had subcontracted with SCL for three years. She said that “the work they’ve done has been amazing”.

    This piece first appeared in FE Week on Monday, February 1st. You Can view the original piece here.    SUB-CONTRACT WITH SCL IN 2016/17   More News From SCL

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  • Player signs for Tottenham Hotspur

    Ebbsfleet United Academy midfielder Shilow Tracey has completed his move to Tottenham Hotspur for an undisclosed fee. The highly rated 17-year-old has been creating plenty of ripples lately with clubs including Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Ipswich Town, Reading and West Ham monitoring his progress. But having trialled with the North London club and been taken on the Spurs development squad’s recent Florida tour – where Shilow scored twice in three appearances – it is the White Hart Lane club that has won the race for his signature. Shilow was part of the first intake of players to the Ebbsfleet United Academy since club owners KEH Sports created it and Fleet vice chairman Peter Varney said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for Shilow and we are proud of the fact that our youth academy is producing quality young players just one year after we set it up. “I would like to thank Spurs for the professional manner in which they have handled the transfer negotiations. I must also recognise the work done with Shilow by Daryl McMahon and his staff in our youth academy.” Following completion of his move to White Hart Lane, Shilow was due to join up with the Spurs’ academy in Mexico to take part in the Copa Chivas, competing against teams including Benfica, Boca Juniors and River Plate. It is also fitting that in the 125th anniversary of senior football in Northfleet, that Shilow’s move to White Hart Lane recalls the years before the Second World War when Fleet served as Tottenham’s nursery club and helped produce so many stars in the famous white shirt. Ebbsfleet United will be announcing forthcoming Academy trial dates next week as the club prepares to cast its eye over the intake for the next season. Several other players have signed first-team contracts in the past season and budding players in the 16–18 age category are encouraged to apply for trials on announcement of the dates. This piece first appeared in Ebbsfleet News on January 13th.   Find out more about Ebbsfleet FC academy    More News From SCL   More News From Ebbsfleet

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  • Academy Player signs for first team

    George Hallahan came through the Basingstoke FC academy programme run in partnership with SCL and went on to sign for Basingstoke FC's first team in 2015.  Hallahan’s debut with the first team on July 11th saw him score two goals away at Beaconsfield before coming off the bench and scoring another brace against Reading u21’s on Saturday Manager Jason Bristow has seen Hallahan’s goalscoring capabilities for Basingstoke Town Youth Team first hand over the last couple of seasons and has backed the forward to grow with the club “In his first 90 minutes of first team football football, George scored 4 great goals. He’s a great prospect and with help of the players around him, we all look forward to seeing him continue his development with us”. Hallahan said on the new deal “I’m really happy to sign for my home town club again and so grateful for this big opportunity. It feels like my hard work has paid off and it’s a privilege to represent the club. The forward scored 25 goals in 16 games for Jason Bristow’s academy side last season and won the golden boot award.   Find out more about Basingstoke FC academy    More News From SCL

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    It was a fantastic, once in a lifetime experience, to celebrate all our amazing and very worthy winners from throughout the year. 

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  • Functional Skills in sport

    Successful delivery of Functional Skills in vocational training can prove challenging for many FE providers. However, SCL has managed to not only engage young learners who would not otherwise be interested in full-time learning, but have produced Functional Skills results which are excellent by anybody’s standards. Delivering study programmes and apprenticeships in partnership with a number of lead providers across the South East, London and Midlands, SCL are funded by both the Education Funding Agency and the Skills Funding Agency, focusing on providing sports provision to the sector based on learners’ interests. Mindful of the complexities and difficulties involved with delivering theory, SCL has developed a model which develops the sporting prowess of their learners while simultaneously enhancing their employability, study and Functional Skills resulting in high retention and success rates as well as a workforce for the future with a significant array of transferable skills. Lisa MacCormac, head of collaborative partnerships at South Essex College, notes that:

    ‘SCL have significantly contributed to changing the perception of vocational sports programmes, particularly apprenticeships, which had previously had a very poor reputation with the funding bodies. They provide excellent success, retention and achievement rates, have cracked the very challenging task of providing excellent Functional Skills results and are a model sub-contractor. I can’t recommend them highly enough.’ A significant part of their success is due to the fact that programmes are delivered in real sports environments which expose learners to working life on a daily basis. Working closely with employers leaves them with a realistic view of how the industry works and the opportunities on offer. By simultaneously developing their subject knowledge and skills set, the learners leave with a profound understanding of the applied nature and utility of the skills they have developed. However, it is the inventive delivery of Functional Skills that really makes SCL stand out. Having tried discrete delivery by specialist staff, yielding limited success in their first year, SCL experimented with fully embedding these skills into the curriculum by training up its own core staff. The curriculum was linked to the sporting activities contained within the main learning aim thereby taking advantage of the natural interest of learners in their chosen subject. Following this, Functional Skills results rose from 53% in 2012/13 to 87% in 2013/14. Their overall success rates for the past 12 months make for impressive reading with 95% achieving levels 1 and 2, 97% retention and 97% progression into employment, FE or HE. The focus on staff pursuing better learning was key: all staff are trained to deliver Functional Skills through continuing professional development, working in partnership with providers with exemplary practice. Equally important was the fact that all staff are actively encouraged to gain their own Functional Skills qualifications.
    This ability to embed skills and produce learners who are employment-ready is highly valued by SCL’s partners and lead organisations and is highly acclaimed by its awarding body. Adrian Armstrong, chief executive of Access to Music, an SCL partner, said: ‘SCL provides outstanding learner outcomes in terms of quality, success and learner satisfaction. I have personally witnessed the positive impact their
    Sport & Education Academy programme has on the learners’ motivation.’ Originally published by The Learning Consortium, 2016 -    More News From SCL

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  • SCL Welcomes ukactive’s Blueprint for an Active Britain Report

    SCL welcomes ukactive’s 'Blueprint for an Active Britain report,’ which was launched on Thursday 5th November. 

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  • Play hard and work smart

    NON-LEAGUE clubs can inspire youngsters in their communities into education – and develop future first team stars.

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  • SCL is an employer partner of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity.

  • SCL are pleased to announce that they are Finalists for the Apprenticeship Provider of the Year!

  • SCL are an Ofsted registered Childcare provider.

  • SCL have partnered with De Montfort University to launch a Sports Coaching Degree programme,

  • The Flame Awards are the largest celebration of innovation and excellence from across the sector.

  • SCL are strategic partners with UKactive.

  • EU EFS

  • Matrix

  • Traineeships are a stepping stone to future success for young people, businesses and the wider economy.

  • Our Saturday Soccer Coaches are FA qualified, Level 2 and above

  • SCL's School Sport Apprenticeship programme has been designed specifically to give those wanting a career in coaching and physical education the skills, knowledge and qualifications to help make it happen.

  • SCL were awarded an Ofsted outstanding in 2015 for their Holiday Activities.