The business of football is uniting students, school and sport in a community partnership that is bringing children’s learning to life.

Grace College, in Gateshead, has become an official partner school of the Newcastle United Foundation, whose education programme seeks to draw on pupils’ passion for their local team to support their learning.

The college, formerly Joseph Swan Academy, is benefiting from having, Ed Cook, a full-time member of the Foundation’s secondary education team in school every Friday to work on a number of projects with young people.

The first group of students in Year 7 are laying the groundwork for future generations moving up to ‘big school’ by developing resources to support children in their transition from primary to secondary education.

Drawing on their own recent experience of transition, they have devised assembly presentations, designed posters and written welcome letters and information sheets to make the move up easier for current Year 6 in primary schools close to Grace College.

Chris Bland, Head of Upper School at Grace College, said: “The project, which is part of a bespoke programme created with NU Foundation, has given the students a real focus that will not only help children in the future but is also supporting their own transition into secondary school life.”

A second cohort of students in Year 8 are exploring the business of sport and using football as a vehicle for learning about enterprise and developing their communication and leadership skills, leading to as ASDAN-accredited award.

A third group of Year 9 students are receiving football coaching in lunchbreaks, while all year groups are able to join skills training and recreational football after school.

Mr Bland added: “We have been working on different projects with the Foundation for some time and now we are delighted to be an official partner school.

“It’s a fantastic reciprocal relationship in that their excellent programme offers all sorts of opportunities for our students, whilst we understand the value of what they bring and can support the community role they wish to have by embedding their projects into our curriculum.”

Ed Cook added: “It’s great to be able to work with Grace College this academic year as part of our Premier League Inspires project.

“The school have really embraced this new way of working and the students have engaged superbly into the projects we are delivering in school. We are really excited about strengthening our partnership further this year.”

Ed said the Foundation had delivered a number of successful projects at the college during the past three years, with some of the highlights including being runners-up in the Premier League Enterprise challenge national final 2019.