Brighton & Hove Albion’s deputy chairman Paul Barber visited Patcham High School to give students a unique insight into the football industry.
Mr Barber delivered an assembly to more than 200 students as part of an on-going partnership between Patcham High School and the club’s official charity, Albion in the Community (AITC).
AITC has been working with the school since December 2017, with one of the charity’s sports mentors, Zara Phillips, based at the school full-time. Staff from both the charity and football club are also about to embark on a mentoring scheme designed to support some of the school’s most-vulnerable students and help them overcome a range of barriers to better engage in their education.
Mr Barber was invited to the school to hear more about the collaboration with AITC and, as well as delivering an assembly on his career in football, he also discussed the attributes young people need to succeed, and spent time talking to a smaller group of students, each of whom have directly benefited from working with AITC.
Speaking after the visit, Mr Barber said: “It was a genuine pleasure to visit Patcham High School and meet their students and staff. I was hugely-impressed by the work the students have been doing with AITC, their engagement during the visit and the quality of their questions.
“The way AITC uses football to engage young people across a variety of subjects is certainly effective and it is clear the charity – and Zara in particular - is doing a fantastic job working with the students at Patcham.”
As well as having a full-time member of staff from AITC based at the school and the new mentoring programme launching in January, Patcham High is benefiting from a range of other programmes delivered by the charity.
The overall aim of AITC’s partner school programme is to help students who may be struggling at school to develop their academic skills, improve their confidence and raise their aspirations.
Further examples of the partnership work include an enterprise project for the whole of Year 9 which will see students working to develop their own business ideas, and Premier League Enterprise, a ten-week programme which uses the football club’s businesses model to develop targeted students’ key life skills, such as communication and teamwork.
John McKee, headteacher at Patcham, was enthusiastic about the impact AITC is having on his students.
He said: “Our students really benefit from the work we do with AITC and it was fantastic to welcome Paul Barber to Patcham High. His talk was inspirational and the warm and generous manner in which he interacted with the students lent itself to a fascinating question and answer session.”
For more information on AITC’s work in local schools, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.