My name is Harrison, and I am the new High School Partnership Officer, here at Bolton St Catherine’s Academy. It’s been a wonderful start to my journey at BSCA and I enjoy coming in everyday, seeing the students and making a difference. The opportunities the Manchester United Foundation can offer are stated below, feel free to have a read and get an idea of what life is like being the SPO officer here at Bolton St Catherine’s Academy!
The School Partnership Officer (SPO) from the Manchester United Foundation, Harrison, helped with the delivery of the summer school camps at the end of August. A diverse and engaging host of activities were offered to the students to participate in as well as an inflatable football goal where the students received points based on their finish. Dodgeball, Danish longball, football was just some of the other activities that the students took part in. Across the 3 days, the SPO worked with over 100 students.
Player Event Day
Within the first couple of weeks back at school, 5 students in Year 7 from Bolton St Catherine’s Academy got the opportunity to attend a player event at Old Trafford. During this trip, not only did the pupils get the chance to participate in several different team building and
communication activities, but they also got chance to speak with the players, get items signed by the players and have photos with them too. Some of the players the students got a chance to meet were: Harry Maguire, Donny Van Der Beek, Antony, Martin Dubravka, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe, Christian Ericksen, Anthony Martial and several others.
Each year sees all the Manchester United Foundation partner high schools given the opportunity to participate in tournaments. In this first half term, the Year 9 boys team got the chance to attend a tournament at the Academy centre on Ayrshire Road where they competed against other schools in an 8-team tournament. Bolton St Catherine’s Academy competed well, narrowly missing out on a place in the final but doing the school proud in the way they conducted themselves throughout the day. More tournaments are on offer for the students of BSCA throughout the year.
Opportunities for the students of Bolton St Catherine’s Academy
One of the many opportunities given to the students throughout the year, are tickets to Manchester United home games at Old Trafford. For most games, the schools are given a pair of tickets to give to one student where they can attend a game accompanied by a parent/carer over 18.
As well as this, each year, the schools get a chance to select one pupil in Year 10 or Year 11 to be the schools representative Manchester United ball assistant for the season. The process in which they are chosen consists of the students applying through a letter to the Manchester United Foundation SPO followed by an interview. This year the ball assistant was given to Josh in Year 10 for an outstanding letter of application, followed by an impressive interview.
Rewards and Trips
Many rewards have been given out to students who have offered to assist in the running of holiday camps, fantastic attitude around school and for the students were attend the programmes run by the SPO at the school.
As well as attending tournaments, 41 students got the opportunity to attend a STEM event at Fulwood Barracks Army base up in Preston. The students there got the chance to converse with the soldiers where they gave accounts of their lives within the forces, took part in team building tasks and worked on the gaming bus. The students also got the chance to work with the intelligence officers at the Army on map tasks and handled weapons and army equipment that have been used in past wars.
Believe FC, Boys 2 Men, Girls 2 Women
At the Manchester United Foundation, we look to run a few positive and educational programmes in our partner high schools. The SPO at BSCA has started well since coming in and is already running several programmes. Some of which are ‘Believe FC’, ‘Boys 2 Men’ and ‘Girls 2 Women’ which focuses on improving communication, aspirations for the future, self-esteem and confidence, as well as focusing on perceptions and goal settings. The SPO is working with some students on a 1 to 1 basis, whilst working with others in groups delivering this programme.
1 to 1 Mentoring
Opportunities for 14 students in Year 7 have been offered to work with the SPO on a 1 to 1 basis throughout the week in school. The meetings will consist of short catch ups with the SPO as well as others having longer meetings where required. As well as this, targets are set to help assist with the pupil’s improvement in behaviour, attendance and attitude to learning.
Since starting in BSCA, the SPO has given the students a safe place to play at lunchtime by opening up the Astro-turf. This allows the students an area to go and compete in football activities with friends, whilst burning off any excess energy.
After School Club
The SPO has recently set up a girls’ extra-curricular club since returning from the summer. This club is open to all year groups with an average of 10 female participants taking part so far. The session is a football only club where the girls get the opportunity to learn more skills and get a better understanding for the game. This is a great club for the students to make new friends and meet new people.