footballA Supported Learning Sport and Football Academy, designed to provide supported learning students with learning disabilities with opportunities to gain accredited qualifications and progression routes to the higher level sport courses at college or employment, has been set up by Walsall College.

At the Sport and Football Academy, which starts in September, students will work towards an entry level sports qualification alongside functional skills qualifications in English, maths and ICT. The course will also include work-related elements to support students to develop their practical and employability skills.

Paul Bagnall, curriculum manager for supported learning at Walsall College, said: “The college has had a long standing commitment to improving access to sport for all students and this new academy is the result of the growth already experienced in this area. 

“Opportunities for students on supported learning programmes to take part in a variety of sports and compete in national competitions alongside their course have been increased significantly over the last few years. Uptake by students has been excellent and as a result, their motivation, self-confidence, health and well-being has improved greatly.

“Last year the college’s supported learning football team won the Football for Students with a Disability tournament at the Association of Colleges National Sports Championships. Since then many of the team have progressed on to higher levels of education and supported internships.

“The Academy will enable students to excel in sport and receive formal qualifications, to help aid their transition to higher level courses and in turn the workplace.

“We are delighted to be launching this new initiative and leading the way in ensuring sport qualifications are inclusive to all students.”