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Ilkley Town football A-Level scholarship opportunity available

Football A-Level scholarship opportunity available at St Mary’s, Menston, in partnership with AW Elite Football and Ilkley Town AFC.

Final applications will be accepted by St Mary’s in Menston for their football scholarship opportunity until August 31st. The scholarship offers the opportunity for both boys and girls entering sixth form in September 2020 to benefit from an Ofsted-outstanding education whilst receiving a professional level of football coaching.

St Mary’s are issuing a final call for young people who have just recieved their GCSE results and achieved 5 GCSES, grade 4 or above including English, Maths, to get involved in this fantastic opportunity with brilliant pathways to university, overseas study, apprenticeships, and U21, U23 and semi-professional football with Ilkley Town AFC.

Rugby League player, Jamie Peacock, endorsed the scholarship: “I think the partnership is a fantastic idea. I started out my career at the Bradford Bulls on a scholarship, getting an education whilst developing my Rugby skills. My message to any students wanting to go on the course is, go for it! Make sure you understand that your studies are just as important as playing football. Try and bring your best to everything you do.”

The program differs from other local opportunities, offering a full range of A level and BTEC qualifications as well as professional level football coaching through the Aire Wharfe Elite football centre and entry into the national colleges league. There will also be a strong emphasis on personal development, developing skills that will benefit students throughout their life.

Darren Beardsley, headmaster at St Mary’s said: “Our programme focuses on the holistic development of the young person. We believe, at this age the best thing for young people is to keep all their options open. Our programme gives young people the best possible chance to maximise future opportunities.

For example, other similar programmes narrow students’ academic options to fit the football in, many only offering BTEC Sport. Ours offers a wide range of A Levels as well as BTECs to be studied in combination with high level football coaching and competitive games.

Also, our programme will offer a range of personal development and networking opportunities that will enable students to gain experience and establish a foothold into the future in a way that will really make them stand out.”

St Mary’s have partnered with the AW Elite Football Centre who will provide the coaching. The AW Centre has been up and running for 18 months. It is a performance-based football academy that accelerates the development of players who are enjoying success at a community and grassroots level.

Sam Dexter, head coach at the AW Elite Football Centre said: “This is a fantastic program. We are delighted to be working with St Mary’s School, they have an ethos that fits very well with ours with a strong emphasis on personal development and lifelong learning. From the first moment we spoke to them we could tell they were passionate about the power of sport to develop young people. The program has the full range of academic options and will suit students whether they want to enter University or seek an apprenticeship or employment after two years on the program. Having a girls program as well as boys really makes the program stand out. Over the next couple of years, we will be developing the AW Centre so that it provides performance pathway from ages six all the way through to 18 with the scholarship program.”

Ilkley Town AFC will provide opportunities for students to play at a first team, u23 and u21 level. Ilkley Town’s first team play at the top end of the West Yorkshire Premier league and are planning to move into the semi-professional leagues at the earliest opportunity.

Simon Armstrong, Ilkley Town first team manager said, “We will provide players on the program with the opportunity to play senior football. We offer an u21, u23 and senior teams so that players will be able to get the opportunities that is right for their stage of development. Our emphasis throughout the club is on player development. We have a great coaching team and provide a supportive environment for young players to come into. We are already starting to see positive results with the first team, fielding as many as eight under 21’s players in some fixtures.”

The program is now open to applications from boys and girls entering year 12 in September. For parents or students interested please email in the first instance Steve Curran at or call 07914840024


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