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Story added: 12th November 2020

Our Premier League Inspires Officer, Nathan Russell, explains more about the initiative

At three high schools across the city, one programme delivered by Norwich City Community Sports Foundation is helping to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs.

Premier League Inspires is an education programme, introduced in 2019, and developed by the Premier League and professional football clubs.

The premise of the programme is simple: use the power of football to engage.

Nathan Russell, the Premier League Inspires Officer at the Foundation, explains more about the initiative.

“I work with small groups in three high schools, across an hour each week. This focus this term has been on enterprise.”

Students chosen for the programme usually have low attendance or attainment and behaviour issues.

‘They can be a challenging group to work with at times, but they are all good kids. The programme is designed to help bring out their best qualities, and help them re-engage with their school work.”

The group sizes are small, and the learning is linked to football, the Premier League and Norwich City Football Club, helping to engage those who may struggle to engage otherwise.

Alongside the group work, support is available to students on a one-to-one basis with additional members of Foundation staff.

Nathan is currently working with Sewell Park Academy, Taverham High School and Open Academy, having also delivered sessions previously in Hellesdon High, Thorpe St. Andrew High School, and Ormiston Venture Academy in Gorleston.

Work this term has been centred around the development of a new product to be sold at the Club shop. Nathan has led the group through a series of sessions, looking at design, product development, and marketing.

“The groups have had some interesting ideas; onesies, water bottles and a pair of new trainers. They’ll look at their products from a financial point of view, what their profit margins will be – that kind of thing.”

The programme has managed to continue despite this year’s Covid-19 outbreak.

“I’m teaching in person at two high schools, with an online session for the other. Teaching in a mask was strange, at first; but it didn’t take long to get used to the new procedures and guidelines in place at each school.”

While the ongoing pandemic has altered the make-up of the programme – eliminating usual perks such as free match tickets and experiences at the Club – exclusive online content has helped bring the immersive nature of the programme to life.

This includes a virtual ground tour of Carrow Road, and an insight into how the new Fan Hub in the city centre operates from the Club’s Chief Operating Officer, Ben Kensell.

Involvement from the Club really makes the programme unique, believes Nathan.

“Prior to the pandemic, we were able to bring some of Norwich City FC Academy players into schools to meet the pupils and find out about their work.

“The scholars are fantastic role models for my students, and are great at illustrating the importance of staying motivated and working hard. We hope to continue this link with the Academy and the Football Club once the pandemic is over, and we can bring players back into a school environment.”

Looking ahead, Nathan hopes he can introduce the programme into more high schools across Norfolk and Suffolk.

“It’s so rewarding to hear from teachers how a student’s attendance and behaviour has increased, in part because of the work we are doing with Premier League Inspires.

“I’ve seen some fantastic and well-thought out presentations from our students this term, which really goes to show that they can produce good work when they put the time and effort in.

“I’m proud that the programme is inspiring them to do so. If it just motivates one student to achieve something they wouldn’t have otherwise, then it’s been 100% worthwhile.”

To find out more about how your school can benefit from the Premier League Inspires programme, click here, or alternatively contact us here.

"It’s so rewarding to hear from teachers how a student’s attendance and behaviour has increased, in part because of the work we are doing with Premier League Inspires."

Nathan Russell

Premier League Inspires Officer, CSF

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