CREATING well rounded players is a huge part of what the Burton Albion Football Club Academy is about.
It’s the basis of the academy vision, it’s reinforced by all the coaches, at all levels, it’s even plastered on the walls of the academy office.
And that’s made this year’s GCSE results all the sweeter.
The Academy’s first year scholars achieved more than 70 GCSE qualifications between them, equivalent to a grade of A to C.
Ethan Vale and Daniel Cooke were two standouts in the successful group, with Vale achieving four A* grades, two A grades, two B grades and two C grades, while Cooke achieved six A grades and three C grades.
While Vale is delighted with his own results, he’s also heaped praise on his teammates.
“I’m really pleased with my results and so are my parents, I have worked hard for the results and I suppose all the work has paid off.
“The Academy are pleased with the results, really. Compared to last year we have smashed it out of the park, we have all worked hard and we have the results to show for that.
“It is really uplifting to have done so well as a group.”
Cooke is also pleased with his results and has highlighted the importance of getting a good education as a footballer.
“All the hard work pays off; a lot of hours were put into it so it is good to get the results.
“You have got to have a backup in case, for instance, you get injured. You need to have something as a backup and that could be helped by your GCSE results.”
Academy staff are immensely proud of this year’s results.
Head of Education and Welfare Paul Reynolds says that’s because there’s a real drive to develop these young players into first team footballers.
“We believe there is a link between academic achievement and decision making.
“In four of the last six years of the scholars studying at Burton & South Derbyshire College, the highest academic achieving scholar has also secured a professional contract with the first team, these players are Joe Sbarra, Ben Fox, Matty Palmer and Sam Austin.”
Last season, the Academy introduced school checks to the recruitment policy, ensuring that players are on target with school work, and there are no issues with behaviour or attendance.
It’s hoped that this continued focus on education, on and off the field, will help this group of players to not only achieve their footballing dreams but have success in all areas of life.