16-19 Education

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The Football Academy is a 2/3 year, full-time Education and Football Development programme delivered in partnership with Professional and Non-League Football Clubs. It is open to talented footballers, both male and female, aged between 16–18 years, who express the desire to combine Professional Football Training and Development with a full time education programme. Places will be offered after each trial until the current Academy squad is filled. Places are limited.

Craig Faulconbridge, Academy Managing Director, leads the team based at Thame Football Club, and with more than 10 years teaching and educating, and over 20 years playing experience, he is well equipped to guide each learner/player through the time spent at the Academy.

In addition to the programme, each learner has the opportunity, in years 2 and 3, to become Advanced Sports Ltd Apprentices (based on academic achievement). If selected, successful learners will become members of the team at Advanced Sports Ltd and represent the company within the many community based programmes we have running, both at the football club, and within the local community, and draw a wage for this work. It is not open to all learners as some may not wish to pursue a career in coaching or teaching, and some do not possess the qualities needed to teach and learn, but for those who want full time work, or the opportunity to begin the ladder into coaching and teaching, and have the right attitude and work ethics, it is the ideal stepping stone.

Community based work
Community based work
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Competitive games each week
Competitive games each week
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Full time training
Full time training
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(Information, Advice and Guidance)

This document outlines the choices you can make and can assist you through the processes once you have made those choices. It is important that the choices that are made are informed ones, and they come with the reassurance every bit of information relating to the courses, from start to finish, is understood and agreed.

1st4sport Level 3 Diploma in Sport and Physical Activities (601/7671/4)

This qualification is intended for post-16 learners who wish to study a vocational sport and physical activity qualification, and be provided with the opportunity to apply theory through a number of practical activities, such as coaching.

Following successful completion of this qualification, you will be able to progress either into employment in various roles within the Sport and Active Leisure industry, or to progress into higher education within a related study area.


Typical employment areas may include:

  • Supporting the delivery of Physical Education and school sport

  • Sports coaching

  • Instructing gym sessions or classes

  • leading physical activity sessions in the wider community

  • Multi skills coaching


Higher education routes which may be available to you include:

  • Sports Coaching

  • Sports Science

  • Sports Studies


The content has been designed to cover the knowledge and skills required to progress onto higher educations within the Sport and Active Leisure sector, or to access work in community based physical activity initiatives and sports programmes as a coach, instructor or leader. The National Occupational Standards for sports coaching and for supporting the delivery of PE and school sport are also covered to ensure that learners have the relevant skills and knowledge to meet these specific industry requirements at this level.


The qualification consists of eight mandatory units.

  • Apply Physiology to sport and physical activity

  • Apply Nutrition to sport and physical activity

  • Apply Psychology for sport and physical activity

  • Develop the community through sport and physical activity

  • Design and deliver sport and physical activity programmes

  • Deliver physical education and school sport

  • Apply Research methods for sport and physical activity

  • Enterprise and innovation in the sport and active leisure industry

For this qualification, both Maths and English at grade 4 (C) or above is required (or a GCSE or Functional Skill in Maths or English will be taken in addition).

Functional Skills / GCSE Maths and English explained

As part of the full time frameworks we are working towards, GCSE’s are required to support learning and development, and have recently taken the forefront in dictating achievement. Each learner who enrols to a full time course needs a minimum requirement of a GCSE grade 4 (C) or above in Maths and English to be exempt from either retaking (if a grade 3 (D) has been achieved at GCSE level) or taking a Functional Skill (if a grade 2 (E) or lower has been achieved).

The framework includes these elements and goes towards the overall funding for the courses offered. In essence, if the GCSE or the Functional Skill is either not taken or is failed, the overall success of the framework is dictated by this result rather than the core subject.


Making Your Application


Our application process is simple and straightforward. To express an interest in our Football Academy, click here.

This will take you to an online form where you can fill in your details. Our Tutors will then respond to this after looking at your application, an interview will then be set up that goes towards the overall decision, both from yourself and the tutor.


Arranging your interview

Once you submit your interest you’ll receive an email confirming we’ve received it. We’ll arrange a time for an interview that suits you and then we’ll send you an email to confirm the date and time.

There are trials/training sessions that are available throughout the academic year that are designed to measure a couple of things;

  •      ATTITUDE: This is by far the most important thing for the academy, as players/learners need to fully commit to the demands of the day to day training that is involved in the Academy.

  •      ABILITY: Not the most important thing, but a factor that could determine how successful the practical elements of the course are received and adhered to. 

  •      LOCATION: Not the most remote location, but the academy based at Thame Football Club requires a certain amount of travel and commitment to attend (bursaries and student support is available, see below for more details).

  •      ACADEMIC: The course that is on offer require organisation, discipline, attention to detail and most of all commitment to learn. All these elements are a minimum requirement for any course on offer at the academy.


Receiving an Offer/Next Steps


At the end of the interview the course Tutor will tell you the outcome. Usually this will be either:

An offer for the course – which might be conditional on you achieving certain exam grades

A reason why the Tutor doesn’t think that the course is right for you – with suggestions of alternative courses.


If you don’t think you have been told a clear outcome in your interview, then please ask the Tutor – or contact Admissions on info@advancedsportsltd.com


If the Tutor has given you an offer for the course, then you will receive an email confirming this


Once you’ve received your offer then you’re all set! We run information evenings in the summer for students and their parents and you will be invited to attend a session run by the Tutor. There you will find out more about the course and when you’ll be enrolling. If you received a conditional offer, then you’ll be told when you need to bring your exam results in.


If you ever have any questions or you’re not sure of the next step in the process then please just get in touch: info@advancedsportsltd.com  Tel: 07968 150474



Your first week


It’s natural to feel a little bit nervous in your first week – just remember everyone is in the same situation and keen to make friends. Chances are you will have already met your Tutor and some of your classmates at induction or an information session.


The first week is all about settling in. There will be lots of activities planned to help you get to know the academy, your classmates and your Tutors.  On your first day you will meet your tutor at the Football Club in Thame, and then spend some time with your classmates. Many courses will have fun activities planned to help you get to know the College and find your way around, and also help you get to know your classmates in the process.


All new students attend a welcome briefing during their first week where you will meet the Academy Manager – Craig Faulconbridge, who will walk you through the code of conduct and the learner agreement all students have to sign.


All new students will complete a maths and English diagnostic test during their first week. This is nothing to be concerned about – the aim is to ensure that all of our students receive the right level of support.


Learning Support


Learning Support is a support service for students with a range of additional needs. We can provide additional support for you if you have a learning difficulty, disability, medical condition, literacy, numeracy or language need. It's available to all students’ subject to assessment and agreement of need and resources


A referral can be made in a variety of ways:

Through a request you have made, or from your tutor, your parents/carers, or your previous school via phone, post or email


Once we have received a referral, we will invite you for an initial assessment.

During the initial assessment, we will discuss your needs with you, what support you had previously, the type of support we could offer and the levels available. We ask students to provide evidence of their need for support.


Student Welfare


Our Safeguarding Team can advise and assist you with financial problems, home troubles, accommodation or issues relating to your course.


Safeguarding and protecting children and young adults


Problems outside the Academy can mean that some students may have difficulty doing all that is expected on their courses as well as being fully involved in Academy life.


At the Thame Academy, we recognise our responsibilities for the protection of young people and vulnerable adults. Our staff and volunteers are all aware of protection issues and your safety and well-being will always be placed first.  We take any allegation of abuse seriously and treat it in accordance with the Academy policy and procedures. We can also put you in touch with people who can provide more specialised help.


Confidential Helpline


We care about your welfare and safety. If you have any worries about yourself or someone at the Academy, we would welcome your call. The information will be treated in the strictest of confidence.


Call 07968 150474

Email: info@advancedsportsltd.com


Confidentiality will be maintained as far as possible. You can expect that information revealed in confidence with a member of staff is not divulged to a third party, except in situations where significant harm may come to you or others.


Tutors and other staff cannot guarantee confidentiality in the following circumstances:

A student reveals information that leads a member of staff to believe that the student or others are at risk of 'significant harm'.

A student reveals information that leads a member of staff to believe that the student or others are implicated in serious criminal activity.