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Shaping the next generation

The club's partnership with Moorland School is helping to build better players and people

20 October 2017

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Blackburn Rovers' Head of Education & Welfare Neil Chadwick has explained how the club's partnership with Moorland School is helping to make youngsters both better players and people.

The private school provides education to players who have entered the Blues' Academy programmes, offering first-class support and training from its base in Clitheroe.

Chadwick says education has played an important part in helping the Academy achieve Category One status, and says the current set-up is helping youngsters learn some valuable skills.

"The partnership has been fantastic," he said. "It's been in place for just over two years, and now all of our education and provision is under one roof at Moorland. We've got a designated team that looks after scholars too, which is great.

"It's been great so far, especially for the younger boys, and we've build the relationship from there. In terms of communication, because it's all now at Moorland, it's been seamless.

"Education plays a key role in the audits which determine the status of the academy and ours is currently Category One.

"Regardless of the age they come in at, we're making sure they're hitting their grades. We're now also trying to work a bit more informally too, setting up programmes to make them better people and better footballers.

"When they come out on the other side, even if things haven't worked out football-wise, we want them to have built up an array of skills which they can take elsewhere, and we're doing that effectively with the schoolboy programme.

"They get social media and anti-bullying training, lessons on drug and alcohol use and the older lads have to do their coaching badges as part of the education framework.

"It's great if they go and get a professional contract but, if not, they're equipped to go out into the world. There are all kinds of opportunities for them at home and abroad, particularly in America now."

Asked about the importance of teaching youngsters 'the Blackburn way', Chadwick says the education programmes fit into the club's wider ethos, something which can help players both on and off the pitch.

"The main objective, especially when they come in at 18, is getting them to do well in the education programme. We want them to achieve their potential," he added.

"We have a philosophy in our department and that has to mirror the academy's philosophy as a whole. We're all about working with the individual, creating independent and self-sufficient thinkers.

"I'm a believer that if you're a good learner you can always improve yourself, and that helps players become better footballers. Hopefully we can play a big part in that. Learning skills means you can apply them on the pitch."

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