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Twenty new signings for the Dons


By David Porter

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A total of 20 schools are signing for the Dons as part of Aberdeen FC Community Trust’s partner schools programme.

Volunteer Jenna McDonald during a Partner Schools project at Buchanhaven School
Volunteer Jenna McDonald during a Partner Schools project at Buchanhaven School

The first school to be announced as partnering with the Trust for 2020/2021 is Buchanhaven Primary in Peterhead.

AFCCT works with schools, breakfast clubs, after school and community clubs across the region to re-engage pupils in education through their passion for football and the power of the AFC brand and has already partnered with several schools including Turriff Primary.

These schools have recognised the impact AFCCT can have on closing the poverty related attainment gap in education and are partnering with the Trust to deliver health and wellbeing interventions with children who require behavioural, emotional and social support.

In the last two years, AFCCT has worked successfully with over 14,000 children through 23 schools and other education projects to reduce absenteeism and lateness, improve pupil health and well-being and support their behavioural, emotional and social needs to raise attainment.

The results of the Trust’s education programme were a key factor in Aberdeen Football Club being recognised by UEFA as Best Professional Club in their Grassroots Awards 2019.

Education is at the heart of the Trust’s mission, intrinsically linked to its healthy communities and football for life programmes.

Last year, the Trust reported that for every £1 invested in football participation in the region, there is a £10 cumulative economic, social and public health return.

Robbie Hedderman, Partnership and Business Development manager, of AFCCT said: “It’s widely acknowledged that football, more than any other sport, has the power to inspire young people.

"Our coaches act as positive role models, go into schools, after school clubs and community projects to work with young people who have been identified as requiring additional support.

"By capturing their attention through a range of football-related activities, we can encourage them to attend class, turn up on time, learn how to cope with any behavioural or emotional issues and teach them invaluable life skills such as team-work and communication.”

The link to the Club, whose players are influential role models for many of these children and their parents, is what differentiates the Trust, he said. “Head teachers across Aberdeen are empowered to invest Pupil Equity Funding to provide additional support to their pupils.

"Our partner schools programme is well positioned to support these schools and headteachers have seen first-hand the influence and positive impact we can have on individual pupils which, in turn, supports their teachers and their school’s attainment levels.”

The interest in the Trust’s partner schools programme has increased year on year for the last three years.

Further signings will be announced in the coming days with schools who have grasped the opportunity to partner with the Trust early to ensure the programmes are ready to kick-off after the summer.

Headteacher of Buchanhaven Primary School, Linda Strachan outlines the benefits of partnering with the Trust.

She said: “We have been working with AFCCT for two and half years now and the impact on our pupils has been fantastic.

"This is not just about the kids having a kick about!

"The Trust’s approach to working with our pupils is creative and very engaging.

"They develop excellent relationships with our pupils, enhance their wellbeing, and promote positive behaviour which in turn helps our school to raise attainment levels.

"This has also given some of our most vulnerable young pupils life-changing experiences such as meeting their heroes from AFC’s first team, to being the mascot leading the first team out at Hampden in Scottish Cup Finals.

"Moments like these can have such a profound influence and positive impact on their life.”


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