English Premier League Wants Its Own Charter Schools

Posted by Nikhil Swaminathan

nullAs we mentioned during the run up to the British Parliamentary elections this year, the eventual coalition government leaders, the Tories, are pretty keen on developing a charter school-like system similar to the one here in the U.S. And one entity interesting in opening a few of these so-called "academies" is the English Premier League (EPL), the world's, well, premier soccer association.

Since the country's disappointing performance in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, there's been a lot of finger-pointing in the nation over who is to blame for the (relatively) abysmal state of its national team. The latest scapegoat: The education system that, according to a BBC report, does not allow budding soccer stars access to coaches for more than five hours or so per week. (In other European countries, such as the Netherlands, that number can be as high as 20 hours per week.)

The EPL hopes to change this by setting up a network of schools that can cater to a more soccer-focused curriculum (while hopefully still preparing its students for lives off the pitch). By setting up academies, the EPL will get central government money to run its schools and will be free from control by local authorities.

A Department of Education official wasn't as dismissive as one might think about the idea:

We want every child to have a premier-league education and would be very happy to talk to the Premier League about setting up schools in communities across the country, where there is a local need.   We would be delighted if they joined the hundreds of passionate and talented groups that care about raising standards for all children and are interested in setting up new schools.

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