Phil Jagielka visited the Everton Free School campus at Liverpool City College on Thursday to learn more about the opportunities it offers to young people across Merseyside.
The Club captain had his own personal tour guide around the School in the form of Poppy, a former student who, with the help of the facility, has turned her life around, gone on to achieve six GCSEs and is currently studying an apprenticeship with Everton in the Community focusing on social inclusion.
Jagielka was given an insight into the diversity of the School and the experiences that it offers these young people. He spent his time sitting in on a science lesson and chatted to students participating in a sports session before taking his seat at a captains’ table forum to discuss the key attributes needed to be a good leader.
Speaking after his time at the City centre facility, Jagielka said: “I knew a bit of basic information about the Free School before I came but after looking around here today I’m blown away by the facilities that are on offer here to these young people and the high standards that are being displayed by everyone.
“Poppy is a brilliant advocate of the School and what you can achieve by coming here; she didn’t stop smiling all afternoon when we were re-visiting her old classrooms and tutors. Not everyone thrives in a traditional educational environment and a facility like this can help you find the right path to follow.”
Richard Cronin, Assistant Principal of the School echoed the Captain’s thoughts. He said: “Everton Free School is going from strength to strength and we were delighted Phil dropped in and spent time with our students. 2014 is a big year for us; we will be two years old in September and will be celebrating this by moving into our new permanent home on Spellow Lane.
“Our biggest achievement, however, are our students. They continue to amaze us, grow and develop into bright young adults. We are all very proud of them and will continue to strive for the best for all young people across Merseyside.”
Launched in September 2012 by Everton in the Community, Everton Free School caters for young people aged 14-19 and offers an alternative education pathway to those who have become detatched from traditional schooling.
The school delivers an innovative, personalised curriculum supported by local stakeholders, industry partners and Further and Higher Education and is currently accessed by over 100 participants.
Everton in the Community are the first Club community scheme in the country to be awarded funding by the Government to open a Free School, a ground-breaking initiative for young people across Merseyside.
The Club’s official charity will celebrate the end of its year-long silver jubilee programme at its dedicated birthday game against Aston Villa on this Saturday when Evertonians will be thanked for their support over the past 12 months.
To celebrate Everton in the Community’s 25th anniversary the charity launched its most ambitious fundraising campaign to raise £1million and help even more vulnerable and underprivileged people on Merseyside for the next 25 years and beyond.
In the build-up to the Villa fixture, famous supporters and members of the first team squad have been visiting some of the projects delivered by Everton in the Community, to highlight where the money raised is being used and the difference the charity makes on a daily basis.
To thank fans further for their support, Everton in the Community staff will be on hand to give out limited edition, special commemorative pin badges.
For more information on Everton Free School visit www.evertonfreeschool.com