Club helps pupils develop football skills

Harrogate Railway manager Billy Miller (l) with Askham Bryan students and HCCPS pupils
Harrogate Railway manager Billy Miller (l) with Askham Bryan students and HCCPS pupils

A Harrogate football team is giving school children an opportunity to develop their football skills.

Each week, youngsters at Hookstone Chase Community primary School (HCCPS) are coached by Askham Bryan students, who are working towards a coaching qualification.

The students’ tutor is Harrogate Railway manager Billy Miller, and club mascot Barmy the Beaver joins them at the sessions.

The pupil judged to have the most impressive discipline, behaviour and communication qualities during the session walks on to the pitch as mascot for a Saturday match at Rail’s Station View ground.

The college students are working towards their BTEC level three in sports development.

Miller said: “We come to the school to let the students put into practice what they have been learning on the course.

“They become the overall leaders of the sessions, it gives them an opportunity to work in a real environment.”

Miller explained what the sessions offer the pupils: “Movement patterns are very important for children aged six to 11.

“It is a football session, but before we get to the football stage we need to make sure the pupils learn about different movements.

“For instance, they jump over small hurdles, as you would avoid a tackle on the pitch. They also do sidesteps, which helps with movement across the pitch.”

A spokesperson for HCCPS said: “The benefits to the school are many. Our children can look forward to high quality coaching session sand also the possibility of being the mascot for Railway.

“This is an exciting reward for showing a positive attitude to school and learning.”

Harrogate Railway general manager Nigel Corner said: “The club is getting more involved in the community, and that provides a boost for us.

“The pupils who become mascots bring their family and friends, and hopefully they will see a win and want to come back for the next match.”

Student Matt Bland, 16, said: “The course covers all aspects of coaching, it is great to have the chance to come to the school.

“I am glad Billy comes along, he gives you confidence as he is there to make sure it goes well.”