7:00am Thursday 25th August 2011
A “SECOND chance” project to help school under-achievers punch their weight and gain sporting qualifications begins in Blackbird Leys next month.
The course, funded by Oxford Academy, will give school-leavers the chance to gain a boxing coaching BTEC qualification.
And there are four places left for any Students who do not get the GCSE grades they were looking for today.
Course leader Matthew Brandish, 26, said: “This is about engaging young people in their learning with something they enjoy.
“It’s a second chance for all those students who haven’t really enjoyed school. We’re coming at it from a more practical side.”
The course is being run by Paddy Fitzpatrick, who has 25 years’ experience in training Oxfordshire boxers.
Mr Brandish said: “We are looking to get about 12 people involved from the local community.”
“That’s anyone from in and around Blackbird Leys, Rose Hill, Littlemore, Cowley or anywhere like that.”
The course will cater for male and female school-leavers aged 16 to 19 and no boxing experience is necessary.
It was previously going to be run in Berinsfield, but was moved closer to the city over concerns about mounting travel costs.
Mr Brandish said: “It’s a unique course. There is nothing else running like this.
“The ones who want to do further education but didn’t get the qualifications can use this as a stepping stone.
“And others can take the coaching further, going on to study for further qualifications.”
Students will study for a BTEC Level 2 certificate, which is the equivalent of four GCSEs. Mr Brandish said the course also had the backing of David Haye, former WBA World Heavyweight Champion, who they hoped would pop by with some words of wisdom over the next year.
Also lending his expertise will be Oxford University boxing coach Des Brackett, who grew up in Blackbird Leys. Mr Brackett said: “It’s good to help youngsters get back into education.
“This is a complete contrast to working at the university, it’s something from my roots.”
He added: “I always get a buzz after training and feel more confident, so I’m hoping this will be a kickstart for these youngsters to get back into education and achieve something.”
The year-long course begins on September 14.
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