Innovative new partnership aims to help pupils reach their goals

A unique partnership project involving two north-east football clubs to offer different educational opportunities to young people, has been launched today (Mon, Aug 27).

The PeterDeen programme is now underway. Over the 2018-19 school session, 18 S3 pupils from the Peterhead Academy catchment will take part in a new and different curriculum, such as coaching sessions, spending time with third sector providers, taking vocational qualifications, all while also completing core subjects such as English and Maths in school.

Led by Aberdeenshire Council, the PeterDeen scholarship has been developed in partnership with Aberdeen FC Community Trust, Peterhead Football Club and Peterhead-based Score Group plc.

The initial cohort of participants have been identified through an assessment process. They were chosen because it is expected will benefit from an alternative curriculum to ensure they develop the skills for learning, life and work which they might not otherwise achieve.

The project aims to deliver a curriculum through which students will be encouraged to celebrate their own achievements and develop as independent, responsible and creative young people with a lifelong interest in learning and self-development. To achieve this, participating pupils will undertake a series of practical, accredited courses that will cross the field of school, sport and business.

It was formally launched on Monday, August 27 by Provost of Aberdeenshire Cllr Bill Howatson. He said: “There are always cases where one size does not fit all, and education is no different. There are a number of pupils who may benefit from a new approach to delivering the curriculum. They might not thrive in the traditional school setting, but this project will help us pilot a new way of supporting them. I look forward to meeting the first intake of pupils on Monday and hearing more about the plans for their first year at PeterDeen.”   

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “PeterDeen is a truly inspirational and innovative initiative which aims to upskill young people in Peterhead through direct experience in the worlds of sport and employment.  I very much hope it is a win-win for Aberdeenshire Council and the partners involved in PeterDeen, and for Peterhead too. I am sure other councils in Scotland and further afield will be interested in seeing how this unique approach develops.”

Robbie Hedderman, Senior SFA Community Coach, said: “We are delighted to be partnering up with Aberdeenshire Council, Peterhead FC and Score International Ltd to deliver the PeterDeen project. This is an exciting, forward-thinking approach to alternative learning and as this project develops it will bring great benefit not only to the young people involved but also to the local community.”

Nat Porter is the Community Liaison Officers for Peterhead FC. He said: “This is exciting for us in a number of ways. It is an excellent opportunity to work with the partners to find a new way of supporting local young people and shows what can be achieved when we all have the same ambition. It is also the first time we have worked together with Aberdeen FC on such a project. I wish all of the young people taking part the very best of luck.”

Conrad Ritchie is Managing Director of Score Group. He said: “This is a new venture, a venture that has been created to address the needs of students that have difficultly conforming to mainstream schooling. Each individual has different lightbulb moments in life and it is hoped that PeterDeen will illuminate these lights and create individuals that can flourish. Attitude will always come before ability, yet ability will shine with the correct attitude direction and personal commitment, we are excited to be involved in such a ground breaking project and are confident that the results of which will be beneficial for all.”

PeterDeen was formally launched at Peterhead FC’s Balmoor Stadium on Monday, August 27, and activities will begin immediately. The 18 pupils beginning S3 will join the programme this year have been identified as those who will benefit most from the initiative.