The boot room at the Academy of Light

Education at the Academy

It's not all about football for the club's young Academy scholars.

The educational development of every young footballer is a key part of Academy life, and we take our commitment to education seriously.

We firmly believe in lifelong learning and the holistic development of every Academy player.

This, together with our opinion that success is a journey not a destination, forms the foundation of our mission statement.

Our caring and professional approach - together with superb facilities - has ensured that every player experiences a happy, safe and supportive environment in which to strive towards high standards.

The full-time scholars spend 10 hours a week on academic studies leading up to qualifications. The academic programme is delivered by tutors from City of Sunderland College and this education is paid for and monitored by Premier League Learning.

A full-time scholar embarks on an Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence [ASE] which is a work-based learning programme combining training and playing experiences with study.

The main aim of ASE is to prepare the scholar for life as a professional footballer, but also to provide additional skills and qualifications to ensure a smooth transition to a second career if necessary.

We recognise the fact that not every football scholar makes it in the professional game.

The ASE framework is a national level 3 qualification and on completion is equivalent to two A-Levels. The scholars also follow an academic programme which can yield a further two A-Levels.

Added to that, the scholars graduate from the Academy with a referee's qualification and an FA Level 1 coaching badge.

We take our duty of care to our young footballers extremely seriously.

There is an open-door policy, built on relationship and trust. Young players and parents can talk to us about personal problems.

The Academy's aim is to make the time a player spends with us a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

In reality, some players will ultimately be released from the club and in these circumstances we offer help and guidance in pursuing alternative training and careers, including University entrance.