Match day experience with Aspire to H.E.

On Saturday 19th October some of our Year 10 and 11 students were invited to be the guests of the University of Wolverhampton as they were match-day sponsors for Walsall Football Club’s home future against Cheltenham Town FC.

Hannah Curran and Danielle Balach-Warman who work with the school through the Aspire to Higher Education initiative hosted the day, which started with our students sitting down for a 3-course pre-match meal, complimentary match programme and official team sheet. Pre-match entertainment included a live interview with Walsall defender, Dan Scarr.

Our students then took to their seats to watch the League 2 encounter between Walsall & Cheltenham Town. The first half saw Walsall spurn some great chances to open the scoring before an unfortunate goalkeeping error saw the home side go into the break a goal down. The half time interval meant it was time to revisit our table in the hospitality area for tea, coffee and an array of cakes to choose from to sweeten the disappointing performance on the pitch.

The second half began brightly when Walsall were awarded a penalty and Josh Gordon confidently slotted home to make it 1-1. Even though Walsall looked to be pushing on for the win, Cheltenham Town responded quickly to score the decisive third and final goal in the game . One of the most important tasks of the day was yet to come, our students were asked to select the match sponsor’s man of the match just before the full time whistle. We chose Walsall’s hardworking midfielder Stuart Sinclair which seemed a popular decision with the home crowd as it was announced over the stadium’s tannoy system.

After the game our final duty was to present the man of the match with his award and in exchange receive a sign football that will be proudly displayed in the main reception area in school. We would like to thank the University of Wolverhampton, Hannah & Danielle for inviting us and for being such fantastic hosts for the day, also thanks to the hospitality team at Walsall Football Club, despite the result, both staff and students had a fantastic time.

Aspire to HE (higher education) is a partnership of schools and colleges, led by the University of Wolverhampton and funded by the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP). The main aim of the partnership is to support the government’s goal to increase the number of young people in our local area entering higher education by 2020. Hannah, Danielle & the team will be working with some of our Key Stage 4 students helping them to access a range activities to both increase attainment and explore the many opportunities in higher education.