Ambitious expansion unveiled for next year at Darwen school

Blackburn Citizen: POPULAR Students have come from Leeds and Preston for DACA’s sports academies POPULAR Students have come from Leeds and Preston for DACA’s sports academies

DARWEN Aldridge Community Academy has unveiled ambitious plans to double the size of its already successful sports academies next year.

Principal Brendan Loughran said he was looking to 2013 with plans to expand the football and cricket academies, while creating new girls’ football, netball, table tennis and golf academies.

The academies have attracted boys from as far away as Leeds, with students also studying at the DACA sixth form.

DACA opened its football academy in September, in partnership with Chorley FC, and a cricket academy with links to Darwen CC.

This year, the academies took in 40 boys between them, 25 in football and 15 in cricket.

Mr Loughran said: “The lads in the academy have scored 23 goals in three games, so it’s looking like being really successful.

“We are going to create another 30 places for the boys, but we are also keen to look at a girls’ academy next year.

“The cricket academy has 15 places and while we won’t see their progress until the cricket season starts next year, we will be taking in another 15.”

Mr Loughran said the academy had attracted boys from outside Blackburn with Darwen, some coming from as far away as Leeds and Preston to study in Darwen.

He said: “By next year we will have created 100 places in the sixth form through the sports academies.

“And we are not just providing opportunities for local people as we are getting people from outside the borough. It is all helping to increase footfall into the town.

“We expect with these developments the sixth form will be at capacity for the first time next year, and we could look to expand it in the future.”

The academies employ coaches with nationally recognised qualifications and will be looking to form partnerships with local clubs.

Mr Loughran said trials for all the sports clubs will begin in early 2013 and will be advertised locally.

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