A SCHOOL in the top flight of education is helping to shape the life of the next generation of footballers at the current Premier League leaders.

Representatives of Manchester City Football Club have visited Ripon Grammar School, which is rated as outstanding by Ofsted, to help model the youth academy and first team training facility it aims to complete before the 2014/15 season.

Alongside 16 pitches and a 7,000 seater stadium in Manchester, there will be boarding accommodation for around 40 young players, who will combine living, training and playing at the academy and attending St Bede’s College, Manchester for their education.

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The Department for Education recommended the club use the North Yorkshire school to shape their plans as it is the only state boarding school in Yorkshire and the second highest performing of all state secondary schools in Yorkshire and the North East, based on 2013 A-level results.

Des Coffey, education and welfare consultant to Manchester City, said: “We are trying to do as much research as possible in order to provide the very best opportunities for our boys and young men both in their education and in their football.

“We came to Ripon with an open mind, but also with lots of questions.”

Manchester City and college officials met with Marita Murray, deputy headteacher and head of boarding at the school, and were taken on a tour of its boarding houses for girls and boys by students.

The boarders were asked about their daily routine, social activities and trips out, the disciplinary structure and their relationship with house parents and teachers, as well as bedtimes, laundry, mobile phone use and having friends to visit.

Nic Scott, head of safeguarding and child protection at the football club, said: “It’s been great to talk to the students, who were candid and positive about their experience here.

“Ripon is a very happy ship, and if we can create some of that by finding out how they’ve achieved it it’s very useful to us.”

The school’s headmaster Martin Pearman said: “We were delighted to help Manchester City see boarding in action, to offer them the benefit of our experience and for our boarders to share their views.

“Like Ripon Grammar School, the club’s young people will come from all over the country and the world.

“The key is achieving the right balance in providing a safe and caring home within an educational environment.”