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Sir Bobby and Lady Norma Charlton launch partner school in Moss Side

Sir Bobby and Lady Norma Charlton visited Manchester Academy today to launch an official partnership with Manchester United Foundation.

The Moss Side school is one of the latest additions to the Foundation’s partner schools programme which bases a full-time coach at Academy to work with pupils, local primary schools and within the community to build lasting relationships and reputations.

The couple met with staff and pupils before taking a tour of the school and dropping in on a football session, in which, much to the delight of student’s around him,  the United legend stepped up to take a penalty himself.

Year 10 student, Amal, is part of the school’s debate team  who were tasked with hosting a presentation on Sir Bobby’s achievements and gifted Lady Norma with flowers for the special occasion. She said, “I didn’t know a lot about Sir Bobby before today, just that he had a record at United and he was a big player there. But after presenting to him today I feel like he has fulfilled his life, he’s the type of person that can look back on his life and be proud, and I want to be like that.”

During the visit they also stopped by a number of classrooms, including an induction unit of pupils who are new arrivals to the school from overseas and various war zones. The school now boasts 65 nationalities and pupils couldn’t wait to put their hand up and tell Sir Bobby and Lady Norma which country they had come from including Libya, Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia.

During his formal speech to the Academy, it was clear to see Sir Bobby was struck by the ethos of the school, focusing on integration and giving their students the tools to excel  “After meeting the children and staff here today and seeing the work that is being done and how important it is it makes me feel quite humble.  It also makes me appreciate the work that the Foundation does in schools throughout Greater Manchester”.

Foundation coach Luke Ross is based full time at the Academy and explained how the visit would impact the school, “Today has been mind-blowing. Who wakes up as a student and envisages Sir Bobby popping into your lesson?”

He added, “The impact it’s had and will have is just unmeasurable really, not just for the students but the staff aswell, it’s something they’ll take with them for years to come.”

Headteacher Andrew Griffin was thrilled that his students were able to experience such a once in a lifetime opportunity and expressed his gratitude at the work the Foundation does within the Moss Side community, “A special moment for me has been the way Sir Bobby interacted with the children. In the Academy we have students from all over the world, we have international new arrivals, children from war zones, and it was just great for him to speak to them and share his memories of Manchester with them. He said it is a special city to him, and we hope it will be to them - a place they can embrace opportunities.”

He concluded, “The Foundation impacts on the whole community not just on the school; we’re working in a challenging area of Manchester and it’s great that we can provide opportunities in sport, healthy lifestyles and leadership.”