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Sir Bobby and Lady Norma Charlton launch latest partner school in Oldham

Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton and his wife Lady Norma recently visited Waterhead Academy in Oldham to launch an official partnership with Manchester United Foundation.

| by Haylee Blease

Waterhead is one of twenty partner schools to benefit from such a partnership through the Foundation's partner school programme, which bases full-time coaches in schools to work with pupils, local primary schools and within the community to build lasting relationships and reputations. 

The couple were treated to a special assembly which included a series of performances from students, and speeches from Headteacher James Haseldine and Foundation CEO John Shiels, before unveiling a commemorative plaque to celebrate the partnership. Sir Bobby was also keen to join in with a physical literacy session in the sports hall as two local primary schools, Hey With Zion and Hodge Clough, joined in the celebrations.

Year 11 student Jenson shared his thoughts on the day and said: "It's a real privilege to have Sir Bobby in the school, this doesn't really happen every day so it's something different for us.”

Fellow student Louise spoke of her pride at her schools partnership with the Foundation and added: "It's great for the young people here to be mentored by the Foundation and to really have a passion, driven through football, to do something great in life.”

Foundation coach Claire Harrop is based full-time within the school and explained the impact the visit will have: "There has been such a buzz about the school and the students and staff have just been on a real high, hopefully it will leave a lasting impression.”

She added: "The Foundation have certain objectives in the school, the main one at the minute being our work in the local primary schools along with mentoring Waterhead Academy students. We have a set group that we're really trying to help raise aspirations and help through school life, in the local community and at home too.”

Headteacher James Haseldine explained the importance linking with the Foundation: "It brings the brand and the power of Manchester United to the children of Oldham, we can reach the parts that education can't touch sometimes and that's lighting fires and inspiring children through visits such as this to see what's possible.”