QPR and ex-England football star Jermaine Jenas has launched a training programme at Burlington Danes Academy in White City.
The former Newcastle and Spurs midfielder spoke to a group of students on the school’s all-weather sports pitch this morning, ahead of their first hour-long class with a QPR coach. Sporting a leg brace – evidence of a serious knee injury in April – Jenas watched the session from the sidelines.
The scheme will run for the rest of the summer term and is aimed at improving students’ academic performance as well as their football skills. Some of those involved have had issues with exclusion and attendance.
“I’m really pleased to be working with the staff and pupils at Burlington Danes. All of us at QPR have a great relationship with the school and are proud to support our local schoolchildren,” said Jenas, who set up a supply teaching agency in his hometown of Nottingham.
The company, Aquinas Education, has expanded to support schools across London and is a product of the star’s passion for improving young people’s learning.
"Education is very important to me,” he said. “When I was growing up I always enjoyed school and wanted to do well in my exams. I know the importance education has on a child and how sometimes ambition and aspirations within children are not always achieved. Aquinas and I have the opportunity to show children that they can achieve and do well through education, and that is our main aim."
Jenas hopes that by offering students the chance to attend the course every week, he can boost their interest school. He and the QPR coaches will have full access to the participants’ report cards and will collaborate with teachers to instil a positive attitude towards education.
Leon Wilson, vice principal at Burlington Danes Academy, said: “We are pleased to be working with Aquinas Education and are looking forward to a successful summer term. At Burlington Danes we are proud of all of our students and are keen to recognise achievement, be this academic or personal.
“The group of students that Jermaine will be working with have shown their calibre and strength by committing to the course and we are looking forward to watching them flourish.”