Nathan Gorringe played for the Foundation’s Education Academy team last season and had been studying on the BTEC Sport course for three years. He found the academic environment difficult before he joined the programme but thrived in a more active setting at the Foundation’s Broadfield Stadium.
What is fulfilling about Nathan’s story is that he has found his pathway at the Foundation after its inclusion programme worked with him struggling in the school system.
He leaves the Foundation programme a changed person, committed and enjoying his platform. Like the school inclusion’s altruistic approach to bringing him under the Foundation’s wing he looks forward from his current studies to commit to helping people progress.
School was never for him - ‘It didn’t work out for me’ - the Foundation had given him a platform to begin his own pathway. As he moves on to his future career he takes with him some of the altruistic conscience that the Foundation afforded him when he was brought under its wing.
‘It all started off in year 11. It came towards my GCSEs time and I was slacking quite a lot, I would turn up to school
but I wouldn’t do anything. A new teacher came in and she was friends with Darren; he decided to set up a programme to
get kids to focus more in school so it would be a reward sort-of-thing. He got one of his coaches from Crawley Town to come
and do a training session with us every Thursday morning for 2 hours. Then it moved on to Darren coming to see me in person
and inviting me to a trial which led me to two trials with Crawley and then I got in.
Darren gave me a reason to actually do the work because I love playing football; I’ve been doing it since I was 5-6 and its all I know. I love playing the sport I love everything about it and it was like: “if you complete your work you turn up and you actually contribute to your lesson then we’ll give you time out of your lesson to play football for two hours” and I saw that as a reward and I took that opportunity.’
It’s clear that his energies are well suited to the sporting environment than a sometimes laboured academic one:
'I’ve never been a fan of school, I struggle with dyslexia so for people who don’t know: you just get distracted really easily and you don’t like sitting there doing paperwork - and that’s basically all that school was and that didn’t work out for me in that way.’
‘I think its a lot better here, I know a lot of people that go to regular colleges and it’s still like school. Whereas, coming here it’s like you’re a lot more free just being in the classroom with all the lads, we can still have a laugh but get on with our coursework - it’s a lot more chilled out and just so much better.’
The rewards of hard work are evident in the way the department works it in as part of the culture:
‘It led on to the same as what happened in year 11 when Darren set up the course, its the same thing - if I don’t get the coursework and assignments done I get match bans - which is a fair deal as they are putting in the hard work to educate me in that area so Ive got to be willing to put the effort in with that so then I can put the effort into games.
He explains the difference in himself since those GCSE days:
‘The difference from year 11 to now is: year 11 I wouldn’t turn up I would just let it brush by.
Whereas, now I’m more committed and this course has made me actually enjoy doing coursework,
enjoy learning new things - I would say it’s given me a lot more confidence.'
That confidence - and freedom - brought him a goal in the National Youth Football League title-winning game played the club’s Broadfield Stadium in front of his friends and family. The culmination of years of hard work in the Academy is evident not just with in-game goals but also in personal ones:
‘They’re done great things for me over the last 3 years of being on this course, they all encourage you and make you into a better person I can definitely tell in myself and my family members have seen a massive change in my personality and the way that I am now. And I thank all of the staff that have helped over the last 3 years for that, Holly Adam, Rob and everyone it’s a great course to be on.’
The efforts put in by all those at the Foundation, from Darren in school through to education tutors has rubbed off on Nathan and he has taken on the altruistic attitude of everyone involved:
‘In football I still want to go and play for teams at a high level but I am looking towards becoming a PT in the future. It’s more about helping others and people who struggle, for example - I’d like to help them out and support them through their journey and it would make me happy to see them go from the person they are to the person that they want to be and then, when they hit that goal, to say “I’ve done that” would just make me feel a lot happier.
[I’m] quite confident and I’m eager to help anyone I can, I won’t give up on them even if they’re not sure I will still push towards it and keep them going.’