On Friday June 23, the Gillingham FC Community Trust Independent School invited Millwall Community Trust's Alternative Provision to Kent for a friendly football fixture.
The Gills students had previously travelled to south-east London to play the Millwall pupils, with the aim of the fixtures being to allow the young students a chance to engage and thrive in a positive competitive atmosphere, developing their skills in teamwork and commitment.
This time it was the Gills' turn to host, and they invited Millwall to Star Meadow Sports Club for a lively replay. Both teams showed great team spirit and professionalism during the game. The Gills students showed a real development in skill too, and the game was closely contested, with Millwall finishing as eventual winners 7-5.
Speaking about the match, PE Tutor Aaron Riches said: "Leading up to the day the boys worked hard with some regular training sessions, and showed great determination and a desire to play.
"After going 5-0 down in the first twenty minutes I was worried about their heads dropping but after a quick reshuffle the boys showed great courage and got two quick goals before half-time. During half-time there was a good team talk and the boys showed great communication.
"As the second half started the boys looked bright and quickly reduced the deficit, and their confidence was high with some great play and great goals. The game could have gone either way, and if we took our chances at 6-5 we could have got more from the game but it wasn't to be.
"The boys did themselves, the school, and everyone at the Trust proud as they ended the match with such dignity, and looked more like men out there after the final whistle."
Assistant Head of School Paolo Bottiglieri added: "I am very pleased with everyone's efforts – from the students who played to the students who watched, and even our staff who were involved. The team showed great determination to get back into the game and coming so close. Every player gave 110% and that's all their tutor and the school could've asked for."
Thank you to Millwall Community Trust for helping to organise the fixture; we hope there will be more matches again soon!
Our Community Trust Independent School was founded in 2015 to provide a unique specialist educational centre for local students who experience significant barriers to learning, or cannot access mainstream education due to permanent exclusion or other reasons.
The school encourages educational achievement and intellectual moral development regardless of students' capabilities and history, priding itself on a personalised approach, and providing a safe environment for students to learn and develop.
If you would like to find out more about our Community Trust Independent School, contact the Trust on 01634 623420.