SWINDON Town chairman Lee Power kicked about with Commonweal School pupils today in his first duty as the club's stand-in manager after Mark Cooper's exit over the weekend.

Yorkshireman Cooper, 46, who was sacked after Town's dismal 2-0 defeat at Millwall on Saturday afternoon, was due to appear at the County Ground with students from the Old Town school to launch a new initiative with the Swindon Town Football in the Community Trust.

But following his departure Power, who has temporarily taken charge of first-team affairs, turned out in his stead.

The new educational football programme will enable footie fans and wannabe sports stars at Commonweal Sixth Form to acquire football qualifications alongside their usual courses from September 2016.

Alongside a full range of A- level and vocational qualifications, with a curriculum tailored to the requirements of each student, pupils will have a chance to train, gain coaching qualifications, and compete against other professional football clubs from around the country. In addition students on the football programme will be able to access the pastoral support, enrichment activities and careers’ opportunities available to all students at Commonweal Sixth.

Keith Defter, headteacher of Commonweal, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to offer young people from across the region the opportunity to become a part of this very exciting programme which will offer the very best in football education alongside a wide and varied range of highly successful courses at our brand new sixth form centre.”

As well as the playing and training opportunities, students will also be able to engage in Coach Education Workshops, which potentially could give them the chance to take their FA Level 1 qualification. Students expressing a keen interest will be able to gain valuable work experience by supporting qualified Swindon Town Football Club coaching staff at school and soccer centres sessions.

Jon Holloway, STFC Community Trust Manager, said: “This is a wonderful partnership for us to be involved in, and we have had some very positive and productive meetings with Keith Defter and his staff at Commonweal. We are all focused on providing every student with the opportunity of having a positive two year period on the programme.

"In the talks we have had so far with Commonweal, it is clearly evident that we are engaging with an educational provider who is fully committed and dedicated in providing quality support for all of the students to succeed with their educational studies."

Further information at www.commonwealsixth.co.uk about an open day on Monday, November 2, or open evening on Wednesday, November 4, for parents and potential students.