Football and Education Programme

Our highly successful Football and Education Programme, in partnership with VLUK, gives boys and girls the opportunity to combine their post-16 education, studying for a Level 2 in Sport or Level 3 Diploma or Extended Diploma in Sport (Sports Coaching & Development) with training and playing for Northampton Town U19 Shadow Squad as an FEP Scholar. Players that excel may get opportunities to train with the NTFC Youth Team, which can lead to opportunities to move onto a full Youth Team scholarship, following in the footsteps of Lewis Irwin and Scott Pollock. It may even lead to a professional contract, as it has done for Scott or most recently for Ethan Johnston, who progressed from the FEP onto a 1st team contract!

It is not just about the playing opportunities in professional football though. During the programme, there are also lots of work experience opportunities in the various departments of the only professional football club in Northamptonshire.

We can also support individual students with gaining additional qualifications, such as coaching and officiating qualifications. This can lead to multiple exit pathways that past students have gone on to, such as University, US Scholarships, Advanced Apprenticeships and employment.

We are currently recruiting players to join our next cohort. For any enquiries or to register your interest in joining the Programme, please email or




FAQ’s about the FEP

What qualifications will I get? Either a Level  2 Diploma in Sport, or a Level 3 Diploma or Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport (Coaching and Development from 2020), depending on GCSE grades achieved. If you do not gain a grade 4 GCSE at Maths and/or English, you will be expected to work towards taking functional skills qualifications or retaking the GCSE during your time on the Programme. There are also opportunities to get support with external qualifications in coaching and officiating if desired

What are the entry requirements? For the extended diploma, minimum 5 GCSE’s at grade 4-9, including Maths and English. For the diploma, 5 GCSE’s at grade 2-9 (Maths and English at grade 3). For Level 2, we consider your application on a case-by-case basis

Where is the Programme based? The education and some training is delivered at our St Crispins Campus. Some education sessions can take place at the PTS Academy Stadium. We are also very fortunate to have access to the fantastic new 3G astroturf pitch at The University of Northampton for training on a Monday and Tuesday. Gym and rehab sessions can take place at our partner gym, ‘The Gym Northampton’ on Weedon Road or in the club Gym at the PTS Academy Stadium. Home matches are played on the excellent 4G pitch at Moulton FC. Anyone who earns the opportunity to train with the Youth Team will do this at the NTFC training ground at Moulton College.

When does the Programme start? Pre-season training takes place from late July/ early August each year. Players coming on to the Programme are advised of the dates prior to pre-season beginning. The Programme then starts full time in the first week of September. A standard week runs Monday-Friday, Monday and Tuesday’s 9.30am-4.00pm, Wednesday’s game day times can vary depending on home or away fixture, Thursday and Friday 9.30am-3pm.

What League do we play in? The male FEP Scholars play in the National Football Youth League (NFYL), with games taking normally taking place on a Wednesday afternoon between September and May. Additional friendly fixtures are also arranged against other clubs. To find out more about the NFYL, visit their website at Our female scholars currently play in the EFL Futsal League with games and festivals at regular points between September and May, as well as additional friendly fixtures arranged during the season. From the 2020/21 season, the girls Programme will be 11-a-side, with regular league fixtures throughout the season.

Will this help me to become a professional footballer? Whilst the Programme does not guarantee anything, players that excel on the pitch to an exceptional level may get opportunities to train with the NTFC Youth Team. So far, 2 boys have completed a year on the Programme before moving on to a 2 year Youth Team scholarship, so it is possible to move up the player pathway. One of these, Scott Pollock, is now a signed 1st team player for the 2019/20 season, after making 5 appearances for the 1st team at the end of the 2018/19 season. There are also opportunities to be seen by other clubs, as we play fixtures in the National Football Youth League against other professional clubs and we have had boys that have had trial periods at other professional clubs whilst on the Programme. We are also expanding our contacts at non-league level and will help support individual players with taking their first steps into adult football at suitable levels. A number of our players have progressed into the non-league, semi-professional game!

Can I still play for my local club? Yes, players on the Programme are not signed to the club so you can continue to play football for your grassroots club at Under 18 and Senior Level. This would only change if the opportunity arose to move onto a full Youth Team Scholarship or on non-contract terms. However, the Programme is very demanding so it is important to find a balance between playing and training for other clubs and as part of the Programme to avoid burnout and overuse injuries. By the end of the 2 year programme, many of our students have played senior football for local non-league sides.

How do I apply? We are currently recruiting players to join our next cohort. To express an interest in joining and to find out about our trial process, please email  or or call 01604 581932