Nearly 130 pupils from Newmarket Academy took part in a week of activities linked the town’s world-famous thoroughbred racing and breeding industries and its unique history and heritage.
Now in its fourth year, Dubai Future Champions’ Education Week ended on Friday, the first day of Dubai Future Champions’ Festival at the Rowley Mile racecourse.
The programme aims not only to educate youngsters about their town, but also to raise the employment aspirations and expectations of the students as well as introducing them to the variety of employment opportunities offered by the racing industry.
The five-day initiative is backed by Sheikh Mohammed, the vice president and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and Newmarket Racecourses.
The education programme is structured around the racing industry and throughout the week students took part in racing-related tasks and lessons incorporating topics such as science, geography, history, art, fitness, nutrition and photography.
This week-long programme also saw pupils complete a number of educational activities during visits to Newmarket-based industry stakeholders including Newmarket Racecourses, Tattersalls, Rossdales equine hospital, the British Racing School and the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art where they started their programme, learning about the rich history and heritage of horseracing with a little help from King Charles II, played by Stuart history expert John Sutton.
On Tuesday, pupils visited the British Racing School and Rossdales where science is the main focus, including an insight into the work of one of the leading equine vets in the world as well as a nutrition workshop.
Day three was all about the life of a racehorse and included a trip to Sheikh Mohammed’s Dalham Hall Stud where students were introduced to leading stallion Dubawi and to bloodstock auctioneers Tattersalls, where they were able to watch the action at the yearling sales.
Back at school there was time for the children to reflect on their activities and interpret what they have learned creatively through writing, music and art workshops.
The week concluded with a trip to the Rowley Mile Racecourse so everyone could experience all the excitement of a big race day.
A group of yougsters and Academy principal Nick Froy were interviewed on national televison and explained just how beneficial the week of activities had been. The pupils included Harry Davies, whose mother Angela Shea is head girl for town trainer Hugo Palmer. Harry competes regularly in pony racing events and told ITV Racing watchers he wanted to be a jockey.
“Dubai Future Champions Education Week provides Newmarket Academy students with a unique opportunity to further their learning alongside exploring and better understanding their immediate surroundings,” said Newmarket mayor Cllr Andy Drummind.
“With the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project in full swing, the benefits of utilising learning through engagement are stronger than ever.
“The improved exam results from the academy this year and the Ofsted judgement improvement as well really is something that all of Newmarket can be proud of.
“The contribution made by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been extremely generous and strongly represents His Highness’s on-going commitment to Newmarket and the local community, as well as the younger generations who continue to drive the town forward.
“I look forward to many more successful years of these programmes and would like to acknowledge all stakeholders involved, as without them, these types of initiatives wouldn’t exist.”