*This video has been provided by BBC Look North and is a report by Mark Tulip
THORP ACADEMY has officially launched an exciting sports scholarship programme for students.
The Ryton-based secondary school and sixth form college is building on its finest ever GCSE results in 2016 by heading into a brand new era in style.
The first batch of scholars on the Elite Performer Programme have already been rolled out and will receive a range of benefits after being identified as possessing fantastic sporting potential.
European Tour golfer Graeme Storm, who recently won the South Africa Open, and Olympic medalist swimmer Nick Gillingham will provide expert sessions to students in their specific sport.
Former Sunderland footballers Gary Bennett, Julio Arca and Kieron Brady will lead coaching sessions with the youngsters along with ex-Middlesbrough defender Dean Gordon.
There will also be strong links to Durham County Cricket Club and Durham County Rugby Union and a launch night took place at Thorp Academy on March 8.
Rugby player Jake Boyle, who is heading over to Newcastle Falcons after impressive spells at county and club level, said: "it's great to be involved in and has boosted our confidence as individuals.
"I'm hoping to progress both academically and in sport while I am on the scheme. It will really bring us all on as individuals, it's very exciting."
More scholars will be added to the scheme in the months ahead, with current Year 6s invited to apply for a place on the scheme.
Thorp's fantastic EPP has been launched ahead of Septembers fresh intake, when students can celebrate moving into a new build with state-of-the-art facilities by aiming to excel in a their specialised sport.
Danny Evans, the coordinator of the Elite Performer Programme at Thorp, said: The new sports scholarship programme is an exciting opportunity for students to advance their sporting achievements while ensuring they reach their maximum academic potential.
We want the initial group of scholars to inspire others to push on to get on to the EPP themselves. It is important that everyone sees a pathway to progress, develop and inspire on a fantastic new scheme at Thorp Academy.
To apply and for further details on the Elite Performer Programme at Thorp Academy please contact [email protected]
Click the image to download an application form which can be filled in and emailed to [email protected] or alternatively printed, filled in and posted to:
Mr Danny Evans
Director of Elite Performer Programme