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'Baywatch' academy surfs up beach lessons

LIFE is to become a beach for Cornwall sixth-formers who have signed up for the UK's first school-based surf academy.

From September, 15 students will follow a two-year course, leading to a qualification equivalent to two A-levels, designed to equip them for a career in the county's surfing industry.

The academy, based at Treviglas community college in Newquay, will teach everything from surfing technique and lifeguard skills to human resource management and customer care. Lessons will take place in the school, at a local beach complex or in the sea.

All students will take an advanced vocational certificate in education in leisure and recreation, and Treviglas is in discussion with a West Country university to allow the course to count towards a surf science degree.

Gary Durbin, Treviglas business and enterprise manager, said the project had already attracted interest from students as far away as Ipswich. Emma Hill, doing A-levels at Wadebridge sixth-form college, close to Newquay, will be one of the academy's first students.

"I have been a keen surfer since I was about nine. I saw this course on the internet and changed my plans. I was going to university to study fashion, but now I plan to go later and do surfing."

Although the programme will initially be aimed at sixth-formers, one of the first 15 students is 30 and two more are in their twenties.

Mr Durbin said courses will eventually be offered to GCSE-age pupils.

"There are a lot of people in Newquay who are interested in surfing but who would not normally go on to further or higher education.

"The course is going to be hard work - anyone who thinks it will be an easy option need only look at the academic content."

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