Playing football in Italy and visiting Venice were highlights of a memorable trip for pupils from St Philip Howard Catholic Voluntary in Glossop.

Sixty boys and girls in Years 8,9 and 10, along with six members of staff, spent four nights in Italy where they took part in football coaching sessions and matches as well as seeing the sights.

The group was based at the Bella Italia Village in Pineta, one of the best sports resorts for school trips.

The international standard facilities include three football centres, an indoor stadium, an Olympic swimming pool, a water park and a beach.

As well as training and playing football, the group also spent a morning in Venice, travelling by water taxi to St Mark’s Square and enjoying some free time.

The trip was organised by Leanne Urquhart, pastoral manager at St Philip Howard, and PE teacher Derron Clarke, who said that the trip had been an incredible experience for the students.

Leanne said: “We’ve had some amazing feedback from parents of the students who went on the trip, I’ve had nothing but positive comments from them. This is the first trip I have organised and it went really well. The students were great but I would also like to thank the staff who were brilliant.

“Priority was given to anyone that played football for school or was affiliated to a football team outside of school. We were overwhelmed with the response as we were originally planning on taking 40 children but had to increase that to 60 because of the amount of interest in it.

“It was also about much more than football, it was great to see the students grow in confidence and become more independent as it wasn’t like going away with their parents, they had to do things for themselves. As it was a coach trip they also saw some incredible sights travelling through Switzerland and past Lake Como, they now have some incredible memories to look back on. I would definitely like to run another trip next year and I’m already looking into it.”

Leanne said she wanted to thank Glossop Round Table who gifted £500 to the school to buy hoodies for the trip.

Student Arabella Berry said: “I don’t play football in school but I train with Glossop North End. The opportunity came up to go on this trip and I thought it would be fun. I really enjoyed it, there was lots of great things to do.”

Student Joe Kidd said: “I don’t really play football out of school but I really wanted to go abroad. It was exciting to play football as well though. The best thing about the trip was that we never really stopped, we were always doing something, and we were also given a bit of freedom too.”

Student Adam Turton said: “I liked playing football with my friends and at school I write match reports for the team. I liked playing in the games in Italy, they were very competitive.”

Student Fionn Murphy said: “I like football and a lot of my friends were going on the trip so I really wanted to go. Going to Venice was fun and I liked exploring and seeing the sights. The football matches were tough and competitive. It was definitely a trip that I will always remember.”

Headteacher Mike Kays said: “I would like to thank all of the staff for the time they gave up during the Easter holidays to enable the pupils to have such an unforgettable experience. Since the return we have had a letter from the managing director who was in the resort at time, saying how much of a pleasure it was to spend time with our pupils and that the behaviour they showed at all times was exceptional.”