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Wednesday, 19 September, 2001, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Football scores with pupils
Michael Owen
Liverpool is one of 38 clubs running study classes
Study classes attached to football clubs are making a positive impact on pupils' academic achievement, suggests research.

Since 1998, many football teams in England have set up classes where pupils receive extra lessons, in a project launched by the Department for Education.

And research into this Playing for Success project, which will involve 20,000 pupils a year, says that it has helped to raise standards in maths and English.

Rodin's Beckham
The thinker: football has inspired pupils to improve reading and maths

It has also found high levels of attendance at these after-school study clubs, with most participants attending at least 80% of classes.

The project, now involving 38 football teams, was intended to make learning more attractive to pupils who might be less enthusiastic about extra lessons in school.

It was hoped that some of the glamour and excitement of football might rub off onto these study schemes, which were aimed at pupils who had fallen behind in lessons.

And it was hoped that underachieving pupils, particularly boys, might be more motivated to attend lessons when it involved their favourite football team.

Among the big clubs taking part in the scheme are Manchester United, Arsenal, Leeds United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

The research, carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research, found improvements at both primary and secondary level in maths and English.

According to researchers, secondary pupils raised their reading ages by an average of six months and mental arithmetic scores by eight months.

"We know that the exciting world of football, as a background to learning, helps pupils keep up to speed in the key skills of literacy, numeracy and ICT," said the School Standards Minister Stephen Timms.

And he said he was pleased that Playing for Success had "hit its target group of pupils who are struggling".

See also:

18 Oct 00 | Education
Sport kick-starts learning
27 Jan 00 | Education
Football centres boost learning
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