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Notts County FITC launch Premier League Primary Stars: Reading Stars video

To celebrate World Book Day on 1 March, Notts County FC Football in the Community (FITC) have launched a brand new Premier League Primary Stars video with the main focus on their Reading Stars programme.

The 10-week course, delivered in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, is a reading intervention programme for targeted Year 5 or 6 pupils who are underachieving in reading or are not motivated to read.

Notts County FITC coaches use football-related resources and texts from the Premier League Primary Stars (PLPS) programme with the aim to engage as well as improve pupils’ reading attainment and their attitude towards reading.

In the current academic year 2018/19, FITC are working on PLPS with over 750 pupils in schools across Nottingham, including Whitemoor Academy, where the filming took place.

Year 6 pupils at Whitemoor
Year 6 pupils at Whitemoor
The Premier League Primary Stars programme is split equally between PE lessons and the classroom
The Premier League Primary Stars programme is split equally between PE lessons and the classroom

Louise Dewsbury, Leader of Wider Curriculum at Whitemoor Academy, said: “The Reading Stars programme has been really successful for our Year 6 boys because, although quite capable readers, some of them are sometimes more reluctant to read so we’ve used that programme to develop their passion and their interest about reading.”

“The pupils are always really excited whenever Football in the Community are in. They have a brilliant relationship with the coaches that come in, they see them as really good role-models so that’s made a massive difference to our pupils,” she added.

Josh Stevenson, Project Coordinator (FITC), said: “Through the Reading Stars sessions I have witnessed a great improvement in the children, both in their reading and communication skills but also their attitude towards others and learning. I feel through the interactive learning we do during our sessions and being able to relate our learning with sport and football in particular, the boys have shown they can stay focused when learning and have a better attitude towards their work. This has also been shown in their reading levels as they’ve made excellent progress in recent assessments.’

Q&A Whitemoor NCFC FITC
Q&A session with Notts County Players

Jo Toone, mother of a Year 6 Sports Ambassador at Whitemoor, also commented: “I think for children that do sometimes struggle to engage with school on an academic level – to have that to look forward to – encourages them to attend school and to focus and learn.”

She added: “[Mason] doesn’t talk about school a lot and there’s only certain people that he does talk about but he has spoken about them [FITC coaches] and in his words – they’re brilliant at what they do. They engage everybody, they make it fun, they join in. I think to have a different view from different sports coaches, other than his PE teachers, has given him a wider kind of understanding of what sport is all about.”

Notts County players also visited Whitemoor Academy on the day of filming. During the afternoon, the PL Reading Stars group had the opportunity to interview them and are currently using the information to create player profiles. Here’s what they had to say:

Notts County FC players (from left): Jonathan Forte, Noor Husin and Matty Virtue
Notts County FC players (from left): Jonathan Forte, Noor Husin and Matty Virtue

Jonathan Forte: “When I was at school and got introduced to a footballer – it was great, you know, you wanted to be them, you were going to listen to whatever they had to say. So I think you’ve just got to send that message across that education is important; because, at the end of your career, there’s a big whole wide world where you’ve got to go and get a job so you’ll need good education for it.”

Noor Husin: “I think good education is vital in terms of discipline it teaches, which links well with children’s dreams to become a footballer. I think if you use sport, which a lot of kids do like, to get them into it, then once they enjoy that, they might look to do other things as well as sports.”

Matty Virtue: “When you’re a young kid, most of the time you do just want to play sport so if this can help them encourage those subjects [English, Maths, PSHE], then it’s all for the better.”

To find out more about the programme, CLICK HERE.