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Playing For Success

Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy - British Council
 This article was generously provided to ClubFootball by the British Council, which operates in China as the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy.


Playing For Success is an educational scheme at over 40 English Premiership and Football League clubs that uses football to help kids with their education. We've looked at how it works at Manchester City FC.
Imagine following in the footsteps of your football heroes - through the tunnel and out on to the pitch. Imagine the excitement and inspiration of working where your heroes work.
What must it feel like to share in the successful atmosphere of your favourite club and to have their support with your learning?
Ask Emma because she could tell you. Emma attends the Playing for Success scheme at Manchester City Football Club. As part of this scheme Emma learns about football but more importantly brushes up on her Geography, History, Information Technology and Mathematics.
Follow the links on the left hand side to hear more about the scheme from the key people involved at Manchester City FC, and come back in a few weeks to try out some sample exercises from the scheme.
Centre Manager
Name: Lois Gyves
Job: Study Centre Manager
Lois is an experienced primary school teacher who has worked on a number of projects as well as having extensive practice in schools.
We talked to her about why she thinks the scheme is a success.
Why teach numeracy, literacy and IT skills at a football club?
"The prospect of learning at a football club entices and excites the pupils due to the phenomenal impact of football. It also helps challenge their perceptions of learning which is usually perceived as centred around the comparatively reserved confines of school.
Therefore attending study sessions at a football club, with our high-tech resources, regardless of whether or not the pupils are football fans, because it extends their experiences of learning, just by virtue of the location."
But does it work?
"The benefits to the pupils who attend have been monitored and measured with literacy and numeracy test results showing that students are really progressing because of the scheme. This is very pleasing for me as a teacher.
However, there are much more inspirational results that are more difficult to measure. These results are the increased confidence, the creativity, the willingness to learn and the hunger to do better, to succeed, that Playing for Success seems to breathe into the pupils.
I think this is due to the scheme's ethos of empowering the young pupils. Responding to their needs and interests, raising their self-confidence by showing respect and encouraging individuality.
The football club hooks the pupils in and projects a message that learning new skills can be done through many subjects, but they develop best in those which interest and inspire the learner."
The Football Coach
Name: Joe Royle
Job: Manager
Nationality: British
Joe Royle, Manager of Manchester City, initially attended one presentation at the Study Centre. Since then he has been a regular visitor at the study support centre, continually dropping in to give support to the kids and staff alike.
Joe takes pleasure in being connected to the Playing for Success scheme.
"I have enjoyed the contact with young people who have been stimulated in their learning by the association with football. I have visited the study centre a number of times and seen the good work being done."
These sentiments are echoed in football clubs up and down the country, where club managers see helping to inspire young people with their education as an important part of running a successful football club.
The Footballer
Name: Ian Bishop
Job: Footballer
Nationality: British
Age: 35
Ian Bishop is one of the players who regularly attends the award presentations to the kids and is constantly dropping into the study centre to work with the kids.
Ian's recently added writing skills to his midfield prowess, with his interest in education leading him to become the author of a number of children's books.
Ian has played for Manchester City and for West Ham United Football Clubs. He enjoys his football and clearly enjoys being involved with Playing for Success too:
"I have enjoyed helping out both at the study centre and in some of the schools taking part in the initiative. Its great to see football having such a positive effect in education."
The Pupil
Name: Emma
Job: Pupil
Age: 13
Supports: Manchester City
Favourite Player: Alf Inge Haaland
Emma is currently working on a study of the nationality of some of her favourite players and is using the Internet to identify some lesser-known countries. As she works, she finds that there are interesting features of countries, which she can explore at her own pace and with the help of Centre staff.
We asked her what it was like to be playing for success.
How and when did you get involved with Playing for Success?
"I've been coming for seven weeks now. It's great. I look forward to coming. We had an assembly in school and me and some of my friends volunteered to attend the centre. At the assembly the teacher from the study centre told us all about what we would do."
What have you enjoyed most and what have you learnt?
"I have enjoyed making a file about Alfie (Alf Inge Haaland), my favourite player now. I have seen him play because we were given some tickets for a game and I took my dad. I know I have got better at using the computer and I can use the Internet now. I will be very sorry to leave the centre but I am looking forward to the presentation because it will be Alfie who presents the awards to us all and I want to meet him."
Clearly Emma, like a lot of other young people, gets a lot out of attending the Playing for Success study centre. The scheme has a lot to offer in building confidence, improving numeracy, literacy and IT skills, and in giving young people a taste of success.


May 2001

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