You may have spotted a new TV advert pop up during some prime time TV over the last few days. Every time I hear it it makes me prick my ears up.
Our most ambitious community project to date – #PLPrimaryStars – is aiming to inspire the next generation…
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 31, 2017
Try, try, try again.
The Premier League have never advertised on TV before, let’s face it – they don’t really need to do they? We all know who they are and what they do.
But this is different.
This isn’t about football. This is about our children. About their education. About inspiring our future generations.
The Premier League have launched a new project called Primary Stars and believe me when I say they are putting their heart and soul into this (and a whole lot of money). When we asked Premier League Executive Chairman, Richard Scudamore why they were doing this he replied ‘because we can’. And he’s right isn’t he? The Premier League commands a lot of attention and an enormous amount of respect on an international level and if they can use this influence for the good of our children then it’s a winner isn’t it?
Premier League Primary Stars is designed to use the appeal of the Premier League and professional football clubs to capture the attention of children and inspire them to learn, be active and develop important life skills. The Primary Stars programme isn’t just about sport. In fact it provides free downloadable teaching materials for English and Maths as well as PSHE and PE, there’s even resources for assemblies.
The Premier League Primary Stars programme has been developed in partnership with primary school teachers and subject experts to create inspirational National Curriculum-linked resources. As a teacher the idea of being able to dip in and out of the Primary Stars programme at will is really appealing! They’re not suggesting that you give your entire school a football-obsessed focus, more that you can pick and choose the bits you need to suit your class. Let’s face it, not every child in your class will love football but plenty of them will. And if you can enthuse those children about maths with the help of some footballs stats or turn around a reluctant reader with the right book then why wouldn’t you?
At the Premier League Primary Stars launch last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Gabby Logan, Cressida Cowell (author of ‘How to Train your Dragon’, Rachel Riley (mathematical genius of Countdown fame), Dan Freedman (author of ‘Jaime Johnson’ series) who chatted enthusiastically about the Primary Stars programme and their own involvement in this project.
There’s there’s no such thing as a kid who can’t be excited about reading, they just haven’t found the right book yet.
Cressida spoke passionately about the need to get our children reading for pleasure. She explained that there’s a lot of competition for their attention and so many things are easier than reading – sitting down in front of a film, playing video games – but that if we can relate books to film or football we might just catch their attention. Cressida has been heavily involved in the selection of books which go into the Premier League Primary Stars “book boxes” which are to be given to over 500 schools for FREE when they register with the programme.
Rachel’s love of maths was clear when she spoke of the need to make maths cool. Maths can be scary and people panic but we need to stop it being ok to be rubbish at maths. We want our children to be proud of being good at maths. As a primary school teacher myself I know how important it is to give maths context. How many times do you remember thinking “Why the hell am I learning this? When am I ever going to need it in real life?”. Rachel spoke of the “real life word problems” which are rarely “real life” and how football can tap into this – there’s so much maths to be found in football from league tables to accuracy ratios and time management.
Local deputy head, Henry Commander also shared his experience of working with the Premier League Primary Stars resources in his own classroom and described the way that seeing a respected Premier League footballer on the smart-board made the kids sit up and take notice. It didn’t matter that they were saying exactly the same thing as Mr Commander himself, suddenly it was cool and they wanted to listen. He explained the way the each Primary Stars resource begins with a video – which can be a great hook to get kids concentrating and interested – and that, in the pupils’ eyes the footballs stars give credibility to what is being taught.
The Premier League are going hard on this epic community programme and have set themselves the bold target of connecting with 10,000 schools in the next two years! If you want to help your school to access the free to download lesson plans, activities and video content then make sure you mention the programme to you child’s teacher as well as nominating them here. I’m pleased to say that I spoke to the Deputy Head at my own children’s school last Friday morning and by the time I went to pick Ben up that afternoon the school was already signed up!
*This is a collaborative post*