Not all kids find education engaging; Fact. During my time teaching in FE I met many young people who had slipped through the net. Been totally disengaged in education. It’s heartbreaking when you have a 16-year-old can barely write of do a simple calculation.
And it happens again and again. Teaching creative skills meant working with my students to find what made them tick. If you can find this your job is a whole lot easier.
Kids have so many barriers to learning these days; it may be an educational need, emotional need or purely something a simple as a learning style. It makes life hard for teachers. A great teacher knows how to engage and motivate. And is able to use resources around them, be it people, music, sport make every learning journey a great one.
We are all different, and that is what is so wonderful about the human race, we aren’t clones we are unique and individual and need to be treated as such.
Last week I had the pleasure of seeing this very theory in action when I visited St Stephen’s CofE Primary School in Burnley with Premier League Primary Stars and Burnley F.C in the community.
Premier League Primary Stars is a countrywide initiative that aims to support schools in reaching this very goal.
Football is a huge deal in our home with Chris and the boys all being season ticket holders at Burnley F.C. Everything in life including our holidays are planned around the fixtures list. So I understand the impact the sport has on young people.
When Jack was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes it was sport, particularly football that motivated and got him through. It is football that will keep him fit and ensure his circulation is tip-top to prevent long-term problems. That has given me a whole new respect for the sport, when you have a child with a health issue you look for alternatives to motivate them and football was it for Jack and still is.
It is exactly the same logic in educational terms, which Premier League Primary Stars understands and embraces.
They have compiled a full schedule of support and resources that schools can access online or via local Premiership Club community support.
I spend some time chatting to the team from Burnley FC in The Community and their passion for the project just shone through. Their relationship with St Stephen’s was incredible. The team has been working alongside year 6 teacher Jonathan for 2 years now to provide support to the school and inspire its students to reach their full potential.
And it’s not all about football, the scheme uses all medias of sport to reach the pupils, to ensure the programme is fun and inclusive. Yet integrates core values such as math’s and literacy skills. It has been proven that if you can reach a student through something they love you can build on learning skills and motivation. And it works; you can see that in the community team led sessions, which focuses on fun, integrating social skills such a sportsmanship and building self-esteem.
During the session I witnessed the children tackling math’s problems in the games without even thinking about it. Everybody was engaged and had his or her own role, so all needs were met. As a teacher it was inspirational to watch. As a parent it was moving.
For a treat Matt Lowton (for you non football folk, Matt is a Burnley F.C first team player) was visiting the children and taking part in the session. And call me soppy but the joy on the children’s faces was priceless. Having 2 football-obsessed kids of my own I know how much this meant to them.
After the session I got a chance to sit with Matt and chat about how he felt about the scheme. Being a parent himself he was fully in support of anything that promoted education but also inspired future stars. Whether it be in football or other vocations. Matt told us how he was football mad at School and spent every break playing football. And or course ruining his school shoes. Something I know only to well, being the buyer of many pairs of school shoes per year. Matt believed if you could reach children through sport then that could only be a wonderful thing.
When you look at my pictures, look at the faces of those children meeting their football hero. Engaging with the community team. I took so many photos but as I went throughout them it was the pictures that highlighted the sheer joy this initiative brings that shone. Because in my book anything that brings this much joy and enforces education has got to be a good thing.
Check out how you can bring Premier League Primary Stars into your local school.