Worlds are colliding after sporting legends team up with young people to boost education.
Arsenal Football Club played host to education secretary Justine Greening yesterday to celebrate the launch of a joint reading initiative between Arsenal in the Community and the University College London’s Institute of Education (IOE.)
The scheme aims to improve literacy performance in schools by providing young people in London with specialist reading programmes through Arsenal’s Double Club initiative and the IOE’s Reading Recovery intervention - a programme which supports five and six-year-olds who struggle with literacy.
To mark the launch of the partnership, Ms Greening enjoyed a tour of the Emirates Stadium before listening to a group of five to seven-year-old children read.
She said: “It is brilliant to see literacy and sporting activities working together today with the Reading Recovery Read Aloud initiative. I loved reading as a child, and it is really important that every child can read well.
“Sport is also great for helping children develop team-working skills, communication skills and the ability to problem-solve, which in turn make a big difference to young people being able to reach their goals.”
Arsenal’s Double Club is an educational scheme that aims to make learning more engaging by using football as a hook.
Manager of Arsenal’s Double Club Jack McNicholl said: “This partnership will help us reach more children in the area, and the continue to support them with their literacy development in an engaging way. We work with more than 30 local schools on a weekly basis and this is fantastic opportunity to team up with UCL and the IOE to help even more children.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City Women’s Football Club is embarking on a project of its own to encourage young people to take up foreign languages.
More than 3000 primary and secondary schools across the North West are taking part in Manchester Metropolitan University’s The Language League: Kick Off - a new initiative to help students develop skills in French, German, Arabic or Spanish.
The programme aims to inspire learning through the “beautiful game”, with help from players from Manchester City Women’s FC.
Midfielder Tessel Middag, from Holland, who speaks Dutch, English and can understand German, said: “Being able to speak different languages is a wonderful skill which can help you to understand and interact with more people.
“My teammates come from all over the world and lots of languages are represented in our dressing room. Being able to communicate with each other helps us to discuss tactics, understand formations and to get to know each other.”
Midfielder Kosovare Asllani, from Sweden, speaks Swedish, English, Albanian, and previously learned German and French.
“Languages can help you to visit other countries and make new friends. The Language League is a brilliant scheme to bring learning to life through football.”