Pupils learn the lesson in how to tackle the three Rs

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The Independent Online

A project that teaches inner-city children about football has produced dramatic improvements in the three Rs, unpublished research reveals.

A project that teaches inner-city children about football has produced dramatic improvements in the three Rs, unpublished research reveals.

Under the programme, 40,000 pupils aged between eight and 14 have been schooled in writing, reading and mathematics at after-school centres in the grounds of leading football clubs.

English exercises are based on defining such phrases as "game of two halves", "man on" and "early bath" and composing match reports. Maths exercises include working out the cost of attending matches and the distance to goal.

Eighty-three football, rugby, cricket, basketball, gymnastics and hockey teams have signed up for the project, including Manchester United, Liverpool, West Ham, Spurs and Leeds – all Premiership sides.

An official assessment of the scheme, called "Playing for Success", has found that both boys and girls made significant strides in their schoolwork. The National Foundation for Educational Research, which conducted the study, estimated that, on average, primary pupils jumped ahead 18 months in maths and 15 months in English while secondary-age children gained 15 months' advantage in maths and picked up valuable computer skills.

The foundation said: "The initiative benefited all pupils, regardless of gender, deprivation, ethnicity, their fluency in English or special needs."

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