Football schools 'improve three Rs'

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The Independent Online

Pupils who do their homework at centres supported by Premiership football teams are forging ahead in the three Rs.

Pupils who do their homework at centres supported by Premiership football teams are forging ahead in the three Rs.

The first study into their efficacy, by the National Foundation for Educational Research, found that primary school children who attended the after-school clubs made six months more progress in reading than would have been expected and secondary pupils made eight months more.

Numeracy also improved, with advances of four months more than expected for primary children and two months for the older pupils.

So far, 20,000 children - girls as well as boys - have attended out-of-school clubs at 35 centres based in 13 Premier League and 22 Division One football clubs as part of the Government's Playing for Success programme, also funded by clubs and business.

Yesterday, Jacqui Smith, an Education minister, announced that 25 more clubs from the top two divisions, including Tottenham Hotspur and Ipswich Town, and from other sports such as rugby, cricket, ice hockey and basketball, were joining the programme.

She said Manchester United had given educational computer software to a boy who had bone cancer, so that he did not fall too far behind at home. Manchester City and Middlesbrough have persuaded parents to go along and learnwith their children.

Ms Smith said: "Study support centres at football grounds are helping improve the three Rs as well as offering superb experience in information technology, music and the creative arts and sport."

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