Ashton school pupils get their Literacy Kicks

SCHOOL pupils across Ashton-under-Lyne have been sharpening their pencils and living life as journalists in valuable lessons.

More than 250 children at four schools in the area – Hurst Knoll Primary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St Christopher’s RC Primary and Great Ashton Academy – have been completing six-week sports reporting courses through Literacy Kicks.

Jointly funded by Ashton United in the Community, Smallshaw Hurst Children’s Community and Save the Children UK, the programme sees them become journalists and write reports on a wide range of sporting events, personalities and historical moments.

Literacy Kicks founder Gareth Walker with his sports reporter of the week at Hurst Knoll Primary School

Developed alongside experienced teachers and implemented with a grant from The Trident Foundation, a charitable foundation funded by Pitching In, the League sponsors of the Northern Premier League, each lesson includes a writing assignment that sees students complete match reports, profile features or opinion pieces.

It has seen pupils involved in match reporting on England’s current Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, write profiles of an iconic Paralympics star and an opinion piece on whether sports stars should use their influence to become involved in politics.

Also included is writing an article on the history of women’s football in England – from being banned to the success of the Lionesses – and a live blogging session on an action-packed sporting event.

Five of the six lessons are writing exercises, with the other sees students take on the role of a newspaper sub editor, correcting spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes.

Established by Gareth Walker, a journalist with 20 years of experience covering sport for national newspapers, Literacy Kicks takes students inside the exciting world of sports journalism.

Established by Gareth Walker, a journalist with 20 years of experience covering sport for national newspapers, Literacy Kicks takes students inside the exciting world of sports journalism.

Lessons include elements of research, note-taking, editing, working under pressure and post-event interviews with the key figures involved.

Lydia Wright of Save the Children said: “The Smallshaw Hurst Children’s Community are very pleased to be able to support the work of Literacy Kicks.

“We want all children to be the best versions of themselves, getting the children excited about reading and writing in different forms helps them achieve that.”

Steve Hobson, project manager for Ashton United in the Community added: “Literacy Kicks has opened the eyes of local children the opportunities available to them within the sports industry.

“The programme has also introduced them to Ashton United, their local non-league football club, a place where they are encouraged to safely further their interests in sports journalism.

“Ashton United is delighted with the success of the programme and have recommended it to many other clubs.”

Gareth Walker of Literacy Kicks continued: “It has been a really positive experience working with Ashton United in the Community, the Smallshaw Hurst Children’s Community and Save the Children in Tameside.

“Literacy Kicks aims to use sport to engage children in reading and writing, by taking them inside the exciting world of sports journalism, and we’ve certainly seen that across all of the four schools in the area.

“The feedback from schools and children has been overwhelmingly positive and it’s been a fantastic project for us to be involved in.”

 

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