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Football, a very English game

Novus tutors have taken a different approach to engaging learners at HMYOI Feltham with functional skills, by designing a football course which focuses on developing their English skills.

Selected learners take part in football training sessions that develop their English reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. At the end of the course, titled ‘Football Changes Lives’, learners organise and attend a celebration event with their families to share in their success.

Funded through a partnership with Fulham Football Club, and in collaboration with the prison team from the gym, the project enables the prison education team to run two dedicated English sessions a week over an eight week course.

Each session gives the young men a quality English class with resources, all delivered through a focus on football and sports.

Learners undergo an initial assessment to establish their knowledge and skills in English, and then sessions are delivered at an appropriate level. Running the course in this way engages learners who would not normally choose to study functional skills, or have a negative attitude towards exams.

The feedback has been really positive, with almost all of the learners showing an interest in returning to education to complete their full qualifications.

Debbie Cousins, Functional Skills Team Leader said: “Fulham Football Club have been very impressed with the lesson delivery. They have already asked me to work alongside them to improve their course further and incorporate the written work they need the learners to complete into my lessons.

“All of the resources relate to a topic the young men love and they have responded well to them.

“The course gives us an opportunity to build a rapport which can be used to encourage progression in the core subjects after the sports course has finished.”

Following their success, the education team are developing a maths course with the same structure and ethos to share across other courses.

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