Writing the Game harnesses young people’s love of football to engage them with writing and learning. Funded initially by Football Foundation and Paul Hamlyn Foundation and now by Comic Relief, it has benefited over 140 young people from disadvantaged areas in South Yorkshire, London and the south west of England in partnership with Barnsley, Crystal Palace, Leyton Orient and Plymouth Argyle Football Clubs.
“I know that a course like this can change someone’s life and get them interested in writing.”
– pupil, George Mitchell school (Writing the Game at The Hurst, January 2016)
Following their residential week in 2015, students from The Norwood School in London worked with Crystal Palace Football Club to develop a special edition of the club’s junior fanzine The Eaglet that was launched at a home game against Stoke City on 7 May.
Most recently, in 2016 we worked with George Mitchell School in London. 16 students visited The Hurst in January for a Writing the Game week, working with Musa Okwonga and Nick Stimson, plus guest reader Ian Marchant. They will also be working with Leyton Orient Football Club to take part in their Supporter2Reporter programme this year.
The residential week was a huge success, the group formed a close bond and the Friday night readings were particularly powerful. One student said after the course:
“Before I came, I did not enjoy writing and I was not confident in writing. After this amazing experience at Arvon, I enjoy writing a lot more and I’m more confident. It was a wonderful experience.”
Between 2009 and 2016, we have also worked with Carlton Community College (formerly Edward Sheerin School), The Dearne School and Darton College in Barnsley, South Dartmoor Community College, Kingsbridge Community College, and Estover Community College in Devon, and The Norwood School in London.
Writing the Game is aimed at students who have a passion for football but may struggle with writing and engagement in learning. The response from accompanying teachers has been extremely positive, with many reporting their students are more confident and motivated, more engaged with learning across the curriculum, and that students who never showed any interest in English and writing have now found a creative outlet to express themselves. One teacher said of a Writing the Game pupil:
“I truly believe that the Arvon experience will mean he is in a better position to deal with the tough life he leads.”
Arvon has commissioned Dr Caroline Murphy to act as independent evaluator, and her findings are now available in the Writing the Game Final Evaluation Report 2013-15 – we hope the findings and learning from the success of Writing the Game will be useful for other organisations seeking to build connections between the arts, sport and education, and provide opportunities for young people from disadvantaged communities. Writing the Game will now continue through 2016-18 with the generous support of Comic Relief.
Watch this short film about the Norwood School in London. Following their residential week in 2015, students from The Norwood School in London worked with Crystal Palace Football Club to develop a special edition of the club’s junior fanzine The Eaglet, that was launched at a home game against Stoke City on 7 May 2016:
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To find out about bringing a school group to Arvon email firstname.lastname@example.org