Writing the Game

17 Oct 2018 / Schools

Writing the Game Group 2018 Leyton George Mitchell School

Writing the Game channels young people’s love of football to engage them with writing and learning.

Writing the Game is one of our flagship projects with school pupils. It channels young people’s love of football to engage them with writing and learning. We welcomed 16 pupils from George Mitchell School in Leyton, London to The Hurst in January for a residential week of writing and football led by writers Musa Okwonga and Bridget Minamore. Pupils also completed the excellent Supporter to Reporter programme run by Leyton Orient Trust, aimed at enhancing their speaking and listening skills through becoming sports reporters.

Case Study:
Dan, aged 14, is originally from Romania and recently arrived in the UK. Dan is passionate about football, but prior to being part of Arvon’s Writing the Game programme he was in the bottom set at school and lacked confidence in English, especially in his writing ability.

Dan participated in the Writing the Game week and also received training from Leyton Orient FC on how to become a sports reporter. His English teacher reported that the project had a transformational effect on Dan.

He returned to school with new-found confidence in his writing ability and with a sense of pride in his written work. Dan continues to make rapid progress in his writing and his grades have improved. He is no longer in the bottom set in and is now predicted to achieve the benchmark level 4 grade in GCSE English. Dan enjoyed the celebration event at his school where he read his work to an invited audience of his peers, teachers and parents.

Funded by Comic Relief, the short film by Rural Media shows the journey of the group that combines a residential week at The Hurst Arvon Centre in Shropshire, with the Supporter 2 Reporter programme run by Leyton Orient Trust. We hope you enjoy the film.

Pupils regularly tell us how positive the experience was, including:

I will leave with confidence. I will be more brave for sure. – Pupil, George Mitchell School

I know that a course like this can change someone’s life and get them interested in writing. – Pupil, George Mitchell School

The project has benefited over 150 young people from disadvantaged areas in London, Plymouth and South Yorkshire, in partnership with Barnsley, Crystal Palace, Leyton Orient and Plymouth Argyle Football Clubs. Between 2009 and 2018, 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, The Norwood School  and George Mitchell School in London.

Arvon 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.

To find out about bringing a school group to Arvon email learning@arvon.org

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