Fantasy Football in Lichfield

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This case study is taken from the reading events and groups section of Reading Champions. Read more case studies in this section

This case study first appeared in The Vital Link’s Reading for pleasure: ideas to inspire dads and male carers of young children. This publication is downloadable from www.vitallink.org.uk

‘Fantasy Football’, ‘Lads and Dads’ and ‘Playing for Success’ are three schemes built around football that have been used successfully in Staffordshire. Fantasy Football ran in Lichfield and was successful in involving learners who are hard to reach. Although boys and dads were strongly represented, the course was open to both sexes.

The sessions were held at a school venue on Saturday mornings and involved parents and children. They were delivered in partnership with a basic skills tutor from Tamworth & Lichfield College, an art worker from the North Lichfield Initiative (a community partnership) and sports coaches from Lichfield District Council. Funding for the programme came through the Adult and Community Learning Service Family Learning budget.

If you’ve never played fantasy football, this is how it works. You register online at a site such as http://fantasy.premierleague.com and you are allocated a theoretical budget, with which you ‘buy’ yourself a team made up of 11 players from the football league.

Your fantasy team is allocated points, based on the actual performance of those players in their most recent real-life games, and your points are entered into a league table with other teams.

During the sessions, children and parents practised football skills out on the field, led by the sports coaches. This took place alongside creative activities in which children and parents designed football kits, posters, team logos and so on, for which they used the school’s ICT suite and art rooms. They registered for the fantasy league, worked out how to spend their money, researched players, wrote about them and downloaded pictures. Basic skills work was supported by Mark Robathan and the art sessions were led by Tracy Potts.

All participants improved their physical fitness, learned how to use the computer to research and take part in the league. They used literacy skills to write up their research, designed team logos, and plenty of maths to work out their budgets and keep track of their points. According to Mark Robathan: ‘The boys really enjoyed the physical skills training, but they also enjoyed the creative side of it too.’ Tracy Potts commented: ‘It was wonderful to see the parents and their children having so much fun learning new literacy skills through the art work they did creating team for the football league.’

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