Playing for Success: An Evaluation of the Fourth Year

Caroline Sharp, Jenny Blackmore, Lesley Kendall, Ian Schagen, Tilaye Yeshanew, Katy Greene, Wendy Keys, Anna Macauley

30 April 2003

Research report available to download from DFE

Research brief available to download from DFE

Playing for Success is a national initiative, established by the DfES in partnership with the FA Premier League, the Nationwide League and their clubs, and LEAs. It aims to contribute to raising educational standards, especially in urban areas, by setting up Study Support Centres in professional football clubs and other sports venues. Centres are managed by experienced teachers. They use the medium and environment of sport to support work in literacy, numeracy and ICT. With a focus on addressing the needs of underachieving young people, mainly in years 6 to 9, the initiative places a strong emphasis on improving pupils attitudes and motivation to learn.

Key Findings

  • The evaluation demonstrates that Playing for Success is continuing to make a real impact on the pupils who attend.
  • Playing for Success has reached its target group of underachieving young people.
  • The 58 Study Support Centres took over 18500 pupils from 1103 schools during 2001-2.
  • On average, the young people who participated made significant progress in basic skills. This was particularly evident in numeracy and ICT.
  • At least 88 per cent of pupils considered the Study Support Centre to be 'fun', 'interesting' and 'a good idea for me'.
  • Despite sessions being held after school, most pupils attended for 80 per cent or more of the course.
  • Parents had very positive views about their childrens participation in Playing for Success. All responding parents said they were pleased/very pleased that their child had taken part.
  • Teachers rated the Centres' organisation highly. All responding schools wanted another opportunity to take part.
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