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Testimonials

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Jonathan McCabe,
assistant head and Year 5 teacher, Trinity St Peter’s, Formby

"Participating in the Literacy Kicks programme was a truly transformative experience for our Year 5 students.

 

"Over the six-week project, the children were immersed in the exciting world of sports journalism, developing their writing and communication skills in an engaging and dynamic way. The enthusiasm and enjoyment were palpable, with many students highlighting Literacy Kicks as one of the highlights of their school year.

 

This initiative not only fostered a love for writing but also boosted the children's confidence and reporting abilities. We are incredibly grateful for this enriching opportunity and look forward to future projects that further inspire and educate our young learners.”

Charlotte Hellon

Year 5 teacher Woodlea Primary, leyland

“Gareth worked with our Year 5 classes over a six-week period and I can honestly say that all the children, and staff, wish it could have been longer. Each child was able to access the Literacy Kicks programme and through Gareth's inspirational delivery of the sessions, use of audio and video stimuli teamed with personal insights into the life of a journalist, each child was left hanging on Gareth's every word.

 

“The booklets that the children used are scaffolded with key facts, sentence openers and other key features that the children could refer back to and use in their writing.

 

"The final pieces of writing that were produced each week by the children were of great quality, showing their enthusiasm in the Literacy Kicks sessions.

Overall, I would thoroughly recommend Literacy Kicks to any school and I'm already looking forward to the next series of sessions.”

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Claire Ellison and Rachel Anderson,
Year 5/6 teachers, Kentmere AcademY, ROCHDALE

“Literacy Kicks is an innovative and diverse programme. The sessions develop more enthusiastic, confident and motivated writers, whilst showing the children how to overcome barriers in order to succeed both in the world of sport and life.

 

"Through the world of sport, the sessions highlighted diversity, equality and inclusion through a range of innovative and authentic writing tasks. The children were introduced to a wealth of career options and opportunities for their future linked to literacy.

“Throughout the six sessions, Gareth supported and coached brilliantly. He also challenged each and every learner and, consequently, enabled all to succeed and achieve so much, in such a short space of time. Literacy Kicks is an inventive way of combining a variety of knowledge and skills; the children were captivated from the very first session!”

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Ben Pickup, PE teacher,

Pleckgate High School, Blackburn

“Engaging students in reading and writing has never been more relevant. Literacy Kicks has developed an incredible programme that captures the attention of students and enables them to truly immerse themselves in developing the art of writing.

 

"Our Year 7 and 8 students (along with staff), were completely fascinated about the life and pressures of a sports journalist, to learn how they analyse performance and construct the articles that we all read in the national papers.

 

"Gareth’s programme is varied and challenging, which combined with the use of his personal experience, really makes each session unique. A thoroughly enjoyable initiative, led by a fantastic professional in Gareth.

 

"I would highly recommend Literacy Kicks to any school.”

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Ruth Howard, Year 4 teacher,

Hopwood Primary, Rochdale

“The whole Literacy Kicks programme has been brilliant from start to finish. Gareth came in to our class and immediately engaged the children with his knowledge, passion and love for what he does. 

 

“Our Year 4 and Year 5 children thoroughly enjoyed their Literacy Kicks sessions. They loved the sports clips and felt as though they were real-life sports journalists. The booklets were great quality and contained useful scaffolds to help the children structure their writing.

 

"One of the best things about the sessions was that all children were able to able to get fully involved, regardless of ability.

 

"If you are looking for something to enthuse your writers in an exciting and purposeful way, this is it!”

Samantha Goodyear,

Year 6 teacher, Euxton Primrose Hill Primary School

"Inspiring, relevant and topical; Gareth delivers sessions which capture the interest of every learner, regardless of ability. His sessions are engaging and captivating; covering a wide-range of sporting topics, the children benefitted greatly from Gareth’s enthusiasm and knowledge.

 

"It was fantastic to see the children actively engaged in discussion, whilst also learning important journalism skills. Thank you Gareth, you have inspired even the most reluctant of writers to succeed.”

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Steph Haworth, English teacher,

The Hollins, Accrington 

“Our Year 8 students were incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to take part in a live journalism session with a real sports journalist. Gareth worked with every Year 8 class as part of their English lessons.

 

"He gave the pupils lots of information about what the job of a sports journalist entails and opened their eyes to that career opportunity. They then went on to report on the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 win and produced some fantastic pieces of journalism.

“The pupils really enjoyed the session, with many saying they would love to be a sports journalist and hadn’t even realised that it was a career option before. Using the Lionesses’ fantastic win at the centre of the lesson also helped to break down gender barriers in the sport and empowered girls to believe that sports reporting could equally be for them.

 

"A big thank you to Literacy Kicks!”

Kathryn McGough, English teacher,

Christ the King High School, Southport

“This year is the second time Gareth has come into our school and the pupils and staff have absolutely loved it. He completed excellent workshops on England Lionesses’ big win which engaged all pupils from Year 7 to 9.

 

"The resources are fantastic, every group got involved and completed their own newspaper report and thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. Many were asking if we were doing it again the next lesson! Huge thanks to Gareth at Literacy Kicks.”

James Mears, Year 6 teacher

St Oswald’s Primary, Longton  

“Literacy Kicks has been a great addition to our English curriculum. For our Year 6, he has inspired them to become sports journalists with a very clever six-week programme. Each week the pupils have written their own article based on various sporting events over the years.

 

"The pupils have also enjoyed Gareth’s personal experience to help understand what the audience needs when writing.

 

"Because of his impact on our children, we have become newspaper writers for our own school paper, The Learning Times. I would highly recommend Gareth and his unit of work.

"We have all become journalists thanks to his input.”

Dominic Jones, Year 5 teacher,

St James’ C of E Primary School, Wardle

"What a fantastic experience Literacy Kicks is for all students! My Year 5 class thoroughly enjoyed the experience of unpicking key features of sports journalism, then applying their findings to create their own pieces of work. The way that Gareth approached the sessions allowed the children to fully understand how to write a range of newspaper reports based on different sporting topics.

 

"Gareth’s experience within the field is evident; he is enthusiastic, engaging and passionate about his work – reflected within the children’s attitudes towards their work. 

 

"The lessons Literacy Kicks provide are suitable for children of all abilities as they approach the lessons with great differentiation options and have a bank of resources available to support all students. These sessions became the highlight of the children’s week as the children’s enthusiasm for writing became evident – they were able to write for a purpose and understand how to write for a range of audiences.

 

"Literacy Kicks, what an amazing opportunity to introduce a different style of writing to children. This is something I would highly recommend to any school and we can’t wait to have you back next year.”

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Jamie Alletson and Emily Pennells,

Year 5 teachers, St Andrew’s CofE Primary School, ROCHDALE

“The Year 5 children have thoroughly enjoyed the Literacy Kicks programme. Each session was highly engaging, with a high level of interest created through the individuals and stories explored throughout.

 

"Lessons were appropriately pitched for the year group and children were continuously given the opportunity to consolidate the aspects of their writing that are explored in their English lessons. 

 

"Children viewed the Literacy Kicks sessions as the highlight of their week and would always be excited to find out who would be the subject of their upcoming lesson. Gareth offered knowledge and expertise in a field that many children may not otherwise have the opportunity to access. He is extremely positive and encouraging with the children, ensuring that children of all abilities could access his lessons.

 

"Already looking forward to next year!” 

Emma Seddon,

Year 6 teacher St William’s Catholic Primary School, Ince

“My class have thoroughly enjoyed their Literacy Kicks sessions. The children, regardless of their interest in sport, found the themes engaging and were motivated to complete the tasks and share their work.

 

"There were various writing focuses and the lessons were well-structured and scaffolded for all children, including SEND.

 

"Gareth’s enthusiasm and stories provided them with the opportunity to write for purpose and gave them an insight into journalism which enabled them to see how English can be used as a career.”

Connor Lee,

English and Media Studies teacher, Matthew Moss High School

“Our learners have thoroughly enjoyed the Literacy Kicks experience and have waxed lyrical about the range of content they have covered each week. For our lower-performing learners, the use of sentence starters and contextual information gave them a solid platform to craft interesting stories in ways that would have otherwise proved difficult.

 

"Learners have come away from this session invigorated by the idea of writing – particularly in the field of sports – and grateful for the opportunity that has been provided for them by Gareth.

 

"We look forward to using his services again in the near future!”

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Laura Doherty, Year 6 teacher Bedford Primary School, Bootle

“My Year 6 class have thoroughly enjoyed Literacy Kicks. Every session has been engaging, interesting and accessible for all children.

 

"The children have learned about different styles of report writing and heard first hand what that looks like in the real world from someone who has actually done the job.

“This has given some children ideas for a career in sports journalism in the future! It has been wonderful to see some reluctant writers motivated to write and share their work with the class and given lots of children their opportunity to shine.

 

"I would definitely recommend the sessions to other schools.”

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Connor Doherty,

Year 6 teacher Our Lady of Mount Carmel PrimarY, ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE

“It has been a pleasure to see Literacy Kicks promote a love of writing through sport with my Year 6 class.

 

"I have had so many reluctant writers, particularly boys, really push themselves and grow in confidence with their writing, which has also carried through into my own English lessons. The experience has been invaluable for our students.”

Linda Ashley,

English Lecturer, Wigan and Leigh College

“Thank you Literacy Kicks for your visit to Wigan and Leigh College, sharing your experiences and embedded resources with our sport students. Your range of resources – audio, visual and activities – linked to the exam criteria, ensured all students could engage in the discussions.

 

"By completing the writing activities, students showed their interest in the topics of your booklet and how they identified the value of practising writing skills which linked to the Paper 2 writing section in this year’s GCSE exam. 

"Gareth’s willingness to share his introduction to building his own English skills as a young journalist was inspiring to many of our students who are keen to work in the world of sport, but may have never thought English could be a major skill they would need. 

"We hope Literacy Kicks can visit the college again in the near future.”

 

 

Michelle Pilkington,

Assistant Headteacher, Ashton Community Science College, Preston

“Our Year 7 pupils had a wonderful day taking part in the Literacy Kicks programme. Gareth Walker engaged the students throughout the sessions, including talking to them about how journalists work at live matches, lively debates on VAR, the importance of opinions, working to deadlines and under pressure, and exploring significant historical sporting moments.

 

"There was the perfect balance of talk, writing and sporting clips and the students were intrigued throughout the day. They loved listening to Gareth’s stories which enabled them to see the life of a sports journalist and the opportunities it presents.

 

"I would definitely recommend Literacy Kicks to any school and we are already planning our next session.”

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Sally Griffiths
Deputy Head and Year 6 teacher
St Luke’s Halsall Crosby

“Wow - these sessions were amazing, all my Year 6 class loved them. They were engaging and made great use of sports footage to inspire the writing.

 

"I would highly recommend Gareth Walker, who used his expertise as a sports journalist to develop some excellent writing from the pupils in a variety of different styles.”

 

Anthony Hignett,

Year 6 teacher, St Luke’s Primary, Heywood

"As part of our English lessons, our Year 6 children took part in the Literacy Kicks journalism project. We ran two consecutive sessions, per week, for three weeks. The engagement from the children was incredible, with Gareth carefully selecting topics that hooked them in and captured their imagination, whilst also inspiring thoughts and ideas for their written pieces.

"The children were able to articulate what the role of a journalist was, and the programme expertly guides them through the array of tools a journalist would need as part of their work. 

         

“Across the six sessions, children were motivated to produce their best writing, with two Sports Reporters of the Day certificates awarded each session. Each child also took pride in the high-quality resource booklet they received, and have a portfolio of journalistic writing to keep.

 

I couldn’t recommend the programme highly enough, and we even had feedback from parents saying their children looked forward to coming to school on the days Gareth was in.”

Will Cawley

Director of Learning Innovation Faculty and Head of Physical Education and Sport Whitworth Community High School

“Literacy Kicks was a fantastic way to develop our students' understanding of different careers within sport.

 

"All of the sessions from assembly to lessons were very engaging, allowing our students to develop their literacy skills within a fun and engaging way.

 

"Gareth supported the students within all the work they completed and the standard of work that was accomplished was amazing. I can't recommend Literacy Kicks enough to every school.”

Helen Taylor

Moss Side Primary School, LEYLAND

“Our children have thoroughly enjoyed the Literacy Kicks unit they have participated in over the course of six weeks. Hooked in with interesting and appropriate topics, the whole class have been looking forward to each session and very motivated to write.

 

"Able writers have had the opportunity to push themselves and there is support provided in the workbooks so that those who struggle had a starting point. The sports-based content was varied from women's football to Paralympians and the children were motivated by the videos before beginning to write. 

 

"Gareth is a confident speaker in front of the class and is skilled at supporting the children as they worked. I would be more than happy to work with Gareth in the future.”

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Claire Varley, Year 6 teacher,

St Thomas’ CE School, Halliwell, Bolton

"Inspiring, engaging and thought provoking! Literacy Kicks’ delivery of reading and writing skills in real life and enjoyable ways fascinated the children, and ensured they were fully engaged throughout.

 

"The range of writing skills - such as newspaper writing, blogging and developing editing skills - ensured the children could ‘show off’ their thoughts in a variety of written forms. Due to these being linked to real sporting events and the invaluable experience Gareth could share about his many years as a journalist, the writing achieved was purposeful and gave the children a great sense of accomplishment.  

         

“The Literacy Kicks programme has been designed to engage every pupil regardless of ability and ensures every single pupil feels a great sense of pride in their writing at the end of every session. It gives a unique insight into the life of a real-life journalist and how to apply what is learnt in class into a real-life context – making learning relevant, fun and inspiring.”

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Jonathon Alty, Year 5 teacher,

Britannia Bridge Primary School, Wigan

“Engaged. Excited. Enthused. What an experience for my Year 5 children. Our first Literacy Kicks session with Gareth captured the imagination of our kids and showed them the importance and possibilities of working hard in English.

 

"After just one session, a number have been inspired to look into the profession of journalism. Both the pupils and teaching staff can’t wait for our next Literacy Kicks lesson.”

Alison Wiles,

Year 5 teacher, Hurst Knoll Primary, ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE

“The children loved learning how to write for different purposes relating to sport, and then the experience of being able to finish the programme by applying this in a real life situation at an Ashton United football game was a memory I know they will treasure.

“The organisation, goody bags, reporter note pads and pens encouraged even the most reluctant writers to pick up their pencils to take notes at all the key moments in the match. It was a really positive experience.”

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