A new programme has been launched by Hartlepool United aimed at boosting education though football.
Pools are involved in the new link-up with Stranton Academy Trust in the project for children across the town.
The pilot scheme will operate in a similar way to the club’s previously highly-successful Playing for Success venture, allowing youngsters to use sport, and in particular football, to improve numeracy and literacy.
Students from Stranton Primary used the purpose-built classroom facilities at Victoria Park and have been inspired by a number of football-related tasks.
Assistant Manager Sam Collins paid a visit to the classroom and spent time answering their questions about his career and the season so far.
“I think this is a really good opportunity to draw children in to Hartlepool United and use the football club as an incentive to work hard,” said the academy trust executive, Stranton headteacher Neil Nottingham.
“Even though the children have been coming here for less than a week their enthusiasm is already obvious and they’ve enjoyed being in a different environment for learning.
“Simply the mention of Hartlepool United provides excitement for the boys and girls, and the work they have completed already shows that the scheme is going to be more than worthwhile.
“It’s an opportunity for the children to learn through real-life situations but in a fun and exciting environment so we’ve used football in all the sessions, incorporating maths, literacy, healthy eating and physical fitness.
“Being a big Hartlepool fan myself, I find myself watching on with envy because this is the sort of thing I would have loved to have been available when I was at school!”
Pools chief executive Russ Green has welcomed the new initiative and is confident that it can be rolled-out to more youngsters across Hartlepool in the future.
“We hope this will prove to be a huge success and that other schools can get involved,” he explained.
“It was clear when we had our Playing for Success scheme that the children were inspired to learn and work harder by being in the different environment of our Football Club.
“There will be a focus on numeracy, literacy and healthy eating so we hope that the pupils will feel engaged by working at Victoria Park and that can help inspire them through their studies.”