Newcastle United Foundation kick off new season of Financial Football teaching ‘grown-up’ numeracy skills in schools
Newcastle United Foundation is helping dozens of schoolchildren understand their future finances and the payoff of learning key budgeting skills through innovative football-themed numeracy lessons.
The official charity arm of Newcastle United has been working with dozens of young pupils to improve their understanding of money and giving them the confidence to thrive in maths lessons through the Financial Football initiative, funded by asset management company, Liontrust.
Financial Football uses the popularity of Newcastle United to encourage primary school pupils from Newcastle to Northumberland to engage with real-life scenarios involving maths – from managing debt to purchasing items from the Magpies’ club shop.
Now, with a successful first year of teaching the Financial Football programme, the Foundation and Liontrust are preparing to expand sessions to include Year 4 pupils, alongside its usual six-week programme for Year 5 to Year 6 schoolchildren.
A number of primary schools have been working with the charity since returning to classrooms in September, giving youngsters a three-week short-course of financial education in Choppington, Northumberland, and Ponteland, Newcastle.
After seeing the programme in class, a Higher Level Teaching Assistant at Richard Coates Church of England Primary School, said: “I know how much the children enjoyed the Newcastle United Foundation Financial Football sessions.
“The quality of the booklets were very good, especially as the booklets offer a choice of levels to work at, helping all the children to attempt the tasks.”
She added that “sessions relating to money and salaries were useful” and lessons were “delivered well” and “very relevant scenarios to the pupils’ age helped engage them”.
Qualified teacher and Newcastle United Foundation Literacy and Numeracy Coordinator, Phil Cowler, has been leading the programme since its inception and is looking forward to expanding and adapting the project.
He said: “We have been thrilled by the progress so many children have made with our football-themed maths lessons so far – especially pupils who doubt their abilities but become much more enthusiastic and engaged by involving Newcastle United in the classroom.
“Our new maths programme for Year 4 will be delivered after October half-term and we will be developing key numeracy skills around fractions, graphs, time and number, all while using the world of football to introduce them to the world of finance.
“The academic and personal growth these children display is extraordinary and we are looking forward to inspiring even more young people across the region with Liontrust’s support.”
Newcastle United Foundation is also preparing Financial Football to go online should tighter lockdown restrictions limit external visitors to schools in future.
Phil added: “Schools will be a given a weekly series of short video lessons, together with a downloadable Maths Workout task sheet. The videos can be played in-class or at home, with our Maths Workout task sheet also providing guidance for parents and carers to support their child through the activity.”
Simon Hildrey, Chief Marketing Officer at Liontrust, said: “The first year of the Financial Football programme was a great success and it was wonderful to see the children’s increased engagement with numeracy through the power of football and interactive games.
“Working with the Foundation to expand the programme and make it available to more children has come at such a crucial time, especially the opportunity to offer video lessons and work sheets online.
“This is part of Liontrust’s vision to empower young people to feel confident about dealing with money and to budget, which is more important than ever given the terrible impact of the pandemic.”