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Newcastle United hero Steve Harper joins surprise penalty shootout at North Tyneside primary school

Newcastle United hero Steve Harper made a surprise visit to schoolchildren supported by Newcastle United Foundation to host a penalty shootout and question and answer session.

The former United goalkeeper turned first team coach and Foundation Trustee was keen to see the charity’s work in action close to the Magpies’ training ground in North Tyneside.

Year 5 and Year 6 pupils at St Bernadette’s RC Primary School in Wallsend were enjoying their weekly First Class Skills PE lesson on the school’s playground when Harper arrived to meet with students and school staff.

Thanks to the Foundation’s ongoing partnership with First Class Supply, around 1,140 North East children are being given the skills and support they need to stay active, healthy and happy through tailored PE lessons for primary schools in Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside.

Harper said: “It’s really special to get out into the community to see how we as a Foundation are supporting young people who are able to enjoy being in school again and playing and learning alongside their friends and our coaches here.

“There’s a smile on everyone’s face and I’m really pleased to get involved with one of these sessions that are all about mixing physical activity with teamwork and communications skills which are so important to learn at a young age.”

He added: “There were some great penalties from the group as well – they’ve clearly been practising with our coaches! It’s been fantastic to meet some of the talented students here and to see everyone enjoying themselves outdoors again.”

Also visiting the school during the First Class Skills session were First Class Supply’s Director and Senior Education Specialist, Fran Hale, and Team leader and Senior Education Specialist, Julia Pollock.

Lesley Robinson, Co-Founder and Director of First Class Supply, said: “We are delighted to continue our ongoing partnership with Newcastle United Foundation, and are proud to support them in all they do in our local community.

“The First Class Skills sessions have helped so many local pupils to keep fit, and it has been great to see for ourselves how much these sessions are enjoyed and the real benefit they bring.”

Each one-hour PE lesson delivered in schools twice a week by Newcastle United Foundation’s Primary Education team provide professional and engaging sports coaching through fun team games, skills workshops and training practices.

The sessions will culminate in a multi-sports festival when safe to do so, bringing together young participants from 12 different schools across the region for a competitive tournament.

The multi-sports festival will include a girls’ football competition and a mixed multi-sports event, allowing pupils to have fun with the new skills picked up during sessions with the Foundation and First Class Supply.

For more information on Newcastle United Foundation’s schools programmes, bringing the curriculum to life for pupils aged four to 18, email

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