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Premier League Primary Stars and the National Literacy Trust team up to increase pupils' literacy skills

By Premier League Primary Stars · Fri 28 October 2022

Premier League Primary Stars and the National Literacy Trust

team up to increase pupils' literacy skills

Premier League Primary Stars has partnered with the National Literacy Trust to develop a comprehensive set of resources especially for KS2 pupils. Premier League Magazine Team provides children – especially those underachieving in writing – with all the tools that they need to create their own magazine. 

Read the recent interview featured in Primary Times with Jim Sells, the National Literacy Trust’s Programme Manager Sport & Literacy, to discuss our collaborated resource. The interview covers the new resource and how it uses popular childrens publications, such as Match of the Day magazine, Girl Talk and MEGA to excite and increase their literacy skills.


Jim, tell us how the National Literacy Trust’s relationship with the Premier League originated?

We have been working with the Premier League for many years. They share the same belief in social mobility and working with communities. Our latest research shows that just one in three children enjoy writing – that’s the lowest figure since we began collecting data in 2010. That’s why working with the Premier League Primary Stars team on this project has been so very important.

How do you ensure resources like Premier League Magazine Team support the delivery of the statutory requirements for literacy in the English and Welsh curricula?

The pupils are working towards making a magazine, which means they’re producing a whole text and really thinking about their audience and purpose while they work through that composition process. That’s particularly important in the new Curriculum for Wales where language has been firmly positioned as the way we communicate ideas. Magazines are the ideal format because they include a range of different text types. We always make sure our resources are curriculum-linked, but it’s key for us that they motivate and engage children too. 

Following the government's recent white paper, how important will a resource like this be in supporting teachers and pupils to increase literacy abilities?

By 2030, the government wants to see 90 per cent of pupils achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and maths at the end of Key Stage 2. It is a challenging target for both schools and teachers. Key to this is going to be a holistic focus, not just drilling pupils on exam skills but supporting their confidence and motivation in writing too. And teachers need comprehensive, effective resources. Premier League Magazine Team is both engaging and easy to deliver. Teachers can read through the lesson plans and delivery notes in 10 minutes the night before a class and feel confident to deliver the next day.

Where did the idea for Premier League Magazine Team originate?

Teachers asked if we could create something that had writing at its core which complements our other resources. Together with the Premier League Primary Stars team, we were keen to support teachers in meeting this need. Writing is sometimes reduced to just spelling and grammar or thought to come automatically if you’re a good reader. Of course, they’re reciprocal processes. But the way you compose a piece of writing is a skill that needs to be taught.

How difficult is it to create a resource that is not only fun and ignites a child's imagination, but has a solid education framework which also meets statutory requirements?

When we’re developing programmes such as this, we have our three pillars in mind: the values of sport, role models and engagement. Children who are disengaged may well have struggled to find material that they’re interested in reading: material that’s relevant to their lives. We start with what will motivate a child which is why Premier League Primary Stars is the perfect solution for schools. It doesn’t have to be football, but often is! 

How does it help to have brands like Premier League Primary Stars wanting to engage young people on topics such as literacy?

The Premier League is one of the biggest and best-known brands in the world, and the National Literacy Trust is known for developing good, trusted resources. Together, we have created a programme that allows teachers to engage a child with a passion for football. But children who don’t necessarily like football still see the Premier League as a ‘cool’ brand. 

How important is it that pupils develop literacy skills at a young age? 

Developing a love for stories will unlock so many doors for a child. It has an impact throughout their entire life. It affects not only their educational outcomes but also their health, wellbeing and ability to find work. It’s important to develop literacy skills at a young age because literacy is actually our ability to communicate. If a child can’t be understood, this can lead to frustration – and that’s where you can find a link between behaviour issues and poor literacy.

How does the Premier League Magazine Team resource help support this?

Funnily enough, children don’t associate football with literacy. They just see what they’re passionate about. It just so happens that football is enabling them to learn more about literacy. Premier League Primary Stars engages a child in reading, writing, speaking and listening simply because they’re interested in the topic.

Teachers are integral to the design of the programme. How involved were they? 

Teachers are always central to the building of a resource such as Premier League Magazine Team. We worked with classroom teachers across the country from concept through to testing, and then we conducted a pilot with schools over the summer term. 

What does having BBC Match of the Day, Girl Talk and MEGA involved do to help support the appeal and relevance to pupils? 

These are the magazines that pupils are choosing to read and it’s so helpful for teachers to have engaging model texts at their fingertips. Having access to content and relatable journalists will enable children to see how people just like them are in a career that they too could pursue. It’s important to see that role models are not just people you like, but people like you. 

Finally, how important is it to make educational resources like this fun so that pupils engage?

Simply put, you need to start with what you love. Page fright – that empty piece of paper in front of you – is something every teacher grapples with. If you can begin with a topic that they want to do, are motivated to do, and are confident in tackling, you’ve essentially won half the battle. Premier League Magazine Team has carefully scaffolded resources to help remove that fear – and when the fear has gone, the scaffolding can be taken away. 

Premier League Magazine Team is a 10-session programme created to increase motivation and engagement, improve attitudes to writing, and to support pupils’ writing confidence and skills. It supports pupils to create their own magazine, building on the key components of writing success: audience and purpose. 


Nick Perchard, Head of Community at the Premier League, explains: “Over the past five years we have worked closely with teachers and the National Literacy Trust to develop new literacy resources which are curriculum-linked and inspiring for young people. Premier League Magazine Team is our newest collaborative education pack, which uses the appeal of the Premier League and video content from magazine journalists, to motivate and empower pupils to develop their writing skills in a fun and interactive way.

 “It’s the latest free classroom activity available to teachers via our Premier League Primary Stars programme. We hope that it has a positive impact and is a helpful tool for schools who aim to achieve the UK Government’s 2030 target for 90 percent of children to reach the expected levels of reading and writing by the time they leave primary school.”

All Premier League Primary Stars resources are mapped against the National Curriculum and Curriculum for Wales and are suitable for use in primary schools across England and Wales. The resources are free to download and can either be used off-the-shelf or tailored to suit teachers’ needs. Join over 50,000 teachers and sign up to Premier League Magazine Team today at