Friday 10th Feb – ‘Hull is where the culture is’

On Friday, I ran two hope-affirming workshops at the University of Hull’s brilliant NQT conference, this year titled ‘Hull is where the culture is’. Under the theme of ‘Engaging Reluctant Readers’, I spoke about my experiences with the National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars campaign and Football Beyond Borders, as well as ideas for using the Heroes Football series within the classroom and curriculum.


However, far and away the most interesting part of each workshop was listening to the passionate NQTs and PGCE trainers. Two things in particular struck me as worth blogging about:

1) Reading isn’t just about being able to read the words correctly. Encouraging creative thought and understanding comes first, and perfecting punctuation, grammar and spelling comes second. Sometimes, that might mean offering kids an opening line to let their imaginations loose; sometimes, that might mean taking a footballer’s experience and transporting it into a child’s world.

2) With their positive life messages about teamwork, leadership, determination and overcoming setbacks, books like the Heroes Football series could be used not just in literacy/English lessons but also in PHSE classes dealing with growth mindset. Through the familiar lens of football, they could offer the chance for children to explore and discuss emotional responses to disappointment, pain, sadness and failure. The consensus was that this could be beneficial for all, but for young boys in particular.

If Friday was anything to go by, the kids of today are in very enthusiastic and capable hands.

If you’d like a copy of my presentation, please email me at


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