QPR captain Nedum Onuoha inspires local primary school pupils with novel approach to learning

Jessica Morgan

Queens Park Rangers have joined forces with the authors of 'Football School' to give the club’s local primary school pupils an eye-popping insight into the world of football.

Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton, who together wrote the educational football book, teamed up with the west London club to deliver lessons at their local Ark Swift Primary School.

The pair were joined by QPR captain Nedum Onuoha on Monday, who also shared with pupils his journey into a professional football career and encouraged them to embrace their opportunity to learn.

Onuoha, who achieved three ‘A’ grade A-Levels and 10 GCSES grade A-B, urged the children, aged from five to 11, to work hard at school by reading books like Football School.

Speaking to the room of 300 pupils, Onuoha said: "I don’t think I’d be a professional footballer if I didn’t take my school work and education seriously."

Pupils from Ark Swift Primary School share their best goal celebration with peers

The 30-year-old defender has made 173 appearances and scored seven goals for QPR in the Championship. He is currently out for three months after sustaining a hamstring injury.

He told Standard Sport: "I really enjoy coming to schools. I didn’t have moments like this where sportsmen would come into school.

"It does make a difference and it’s great to be a role model to these kids.

"This is probably the only time I’ll sit in a lesson on physics where kids are screaming and having the best time of their lives.”

Bellos and Lyttleton, both journalists, wrote 'Football School' to keep children engaged and interested in more complicated subjects such as maths, physics and geography by presenting the subjects in an entertaining and jocular manner.

Nedum Onuoha, Ben Lyttleton, Alex Bellos and Spike Gerrell with the headteacher and pupils of Ark Swift Primary School

Their words, accompanied by illustrations by Spike Gerrell, come after statistics last year showed boys were less likely to read a book than girls and were more likely to skim-read.

Ben said: "We are passionate about getting kids reading and we feel Football School series is a fantastic way of encouraging children to pick up a book and learn about the world.

"There’s a big problem in this country in the Key Stage Two area where boys stop reading.

"We also know they are passionate about football, and the reasons why they are not reading is not finding subjects they are not passionate about.

"With Football School, they are reading about football, but they are learning about the world by stealth because they think they are learning about football - when really they are learning about physics and maths at the same time."

Alex said: "In school, we get told this is geography, this is maths. All the subjects are ring-fenced. We want to educate based on curiosity."

This is the first time Bellos and Lyttleton have worked with a professional football club, and the duo hope to pair other clubs around the country with their local schools.

He added: "We are keen to collaborate with more clubs, we have got some partnerships lined up, but we are definitely keen to roll this into schools."

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