“Our Year 4 and Year 5 children thoroughly enjoyed their Literacy Kicks sessions. They loved the sports clips and felt as though they were real-life sports journalists. The booklets were great quality and contained useful scaffolds to help the children structure their writing. One of the best things about the sessions was that all children were able to able to get fully involved, regardless of ability. If you are looking for something to enthuse your writers in an exciting and purposeful way, this is it!”

Ruth Howard, Year 4 teacher, Hopwood Primary, Rochdale

“Literacy Kicks is an inspirational programme. Not only does it result in all children becoming more enthusiastic, confident and motivated writers, Literacy Kicks also shows children how to overcome barriers in order to succeed. Through the world of sport, the sessions highlighted diversity, equality and inclusion. The children were introduced to a wealth of career options and opportunities for their future. 

“In addition to this, they were all able to plan, write and edit a full text within every session. Throughout the six sessions, Gareth supported and coached every child brilliantly. He also challenged each and every learner and, consequently, enabled all to achieve so much, in such a short space of time. An innovative way of combining a variety of knowledge, skills and understanding; the children were hooked from the very beginning!”

Claire Ellison and Rachel Anderson, Year 5/6 teachers, Kentmere Academy

“Our Year 8 students were incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to take part in a live journalism session with a real sports journalist. Gareth worked with every Year 8 class this half term as part of their English lessons. He gave the pupils lots of information about what the job of a sports journalist entails and opened their eyes to that career opportunity. They then went on to report on the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 win and produced some fantastic pieces of journalism. The pupils really enjoyed the session, with many saying they would love to be a sports journalist and hadn’t even realised that it was a career option before. Using the Lionesses’ fantastic win at the centre of the lesson also helped to break down gender barriers in the sport and empowered girls to believe that sports reporting could equally be for them. A big thank you to Literacy Kicks!”

Steph Haworth, English teacher, The Hollins, Accrington 

“As part of our English lessons, our Year 6 children took part in the Literacy Kicks journalism project. We ran two consecutive sessions, per week, for three weeks. The engagement from the children was incredible, with Gareth carefully selecting topics that hooked them in and captured their imagination, whilst also inspiring thoughts and ideas for their written pieces. The children were able to articulate what the role of a journalist was, and the programme expertly guides them through the array of tools a journalist would need as part of their work. Across the six sessions, children were motivated to produce their best writing, with two Sports Reporters of the Day certificates awarded each session. Each child also took pride in the high-quality resource booklet they received, and have a portfolio of journalistic writing to keep. I couldn’t recommend the programme highly enough, and we even had feedback from parents saying their children looked forward to coming to school on the days Gareth was in.”

Anthony Hignett, Year 6 teacher, St Luke’s Primary, Heywood

“Inspiring, engaging and thought provoking! Literacy Kicks’ delivery of reading and writing skills in real life and enjoyable ways fascinated the children, and ensured they were fully engaged throughout. The range of writing skills – such as newspaper writing, blogging and developing editing skills – ensured the children could ‘show off’ their thoughts in a variety of written forms. Due to these being linked to real sporting events and the invaluable experience Gareth could share about his many years as a journalist, the writing achieved was purposeful and gave the children a great sense of accomplishment.  

“The Literacy Kicks programme has been designed to engage every pupil regardless of ability and ensures every single pupil feels a great sense of pride in their writing at the end of every session. It gives a unique insight into the life of a real-life journalist and how to apply what is learnt in class into a real-life context – making learning relevant, fun and inspiring.”

Claire Varley, Year 6 teacher St Thomas’ CE School, Halliwell, Bolton

“This year is the second time Gareth has come into our school and the pupils and staff have absolutely loved it. He completed excellent workshops on England Lionesses’ big win which engaged all pupils from Year 7 to 9. The resources are fantastic, every group got involved and completed their own newspaper report and thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. Many were asking if we were doing it again the next lesson! Huge thanks to Gareth at Literacy Kicks.”

Kathryn McGough, English teacher, Christ the King High School, Southport

“Literacy Kicks has been a great addition to our English curriculum. For our Year 6, he has inspired them to become sports journalists with a very clever six-week programme. Each week the pupils have written their own article based on various sporting events over the years. The pupils have also enjoyed Gareth’s personal experience to help understand what the audience needs when writing. Because of his impact on our children, we have become newspaper writers for our own school paper, The Learning Times. I would highly recommend Gareth and his unit of work. We have all become journalists thanks to his input.”

James Mears, Year 6 teacher St Oswald’s Primary, Longton 

“Inspiring, relevant and topical; Gareth delivers sessions which capture the interest of every learner, regardless of ability. His sessions are engaging and captivating; covering a wide-range of sporting topics, the children benefitted greatly from Gareth’s enthusiasm and knowledge. It was fantastic to see the children actively engaged in discussion, whilst also learning important journalism skills. Thank you Gareth, you have inspired even the most reluctant of writers to succeed.”

Samantha Goodyear, Year 6 teacher, Euxton Primrose Hill Primary School

“What a fantastic experience Literacy Kicks is for all students! My Year 5 class thoroughly enjoyed the experience of unpicking key features of sports journalism, then applying their findings to create their own pieces of work. The way that Gareth approached the sessions allowed the children to fully understand how to write a range of newspaper reports based on different sporting topics. Gareth’s experience within the field is evident; he is enthusiastic, engaging and passionate about his work – reflected within the children’s attitudes towards their work. The lessons Literacy Kicks provide are suitable for children of all abilities as they approach the lessons with great differentiation options and have a bank of resources available to support all students. These sessions became the highlight of the children’s week as the children’s enthusiasm for writing became evident – they were able to write for a purpose and understand how to write for a range of audiences. Literacy Kicks, what an amazing opportunity to introduce a different style of writing to children. This is something I would highly recommend to any school and we can’t wait to have you back next year.”

Dominic Jones, Year 5 teacher, St James’ CofE Primary School, Wardle

“The Year 5 children have thoroughly enjoyed the Literacy Kicks programme. Each session was highly engaging, with a high level of interest created through the individuals and stories explored throughout. Lessons were appropriately pitched for the year group and children were continuously given the opportunity to consolidate the aspects of their writing that are explored in their English lessons. Children viewed the Literacy Kicks sessions as the highlight of their week and would always be excited to find out who would be the subject of their upcoming lesson. Gareth offered knowledge and expertise in a field that many children may not otherwise have the opportunity to access. He is extremely positive and encouraging with the children, ensuring that children of all abilities could access his lessons. Already looking forward to next year!”

Jamie Alletson and Emily Pennells, Year 5 teachers, St Andrew’s CofE Primary School Dearnley

“My class have thoroughly enjoyed their Literacy Kicks sessions. The children, regardless of their interest in sport, found the themes engaging and were motivated to complete the tasks and share their work. There were various writing focuses and the lessons were well-structured and scaffolded for all children, including SEND. Gareth’s enthusiasm and stories provided them with the opportunity to write for purpose and gave them an insight into journalism which enabled them to see how English can be used as a career.”

Emma Seddon, Year 6 teacher St William’s Catholic Primary School, Ince

“Our learners have thoroughly enjoyed the Literacy Kicks experience and have waxed lyrical about the range of content they have covered each week. For our lower-performing learners, the use of sentence starters and contextual information gave them a solid platform to craft interesting stories in ways that would have otherwise proved difficult. Learners have come away from this session invigorated by the idea of writing – particularly in the field of sports – and grateful for the opportunity that has been provided for them by Gareth. We look forward to using his services again in the near future!” Connor Lee, English and Media Studies teacher, Matthew Moss High School, Rochdale “Thanks to Literacy Kicks, our Year 5 and 6 children have just experienced the most amazing literacy programme, linked to a range of sporting themes. Gareth Walker was inspirational in his delivery of his self-produced, varied and exciting literacy lessons, seen through the eyes of a sports journalist. Gareth was able to share so many tips on writing, as well as personal anecdotes which hooked the children in from the very first session. The children experienced working to deadlines and being under pressure, all in a safe and secure environment. Sports covered included football, cricket and athletics, alongside the wonderful world of the Paralympics and the controversial VAR! The sessions were inclusive for all, and universally thoroughly enjoyed. The sessions gave our children an insight into how literacy can be used in real life and how this can be linked to the world of work. I would highly recommend introducing Literacy Kicks to any school and we are already looking forward to welcoming Gareth back into school in the near future.” 

Nick Ward, Headteacher, Euxton Church of England Primary School

“Engaging students in reading and writing has never been more relevant. Literacy Kicks has developed an incredible programme that captures the attention of students and enables them to truly immerse themselves in developing the art of writing. Our Year 7 and 8 students (along with staff), were completely fascinated about the life and pressures of a sports journalist, to learn how they analyse performance and construct the articles that we all read in the national papers. Gareth’s programme is varied and challenging, which combined with the use of his personal experience, really makes each session unique. A thoroughly enjoyable initiative, led by a fantastic professional in Gareth. I would highly recommend Literacy Kicks to any school.”

Ben Pickup, PE teacher, Pleckgate High School, Blackburn

“Engaged. Excited. Enthused. What an experience for my Year 5 children. Our first Literacy Kicks session with Gareth captured the imagination of our kids and showed them the importance and possibilities of working hard in English. After just one session, a number have been inspired to look into the profession of journalism. Both the pupils and teaching staff can’t wait for our next Literacy Kicks lesson.”

Jonathon Alty, Year 5 teacher, Britannia Bridge Primary School, Wigan

“Thank you Literacy Kicks for your visit to Wigan and Leigh College, sharing your experiences and embedded resources with our sport students. Your range of resources – audio, visual and activities – linked to the exam criteria, ensured all students could engage in the discussions. By completing the writing activities, students showed their interest in the topics of your booklet and how they identified the value of practising writing skills which linked to the Paper 2 writing section in this year’s GCSE exam. Gareth’s willingness to share his introduction to building his own English skills as a young journalist was inspiring to many of our students who are keen to work in the world of sport, but may have never thought English could be a major skill they would need. We hope Literacy Kicks can visit the college again in the near future.”

Linda Ashley, English Lecturer, Wigan and Leigh College

“Our Year 7 pupils had a wonderful day taking part in the Literacy Kicks programme. Gareth Walker engaged the students throughout the sessions including talking to them about: how journalists work at live matches, lively debates on VAR, the importance of opinions, working to deadlines and under pressure, and exploring significant historical sporting moments. There was the perfect balance of talk, writing and sporting clips and the students were intrigued throughout the day. They loved listening to Gareth’s stories which enabled them to see the life of a sports journalist and the opportunities it presents. I would definitely recommend Literacy Kicks to any school and we are already planning our next session.”

Michelle Pilkington, Assistant Headteacher, Ashton Community Science College, Preston

“Gareth and Literacy Kicks has been a great addition to our weekly curriculum! Gareth led a range of engaging sessions using sport as a stimulus to spark interest and efforts from our pupils. The pupils have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the broad range of sports covered and how extended writing and interests such as a sport can work hand in hand in the ‘real world’ as a career.”

Amy Donnelly, Year 8 English teacher, St Mary’s Catholic High School, Leyland

“I really liked the Literacy Kicks lessons we did, they were fun and enjoyable. We did lessons on England versus Colombia in the World Cup, Nicola Adams winning Olympic gold and our opinion on VAR in football. It was great to learn how newspapers are put together, and I also enjoyed that we could make up our own headlines to add to the report. There were lots of clips shown that made it very informative, and we learned how to take notes to use in our reports. I would love to do it again.”

Year 6 pupil, Euxton Church of England Primary School

“I really enjoyed Literacy Kicks. I loved how we got to watch the event before writing on it, it made it easier to understand. Even the people in our class who don’t like sports loved it and found it interesting. It was fun to learn the different ways to write about sports. My favourite bit was writing about Mo Farah winning his race.”

Year 5 pupil, Euxton Church of England Primary School


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