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Playing for Success

Playing for Success (PfS) is part of a package of measures to increase out-of-school hours provision, making a direct contribution to the wider raising standards agenda. PfS featured in both of the Labour Party's manifestos and, more recently, the Education and Skills Investment for Reform document, Excellence and Enjoyment and the DCSF's Five-year Strategy for Children and Learners.

Through PfS, DCSF has established out-of-school hours study support centres within sports clubs' grounds. Nineteen different sports are represented by PfS centres, including football, both codes of rugby, cricket, basketball, hockey, ice-hockey, gymnastics, tennis, athletics, rowing and crown green bowling. The centres cater mainly for young people aged 9 to 14, and focus on improving literacy, numeracy and ICT skills using the environment of the sports club to help motivate pupils. Centres have been highly successful in improving young people's skills, motivation and self-esteem. Partners involved in PfS include LAs, the FA Premier League, the Football League Trust, Football Foundation, the Rugby Football Union and League, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the National Literacy Trust.

Funding is based on a three-way partnership between government (the DCSF and LAs), the sports club, and local sponsors. The Football Foundation joined as a partner in 2002, supporting football clubs in the lower leagues. There are 162 sports clubs signed up to PfS and these are now fully operational. The 'Legacy' centre for the 2012 Olympic Games opened in Newham LA in spring 2009.

Centres are managed by a centre manager (an experienced teacher), supported by tutor-mentors and other support staff, and have state-of-the-art IT equipment. The tutor-mentors are usually students from local FE colleges or universities. On average, four tutor-mentors will work in each centre with young people, in both small groups or individually.

Typically, centres open for up to eight four-hour sessions each week over a ten-week period. Each young person receives about 20 hours of tuition and the group is made up of about 15 young people.

PfS has proved to be overwhelmingly popular with pupils, teachers and parents. National evaluation evidence shows that students attending PfS centres have made significant gains in their literacy, numeracy and ICT skills, as well as in their self-confidence and motivation. The fourth year evaluation published April 2003 found that primary children's numeracy scores had improved by 17 months and secondary by 24 months. Centres are now evaluating within a self-evaluation framework, with dedicated professional support.

For more information see the Playing for Success website.

Last updated: 17 July 2009

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