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International football referee in Selby

Selby Community Primary School

12:00am 20th April 2012

Today (Friday 20th April 2012) Selby Community Primary School is delighted to welcome World Cup, Premier League and one of the world's best referees Howard Webb to the school.

Howard's at school for the whole afternoon meeting the 30 children who have taken part on the Premier League Reading Stars programme and presenting them with the end of programme medals and certificates, after refereeing a special game of football.

Howard Webb is counted amongst the top referees of all time by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics and has presided over some of the biggest games in the UK, Europe and the World.

Ian Clennan, Headteacher at Selby Community Primary School added that:

'The children have enjoyed the reading programme, hearing from top Premier League stars about their reading motivation, touring a local football stadium and now having the chance to meet a star of the football world that meets all of these top stars and visits such high profile football grounds, is really a dream come true.'

Dawn Proctor & Karen Hill, who run the programme at Selby Community Primary School said:

'We wanted the end of the programme to be something special and memorable to the children, who will be presented their certificates in a special asssembly attended by the whole school and their parents.  It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for us all.'

More details about the Premier League Reading Stars programme

Players from all 20 Premier League clubs are to use the motivational power of football to encourage children to improve their literacy skills.

As part of the Premier League Reading Stars programme they will set literacy challenges and talk about their favourite books, sharing their love of reading online at

The National Literacy Trust programme, targets primary and secondary pupils who are not reaching the expected levels in literacy for their age. It sees every Premier League club nominate a player as their Reading Star. This player selects their favourite children's and adults' books to create a 40-strong book recommendation list. Any child with internet access can watch the unique films in which 20 high-profile Premier League players set 100 literacy challenges and explain why they picked their favourite books and what they enjoy about reading. Children completing challenges win prizes, while a child completing all 100 will get the chance to win some signed memorabilia.

Premier League Reading Stars, which is delivered by the National Literacy Trust and funded by Arts Council England and the Premier League, started in 2003. Since then over 100 Premier League players have supported the project, 15,000 children and parents have participated, and over 50,000 books have been read. Also 96% of children who have taken part say they will read more regularly because of participating in the project and 71% say they now read more because they know that footballers read.

This year, the programme has been funded to work directly with 1000 schools and libraries in need and will reach over 30, 000 young people, with the potential for tens of thousands of reading challenges to be completed. For the first time the challenges online will reach millions of people all over the world and any school or library can fund their own resource pack to take part in the programme.

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust said:

"Our research shows that a quarter of boys (28.3%)* say that a sportsperson could inspire them to read. So getting footballers on board gives us a new and powerful strategy to get boys reading."

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore added:

"The success of Premier League Reading Stars in encouraging children to read over the last eight years underlines the wonderful power football has in engaging young people. This new online element of the programme is very exciting because it means many more children and their parents will be able to access and learn from the Reading Stars resources."

The choices of the players' books ranged from bestsellers to the classics, thrillers to history. Once again there are familiar names such as Roald Dahl, JK Rowling, Dan Brown and Julia Donaldson, but the likes of Paulo Coelho, Bram Stoker, Harper Lee and Alexandre Dumas also make an appearance. Three of the players are authors in their own right: Theo Walcott, Fulham's Mark Schwarzer and Stoke City's Carlo Nash.

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