Toon Times

Famous goal and cup-winning celebrations of Newcastle United players are being used to transform history lessons across Tyneside schools as part of an innovative partnership between two of the region's leading educational organisations.

The Toon Times project - which is being delivered by the Newcastle United Foundation with the support of North-East supply-teaching agency First Class Supply - is using the power of football to engage thousands of local children, and has been hailed as a roaring success following its launch in March.

The scheme has already reached 77 schools across the region, with 12,000 youngsters set to benefit across North East schools during the next three years.

The programme improves the literacy and learning techniques of children through the use of historic artefacts, props and re-enacting famous Magpies moments - including cup wins and goal celebrations, with youngsters discovering the importance of history through sport and the excitement of their beloved Toon.

John Kirtley, a teacher at Kenton School, which has already signed up to the free scheme, said: "I have had very positive feedback from all of my pupils.

"Even our non-football fans enjoyed it. They can now see that history can be about subjects that interest them and not just the war or the Romans.

"Most students I work with switch off as soon as I mention history. They think the subject is boring and irrelevant, however when the history of their favourite team became the subject, they seemed very keen to engage. They have shown further eagerness to take part in the follow up sessions on CD.

"The use of the visual aids including tops, boots and footballs has helped to engage and keep the attention of the class, along with the session being delivered by Gavin in his Newcastle United tracksuit. It has really helped to break down barriers."

First Class Supply co-founder and Newcastle United supporter Lesley Robinson said: "Our schools are so excited to get involved and we are encouraging each one of them to do so.

"We have attended sessions ourselves and the pupils really enjoy learning about history and how life in general - football life in particular - has been changing over the years."

"In our business it is all about finding the right teacher for the right school to get children interested and excited about the topics they learn.

"Good teaching is all about making the subject relevant and enjoyable and Toon Times achieves that brilliantly by revisiting the history of Newcastle United.

"It's a fantastic way to engage and inspire children in the North East which is why we are proud to support the scheme"

Toon Times is delivered by the Newcastle United Foundation in partnership with Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums and will culminate in a major exhibition at Newcastle's Discovery Museum in 2014 which could attract 360,000 visitors.

For more information, schools can contact Sarah Medcalf, fundraising manager at Newcastle United Foundation on 0844 372 1892 x 8445 or sarah.medcalf@nufc.co.uk.