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Football fans' dream job

Many people dream of a career representing a Premiership football club.

For a select few, that dream can become reality. There is David Beckham.

There is Thierry Henry. And now there are teachers.

Arsenal, the championship-winning London team, is recruiting teachers.

Backed by pound;120,000 from the Department for Education and Skills, it employs four teachers in inner-city comprehensives four-and-a-half days a week. The scheme began in January and will be extended to four more schools in September. The teachers also spend half a day at the club.

The Arsenal teachers offer small-group lessons for low-achieving pupils during the school day. Half the lesson is devoted to numeracy and literacy, while the other half is set aside for football training. Luke Springall, Arsenal teacher at St Aloysius college, in Islington, said: "This is how teaching should be. You need to find something that interests the pupils and relate lessons to it."

All numeracy and literacy efforts are focused on football-related topics.

So pupils create fantasy football teams and then work out mathematical puzzles involving the players' numbers. They also watch videos of Arsenal games and write reports on the state of play.

In July Mr Springall is leaving his job to travel, so the club is seeking a replacement. Scott Cohen, who manages the project for Arsenal, said: "We want someone who will be an Arsenal role model. They have to be patient and imaginative. And they have to be a competent footballer. But they don't have to be Arsenal fans. Of the four teachers we have, only one supports the team."

But John Simon, head of PE at St Aloysius, said supporting Arsenal can only help a new teacher to integrate. "Yes, a Spurs fan could do the job. But they'd have to take a lot of stick."


Tel: (020) 7704 4142

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