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St Peter's pupils get a taste of soccer heaven

A primary school near Middlesbrough has found a novel way to give teachers their non-contact time - it pays the local football club to deliver it.

Coaches from Middlesbrough FC, the Premiership team, visit St Peter's school two afternoons a week to take five PE lessons and free teachers to catch up on planning, preparation and assessment (PPA).

This term pupils will receive coaching from colleagues of Steve McClaren, the Middlesbrough manager and an England coach.

Next term lessons will focus on fitness and health and during the summer term St Peter's pupils will be taught a range of sports. The arrangement, combined with the use of higher-level teaching assistants to take lessons in creative subjects such as art and drama, allows three teachers more than two hours of PPA time each week.

St Peter's is one of 16 Tees Valley schools which buy in soccer coaching from the football club. At about pound;23 per lesson, John Stinson, headteacher, believes it is a cost-effective way of delivering PPA without damaging children's education.

He says that the use of qualified coaches alleviates parents' concerns about having classes taken by people who are not teachers: "In primary schools there are fewer teachers who specialise in sport. These coaches are experts in their own field. It is a really effective programme - children are bringing in their kit and looking forward to it."

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