Pupils at a secondary school were last week rewarded with a professional football coaching session for attending the homework club.
Children from Years 8 to 11 at Haughton Community School were coached by Darlington FC last week as part of a programme to encourage pupils to do their homework.
The initiative, called Football And Schools Together (Fast), is funded by the Football Foundation, a sports charity.
The training session was watched by Alan Milburn, the former cabinet minister who is MP for the town. He is expected to publish a report on social mobility in the summer.
"I was delighted to visit the very innovative Fast project, which offers education and sport," said Mr Milburn. "It was so encouraging to see the youngsters enjoying sporting activity and learning key academic skills at the same time."
More than 20 football clubs are involved in Fast, including the Premiership teams Everton, Fulham, Portsmouth and Stoke.
Catherine Campbell, manager of the project, said: "Football is a very powerful motivator." RV.