THE OFFICIAL MANCHESTER UNITED MATHS WORKBOOKS 1 TO 8. THE OFFICIAL LIVERPOOL MATHS WORKBOOKS 1 TO 4. By Paul Broadbent. THE OFFICIAL MANCHESTER UNITED ENGLISH WORKBOOKS 1 TO 8. THE OFFICIAL LIVERPOOL ENGLISH WORKBOOKS 1 TO 4. By Louis Fidge. Letts pound;4.99 each.
These bright red workbooks, each stamped with the club logo, will turn on even the most educationally switched-off soccer fans. Workbooks are divided into three-page cycles. The first page of a cycle kicks off with a theme such as "the players" or "the strip" and provides a lively mixture of information and maths or English exercises. This is followed by a "training and practice" page, which focuses on a particular mathematical or English topic such as place value or parts of speech.
Thus prepared, the children tackle the "match" page - a test in which "goals" can be scored.
A broadrange of key stage 2 maths and English is competently covered, although - being aimed primarily at the home market - there are no national curriculum or numeracy or literacy strategy references.
Apart from the themed pages, the relationship between the maths or English and football tends to be superficial - matching number words on club scarves to numerals on boots, for example; or a wordsearch using a goal net as the grid.
They are a little pricey, but they come with full-colour attractive artwork and photographs on good quality paper. Liverpool supporters may feel miffed that their series warrants only four books per subject. But the range of work covered is roughly the same in both series - it's just that Liverpool fans are expected to make speedier progress.
Paul Harrison is a maths writer and consultant