Vale Park hosted children from Oxhey First School in Biddulph last week, as the children enjoyed an educational trip into the football club’s pastThe group of boys aged between five and seven - who are part of the Boys Only Bookclub (BOB) created by teacher Liz Holt – relished in the history of the Valiants, enjoying a literacy lesson from the club’s Head of Education, Chris Taylor.
During the day the pupils looked at some old football artefacts including a pair of studded boots, photographs of an old team and an old leather football before discussing the differences between those items and the ones footballers use today.
Oxhey’s More-able and Talented Co-ordinator, Holt expressed her delight at the educational experience that the club offered.
“Chris gave the students a tour of the stadium whilst educating the children with a number of interesting facts about the football club that they had to recall to write about on their return to the classroom.
“The key message to the boys was to aim high with their literacy skills in order to achieve their lifetime goals. The case studies of Adam Yates and Chris Birchall were used to show examples of the boys' sporting role-models achieving degrees.
“The boys were presented with a Vale Juniors money box, which also reminded them of the financial incentive to save and prepare for the future.”
BOB is a group set up to encourage some of the more reluctant male readers to engage in reading, to enjoy it more and see it as a valuable and in-trend life skill.
The group’s visit helped to reinforce that message to the children, with three of those children - Harry, Finley and Jack - revealing how much they enjoyed the visit.
"I really enjoyed going on the pitch-side. It was interesting hearing the facts about the ground and seeing the old-fashioned boots and ball. I know I have to keep working hard with my reading and writing if I want to get a good job or go to University."
"It was a cool afternoon! I loved going on the pitch and I liked writing about the things we saw."
"It was awesome going inside the stadium and sitting in the dug-outs. I want to go to university like some of the Vale Players."
This was the second event that BOB have attended this year with Holt also bringing along another group of pupils last February for a reading activity based on some of the archived newspaper articles about the club.
The pupils revelled in a talk about the importance of literacy skills for footballers, before meeting manager Rob Page, who enjoyed a chat with the boys before signing autographs to add to the memorable day.
Holt added that she is delighted with the service that the club has offered to the school.
“Through our links with Chris and PVFC our school has also participated in the Y5 More-Able and Talented day and we have taken a group of more-able artists to Staffordshire Creamware for a pottery master-class with the support of Chris.
"We aim to maintain the strong link we have now developed with PVFC and are very appreciative of the opportunities provided.”