About Skills Academy

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Find out more about Skills Academy!

Do your students spend hours practising their football skills, but don’t transfer that commitment to the classroom?

The National Literacy Trust’s Skills Academy programme is based on the success of Premier League Reading Stars. It helps Year 7 & 8 students struggling with their reading increase their comprehension skills, reading stamina and motivation to read and delivers key objectives from the KS3 national curriculum.  

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Students complete reading challenges and are rewarded with how-to videos of impressive football tricks. The tricks are demonstrated by top freestyle footballers.

Schools across the country are taking part in Skills Academy. The 10-session programme provides schools with free books, free classroom materials including bookmarks, stickers and posters, and access to free football-themed events.

You can register an unlimited number of students on the Skills Academy website. Try out Skills Academy before you buy it, with a free lesson plan, sample challengeassessment grid and instructional football skills video.


How much does Skills Academy cost and what do I get?

Skills Academy costs just £200*. If you run Skills Academy with 20 students, this works out at £10 per student. The programme is exclusive to National Literacy Trust members. For £200 you will receive:

  • one year's access to online comprehension challenges and rewards for your students
  • 10 easy to follow curriculum-linked lesson plans, including a vocabulary builder and guidance notes
  • 20 copies of Keeper by Mal Peet and reading tracker bookmarks
  • motivational posters and stickers
  • entry into a prize draw for an event with a freestyle footballer and an author

Downloadable versions of the resources and unlimited student sign-up to the Skills Academy website provides even greater value for money if you choose to run the intervention for more than 20.

Buy Skills Academy now

*If you are not already a member of the National Literacy Trust you will need to purchase a year's membership which costs £100. Members receive: discounts for programmes, CPD, books and more; a wealth of exclusive literacy resources and tools; access to a community of teaching expertise. Find out more about the benefits of becoming a member of the National Literacy Trust

 Which students is Skills Academy aimed at?

Skills Academy is for Year 7 and 8 students who are struggling to reach required levels in reading.

What impact will Skills Academy have on my pupils?

Skills Academy will enable students who have arrived from primary school with reading comprehension skills below the national average to increase their comprehension skills, reading stamina and motivation to read.

The intervention comes with assessment tools: (i) an assessment grid to capture students’ progress in comprehension skills (ii) a pre and post student voice questionnaire to capture attitudinal changes.

The National Literacy Trust is running reading tests with students so that we can identify any changes in reading levels as a result of taking part in the intervention. Our interim research has shown that 1 in 3 participating pupils have improved their reading age by an average of 11 months.  

Read our success story written by an English teacher delivering Skills Aacademy which shows how the intervention has increased the reading ages of her students. 

How many children can take part?

As many as you like. The 20 books can be re-used and, when you run out of bookmarks and posters you can download more copies and print them yourself. Limitless number of students can be registered on the micro-site for the year that you are registered.

What equipment/space do I need to deliver this?

You’ll need classroom space for lessons, ideally with access to computers or tablets. However, downloadable paper version of the intervention will also work which are supplied as part of the programme. Having a sports hall and outside space, as well as footballs, for practising the freestyle football skills is ideal but not essential, as this element can be done by students in their own time.

How is Skills Academy linked to the national curriculum?

Skills Academy helps you to deliver outcomes from the English programmes of study for Key Stage 3 from the national curriculum in England. You can download this document to find out more. 

Can Skills Academy have a cross-curricular reach?

Yes. Both English and P.E. departments can get involved in Skills Academy. Football techniques covered in these lessons will be useful for students who go on to become P.E. students. P.E. staff can also help students to learn the freestyle football skills.

P.E. teachers involved in the programme will gain useful knowledge to support their teaching of the reading demands for the new P.E. GCSE specification.

Other sport & literacy offers

  • Literacy with the Lionesses: 

    Get your pupils behind the England Lionesses at the Women’s Euros with Literacy with the Lionesses, the new teachers’ toolkit from the FA and National Literacy Trust

    Available to download now! 

  • Premier League Primary Stars: 

    English resources for Key Stage 1 & Key Stage 2 teachers, including the flagship 10 week reading intervention Premier League Reading Stars. Find out more