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PL Primary Stars

Five years of PL Primary Stars: William's story

20 Jun 2022
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How working with Leicester in the Community has helped one Year 6 pupil find his voice

As part of the Premier League celebrating five years of Premier League Primary Stars, clubs running the school programme have nominated a "Superstar" - a young person or teacher who has inspired others through their dedication to the scheme, enthusiasm and own personal development.

William (Leicester City)

Football can be a great way for youngsters to express themselves on the pitch, but for Year 6 student William, it has finally given him a voice that he longed for off the field.

A pupil at Alderman Richard Hallam Primary School, William has selective mutism and in his early school days would often communicate by clapping his hands or pointing to get attention from teachers and classmates.

Now, after five years as a participant of the Premier League Primary Stars programme with Leicester City in the Community (LCitC), he can string full sentences together, have conversations with others and participate in full PE lessons.

His progress has been nothing short of sensational.

"Leicester City have helped me grow my confidence and make friends along the way"

PL Primary Stars participant William

"We very quickly identified through his support staff that he [William] had a love of football and of sport in general," says Tom Twigg, football development coach at Leicester in the Community.

"It became a vehicle to allow him to develop those communication skills within school."

For William, the opportunity to work one-to-one with LCitC and his class teacher has been a hugely positive experience.

"As soon as I started work with Leicester City, they have helped me make new friends and to talk to them more," says William.

Lynn Hollowood, a special education needs and disability teaching assistant, has watched William's development with delight.

"I'd go into class and the only time I saw him with a smile on his face was when he got a football," says Lynn. "He was playing football with the older ones and the clapping then slowly went away, and then one day he just started to speak. So actually, football gave him his voice."

The work of Leicester City in the Community extends to engaging with 164 schools in their locality, delivering nearly 1,400 sessions to targeted groups.

They have enthusiastically supported the Premier League Primary Stars programme, which works with 105 professional football clubs from across the leagues, running in-classroom sessions in local schools.

Their PL Primary Stars work is not designed for the classroom only. William recently joined other participants to take part in the national PL Primary Stars tournament at Watford's Vicarage Road stadium.

"It was a great experience and a brilliant day....and I scored a goal!" says William.

"Leicester City have helped me grow my confidence and make friends along the way. They mean everything to me."

Also in this series

Part 1: Premier League celebrates five years of Primary Stars
Part 3: Harry's story (Forest Green Rovers)
Part 4: Stephanie's story (Charlton Athletic)
Part 5: Faizan's story (Burnley)
Part 6: Godolphin Academy's story
Part 7: Freya's story (Newport County)
Part 8: Delia's story (Everton)

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