Pupils brought to book by famous football author

    Dan Freedman pays St Gregory’s school a visit for an inspiring literary talk

    TUNBRIDGE WELLS’ catholic comprehensive welcomed former football Association (FA) journalist turned author Dan Freedman at the end of last month. He spoke to 180 year 7 students, about his childhood dream of becoming a professional footballer and his experiences as an FA journalist where he met and interviewed some of the world’s best players including David Beckham and Lionel Messi.

    Dan also chatted about how doing his FA job inspired him to write his first book – the tale of a young boy named Jamie Johnson, who dreams of becoming a famous footballer. There are now seven books in the successful series with the first instalment, Born To Play, being made into a CBBC television show, their first football themed children’s drama for 30 years.

    The author commented: “Girls and boys alike are intrigued by the fact that I got to meet and interview stars of the pitch, but I feel the most important message I can give the students is how much I now love reading and writing books.”

    After speaking to the year 7 group, the author spent time with students from the school’s prestigious Football Academy which boasts 30 boys and girls. As well as nurturing their passion and ability for playing football, the school, which is Ofsted Outstanding, gives these pupils the opportunity to train and use football as a vehicle for learning as part of a project. The Football Academy has been so successful that St Gregory’s is launching a Language Academy in September 2017 for Year 7 students where they will learn Mandarin.

    Dan has also helped develop the school’s literacy scheme of work for the Accelerated Competence Experience (ACE) Football Academy based around one of his Jamie Johnson books.