Rio Ferdinand swaps the changing room for the classroom
Web Team | 9th October 2020
BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand, 41, is the face of a football-inspired educational campaign to boost confidence with numbers.
He has teamed up with official UEFA Champions League partner Santander and online educational publisher Twinkl to launch The Numbers Game Champions Challenge Cards.
The free-to-download football-themed maths videos and maths learning materials reflect the curriculum taught in Britain’s classrooms.
Targeting schoolchildren aged between 5 and 14, the ‘challenge cards’ will feature 44 of Europe’s finest footballers appearing as caricatures and animations in 11 promotional films hosted by the former England captain.
Ferdinand, who won the UEFA Champions League with Man United, said: “As a dad of three school-aged children, with a son on the way, I’m very passionate about making sure that kids have the best education possible.
“The home-schooling experience during lockdown really opened my eyes to how challenging it can be to get children engaged with their schoolwork, especially maths.
“The beautiful game of football is made up entirely of numbers and has the transformative power to motivate children as much inside the classroom as it can outdoors.”
Ferdinand’s involvement follows research by Santander UK, which found modern parents now use football statistics, road signs and shopping trips to improve their children’s maths skills.
A study of 1,000 parents and 1,000 children, aged 6-14, found everyday experiences like counting money or certain coloured cars in traffic, as well as sports stats, were among the most popular ways to engage children with numbers.
And 69 per cent said sport, and understanding match and players statistics in particular, was helpful in getting their kids better understand maths.
The Numbers Game platform was first developed in 2019, in partnership with the bank’s official charity partner, National Numeracy, which is an independent charity committed to transforming number confidence and competence in adults and children.
As a nationwide, educational, football-themed roadshow, The Numbers Game aimed to help people to enjoy and feel more comfortable working with numbers.
Since then, the roadshow has visited 12 UK cities, engaging over 30,000 people.
Nathan Bostock, CEO of Santander UK, said: “By bringing the excitement of the UEFA Champions League into learning, it ensures children can develop their numeracy skills in a way which is both educational and entertaining.”
Twinkl houses over 660,000 educational materials for parents, teachers and carers to support the learning of children and young people.