Case Study / May 2, 2018

Premier League

Primary Stars

The Premier League’s most ambitious community initiative to date
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The Premier League’s largest public engagement campaign Primary Stars uses football to inspire learning. It provides curriculum-linked educational resources and in-classroom support for teachers in more than 15,000 primary schools across in England and Wales.

2017 the programme received the Premier League’s first-ever TV advert, with footballers reciting William Hickson’s poem ‘Try, Try Again’, to drive further awareness of Primary Stars delivery across subjects beyond PE, such as literacy.

Resilience is a trait at the heart of William Hickson’s poem and the Premier League Primary Stars programme which uses football to teach children the value of resilience


Creative writing provides a platform for children of all abilities to express themselves.

The Idea 

‘Premier League Writing Stars’ a national poetry competition which would challenge children aged 5-11 to write their own original poems themed around the value of resilience, in order to score inspiring football prizes.


A judging panel including football figures Yannick Bolasie and Frank Lampard alongside literacy stars Lauren Child and Caleb Femi was assembled to select winning poems in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.

Ambassadors including Frank Lampard, Pixie Lott and a host of Premier League footballers visited primary schools around the country to compete with school children in ‘Rhyme Battles’ and inspire competition entries.

Prize presentations for 20 regional winners and two national Writing Stars winners were completed at their schools, with football players (and mascots) in attendance for photo opportunities to increase PR cut through.

Selected Writing Stars poems have been published as a collection in the Premier League’s first-ever poetry book, complete with illustrations from a renowned children’s artist. Writing Stars prize winners were also celebrated at a national event, held for Premier League stakeholders and media at a primary school in London.


More than 25,000 children submitted poems, making it the National Literacy Trust most popular ever contest (by more than 500%).

125 pieces of positive sentiment media coverage secured, including:

  • 21 broadcast
  • 47 print
  • 108 online

Celebrities from Alan Shearer to Rachel Riley to Ben Shephard were inspired by the campaign to write and share their own poems, too.