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News story

Jude Yawson hosts our brand new video series Game Changers: True Stories to inspire excluded young people through literacy

28 Sep 2020

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Today, as part of our Game Changers programme which boosts the reading skills and life chances of excluded young people aged 11-14 through the power of football, we launch Game Changers: True Stories.

The video series, developed in partnership with OWN IT!, features 10 minute interviews with inspiring role models about their experiences of exclusion and how literacy played an important role in their journeys to success.

We will publish the video interviews weekly on Zone In. The series aims to help young people who have been excluded or are at risk of exclusion to understand that they have choices in their futures, as interviewees reflect on their personal stories, experiences and how literacy played a role in getting them to where they are today.

Teachers can also download free, reading-focused worksheets accompanying each video. Each worksheet aims to show excluded students how they can find inspiration in stories and texts that are relatable to them and their own experiences.

The series is hosted by Jude Yawson, who was excluded from mainstream education at the age of 13 after an altercation with a teacher. While Yawson was attending a pupil referral unit, he took comfort in writing and would contribute to philosophy forums and write and make movies on the computer. He discovered writing as a way to channel and articulate his experiences.

After achieving nine GCSEs despite his exclusion, Yawson went on to complete A Levels, a degree in philosophy, a Masters in cultural studies and is now a successful writer and poet. His achievements include editing and co-authoring Stormzy’s 2018 memoir Rise up: The #Merky Story So Far, published by Penguin Random House imprint #Merky Books.

Over the next three weeks, the series will feature interviews with:

  • Derek Owusu, winner of the Desmond Elliott prize for his debut novel, That Reminds Me (#Merky Books) and founder of the Mostly Lit podcast
  • Nile Ranger, footballer who has played for Newcastle United, Swindon Town, Blackpool and Southend United
  • Shauna O’Briain aka MC Angel, spoken word artist, hip hop MC and author of Moments of Significance: A Memoir (OWN IT!)

Game Changers: True Stories is part of our Game Changers programme. Funded by BT Supporters Club and supported by 15 football clubs across the English Football League, Game Changers aims to motivate excluded young people to read and overcome barriers to educational success. The Game Changers: True Stories series is the latest initiative to use the inspirational power of role models to help excluded young people understand the importance of literacy and re-imagine their futures.

This project is all about showing students who have experienced exclusion that their story is still only just beginning. We’ve found students connect with and take inspiration from people who they can relate to, those who have been in their shoes. We have a brilliant line up of interviewees who explain in their own words how they have gone on to achieve great things in a career and personal capacity and how skills you learn in school such as reading, writing and communication can help you succeed.

Kyle Turakhia, Game Changers Project Manager

To watch the series trailer, featuring Jude Yawson visiting his old pupil referral unit click here.

Teachers can find supporting resources linked to each video here.

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