Video/Gallery: Teachers and pupils gather at Portman Road as the Ipswich Star World Cup Challenge launches with a live draw

Schools from across the county attended the Ipswich Star World Cup Draw at Portman Road. Schools from across the county attended the Ipswich Star World Cup Draw at Portman Road.

Thursday, June 5, 2014
5:55 PM

Teachers and excited pupils gathered at Portman Road today to find out which country they have been paired up with in the inaugural Ipswich Star World Cup Challenge.

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Town striker Alan Lee and former Blues midfielder Simon Milton carried out the live draw at the club’s training pitch as 26 primary schools were teamed up with nations competing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

See our photo gallery here.

Each school will encourage their pupils to find out more about their adopted country through themed lessons during the four-week tournament, which kicks off next Thursday.

They will learn about the country’s history, culture and values. Food-tasting and music-inspired activities will also help the children gain a greater appreciation of their paired country.

Highlights of the draw included Halifax Primary School being united with England, Hillside Community Primary School getting World Cup holders Spain, and The Oaks Primary School being matched with Italy, the 2006 winners.

But the loudest cheer of the day came when Stutton C of E VCP School landed Brazil, who have won the World Cup five times and are favourites to win it again.

Headteacher Wendy Worley and Year Five and Six teacher Helen Oldham admitted they were “ecstatic” with getting the host nation.

Plans to help their pupils learn about the country include organising a Brazilian-styled five-a-side football tournament and studying its music, artwork and literature.

“It is a really interesting country and the children will enjoy learning about it,” Mrs Oldham said.

“They can learn about how different people in a different country live. In Brazil, people who live in poverty still enjoy themselves.”

Pupils Jed Cooper and Gabby Naylor erupted with joy when Brazil was read out.

Year Five pupil Jed said: “I couldn’t believe we got the host nation. They have great players like Hulk and Neymar, and I’m really looking forward to finding out more about the country. It has huge snakes and spiders.”

Subsequent World Cup events held by all 26 schools to celebrate their chosen countries will be covered in the Ipswich Star over the coming weeks.

Schools will also track the progress of their country throughout the tournament.

Ian Plowman, Year Six teacher at Sprites Community Primary School, which was paired with Ghana, said the school will take advantage of the competition to inspire the youngsters to learn about the African country.

“The challenge gives us the perfect opportunity to help the children learn about the artwork and culture of another country and we will use it across the curriculum,” he said.

James Black, a teaching assistant for Year Six at Springfield Junior School, which pulled Cameroon out of the hat, said: “The contest is a really good idea. It is something different which will get the children interested in another country.

“There is a bit of geography at school but it is not a huge part of the curriculum, so it will help with that. All of the children are excited about the World Cup and I think it is good they will follow another country as well as England.”

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