Ipswich: The Ipswich Star World Cup Challenge for primary schools launches today at Portman Road

Each school will help their pupils find out more about their chosen country through themed lessons a

Each school will help their pupils find out more about their chosen country through themed lessons and activities. - Credit: AP

The Ipswich Star is today launching a World Cup competition for primary schools, encouraging children to learn about the history, values and cultures of different countries.

Town striker Alan Lee and former Blues midfielder Simon Milton will carry out the draw at Portman Road, pairing 26 primary schools in Ipswich with nations competing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Each school will then help their pupils find out more about their chosen country through themed lessons and activities.

Jacqui Frost, headteacher of Whitehouse Community Primary School in Marlow Road, said she hopes pupils are inspired by the contest.

“I think it is really important for children to be aware of current events beyond their own environments and we are hoping to use this as a springboard for them to learn about another country and do something inspiring,” she said.

“It is a necessity they learn about another culture and, depending on which country we get today, we will hold special assemblies, maybe invite native speakers of that country, and arrange different activities including artwork, music and food-tasting sessions.

“Hopefully the children will look back in years to come and remember they did X, Y and Z at school during the 2014 World Cup.”

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With 26 schools signed up, and 32 nations at the tournament, the Star has weeded out the six countries thought to have the lowest chance of winning.

The World Cup starts next Thursday, when hosts Brazil take on Croatia (9pm), and finishes on Sunday, July 13. England kick-start their campaign against Italy at 11pm on Saturday next week.

Terry Hunt, Star editor, said: “I’m delighted that so many schools are taking part in the Ipswich Star World Cup Challenge.

“It will help the children to learn more about the country they are allocated, it will be great fun – and one of the schools will end up being a World Cup winner!”

Simon Milton, who scored 55 goals in 332 appearances for Town and is now the club’s academy sponsorship manager, said he and Alan are thrilled to help out with the competition.

“Pairing each participating school with a country involved in the competition will be an excellent way of using the global event to encourage children to learn about different cultures from all over the world,” he said.