FOOTBALL stars have scored with numbers during a school project for pupils.

Hartlepool United Football Club and Hartlepool council have hailed the project as a success following this year's report.

The Playing for Success initiative involves children from primary, secondary and special schools in the town attending an improvement study support centre at Victoria Park.

The 2004-5 annual report shows that 18 Hartlepool schools participated in the programme, which concentrates on improving numeracy, literacy and computer skills.

The report says: "Attending the programme was a positive experience for pupils, with 96 per cent enjoying it.

"The most enjoyable aspect of the programme for pupils was meeting Hartlepool United players and working with the computer equipment."

Pupils felt they had made the most progress in numeracy, with 91 per cent feeling their skills had improved, compared to 89 per cent for literacy and 87 per cent for computer skills.

To help provide pupils with individual assistance at the centre, mentors have been recruited who work on a voluntary basis.

Earlier this month, the initiative held an open week, which involved players Eifion Williams and Antony Sweeney attending a literacy class.

Dawn Gilderoy, the council's curriculum enrichment co-ordinator said: "Hartlepool United has fully embraced the Playing for Success programme, and we do get very positive feedback from school children who attend the sessions."

Playing for Success is a national initiative which is backed by the Government and the Football Foundation. It was launched in Hartlepool in 2003.

Recent test results for 11-year-olds showed that Hartlepool pupils have improved more than anywhere else in the country over the past two years. GCSE results in the town for 2005 were also the best ever.