THERE are many ways experts believe schoolchildren can improve their grades, from eating fish to learning exam techniques.

But now Bolton Council believes a good game of crown green bowling can do the trick.

A new facility, the Crown Green Zone, has been set up at Leverhulme Park Community Club.

Veteran coaches from bowling clubs give up their time voluntarily to work with the children, teaching them bowling etiquette and how to apply the rules of the game.

The youngsters also develop their mathematical, strategical and team-building skills as they learn how to score a game and plan for success. Once they have learned the sport, they spend two hours studying in a state-of-the-art computer suite.

According to the council, it will help the children develop higher levels of motivation and self-esteem while also having fun.

It also helps them to improve their literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology skills.

The zone is part of the national Playing For Success scheme established by the Department for Education and Skills.

It complements Bolton's other initiative, Study@bwfc, which has been based at the Reebok Stadium since 1999 and has helped children to improve their achievements in core subjects, as well as giving them the opportunity to meet Wanderers' star players.

The aim of the Crown Green Zone and Study@bwfc is to raise achievement levels at Key Stage 2 and 3 - when children reach the ages of 11 and 14.

Children are now booking their places for this year through to 2008, and more volunteers are needed to help teach bowling skills.

Cllr Linda Thomas, Bolton's executive member for children's services, said: "The zone is an excellent learning facility for the young people and is proving to be just as popular as Study@bwfc.

"Pupils receive dedicated training in the three vital areas of literacy, numeracy and ICT, but in a fun environment.

"They also build up invaluable relationships with some of the older members of society, who are more than willing to give up their time to help.

"Maybe we will see some of the youngsters develop into the sportsmen and women of tomorrow."

Volunteers will receive full training, but an interest in crown green bowling would be an advantage.

For information, contact Janet Rhodes, centre manager, on 01204 669911.