The FA and the Youth Sport Trust have released new figures which reveal how more girls are being inspired into football during National School Sport Week.
As England prepare to face Belgium in the FIFA World Cup today, the FA and Youth Sport Trust are celebrating engaging hundreds of young female football activators through the Game of Our Own partnership during National School Sport Week.
The FA is striving to increase the number of girls and women playing football across the country as part of its Gameplan for Growth strategy, which aims to double the number of females participating in football by 2020.
The interim report of the first six months of the new Game of Our Own programme has shown it has already trained 500 Football Activators this year from over 90 schools across England, which will lead to reaching over 10,000 girls.
The Gameplan for Growth programme aims to:
- Increase participation in football by removing social barriers and changing perceptions.
- Use role modelling (both by the teachers and the girls) to bring about year on year growth of girls’ football through cascade leadership.
- Increase knowledge, understanding and confidence of how to use football to explicitly target character traits and skills.
The initial feedback from schools has revealed that whether girls viewed football as a boys’ sport depended on whether they participated or not. It showed there was a correlation between those that participate feeling that it is a sport for girls too, and those that don’t participate feeling it is a sport for boys. By being involved in the Game of Our Own programme, some schools have already reported a change in the perception of girls’ football.
Initially they viewed it as a boys' sport and 'I don't want to do a boys' sport'. They were really put off by boys being anywhere near them when doing football, and didn't want to be seen as a Tomboy. The change has been immense in the last few months.
Project Lead on Game of Our Own
Several school leads stated that having football on the girls’ curriculum is the best way to challenge the stereotypes that football is just for boys. Being on the curriculum over a series of weeks means that girls will be able to give it a fair chance as a sport, and they are more likely to be properly challenged in their perception that it’s a boys’ sport and not for them.
As part of National School Sport Week, hundreds of thousands of schools have been celebrating PE and schools can still register for the free resources available from the FA, Youth Sport Trust and its partners by visiting www.youthsporttrust.org/national-school-sport-week
Schools taking part in the Youth Sport Trust's National School Sport Week can also fundraise for the children's charity by visiting wwww.everydayhero.co.uk/event/nssw-schools
*Findings taken from the Youth Sport Trust Evaluation of Girls Football Programmes (interim report April 2018). The full report will be released in Autumn 2018.