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Soccer-mad young girls are winners as Stamford Hill free school forms partnership with FA

PUBLISHED: 10:36 22 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:36 22 November 2017

Year 3 pupils Zaynah Sultan and Ayesha Najam give the thumbs up to Olive School's girls’ football plans. Photo by  Olive School

Year 3 pupils Zaynah Sultan and Ayesha Najam give the thumbs up to Olive School's girls’ football plans. Photo by Olive School

Archant

Empowering soccer-mad young girls is a chief aim of a Stamford Hill free school chosen to kick off a new partnership with the Football Association (FA).

As part of a national campaign to raise the profile of women’s football across the country, Olive School students – in Years 3 to 6 – played matches and were taught the basics of dribbling, passing and shooting.

The Tauheedul Education Trust, of which the Cazenove Road school is a member, is the first multi-academy trust to be designated as an FA “girls’ area hub programme” – meaning opportunities for young girls to get involved with football will be plentiful over the coming year.

The trust’s Kate Hebden said: “Our trust’s schools will have access to programmes developed by the FA to encourage more girls to get involved in the beautiful game, and not only as players.

“We aim to empower our female pupils to get involved in the sport both on and off the pitch, developing leadership skills and character traits that will stay with them for life. The FA’s aim is also to inspire more young women to consider careers in football.

“Staff in the schools taking part in the programme will also have access to FA-accredited courses leading to qualifications in sports coaching. The trust will also be in a position to help the FA develop best practice for extending the programme.”

In a bid to double the number of young girls and women playing football by 2020, the FA believes primary-age students will benefit most from more time on the pitch.

Speaking after the day dedicated to football, which was run by the Barnet Sports Foundation and took place earlier this month, deputy principal Nicola Mainwaring said: “Our pupils were really enthusiastic about getting involved in our football day during girls’ football week.

“Over the coming months we will be developing our girls’ football provision in school, as well as engaging girls aged between five and seven in creative play and boosting their literacy skills through football-themed activities.”

The FA’s programme is not restricted to primary-age children, with Hackney’s secondary schools being encouraged to let their students in Years 7 to 9 set up and run their own football club as an after-school activity.

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