Girls at Laisterdyke Leadership Academy marked Girls’ Football Week with a kick-ups challenge and an inter-school tournament.

Pupils from Year 7 up to Year 11 all had the chance to take part in a day of football matches, before battling against one another to notch up the most kick-ups.

Girls’ Football Week is the FA’s national campaign aimed at raising the profile of women’s football and supporting their aim of doubling the number of women and girls playing football by 2020.

Tara Walker, a PE teacher at Laisterdyke, commented,

“Our girls embraced the opportunity to get out onto the football field during Girls’ Football Week, with many girls who wouldn’t normally participate in after school clubs attending the activities. The number of girls enjoying playing football at Laisterdyke has given me a massive boost and I am entering five year group football teams into a local tournament.


“Through the FA’s programme, over the coming months pupils will have the chance to get involved in roles off the pitch to help manage and lead our school football teams.”

Pupil Qurra Kazmi said,

“Having the opportunity to play football at lunchtime and after school has helped me to develop my skills further. It’s also helpful to work with younger pupils as a sports ambassador promoting my love of football and encouraging girls to participate more.”

Girls at Laisterdyke Leadership Academy are set to benefit from a unique partnership between the FA and Star Academies, the multi-academy trust to which the school belongs.

Star Academies has recently been designated as an FA Girls’ Area Hub, joining a network of organisations that support and deliver girls’ football across England. As a hot spot for growth and development of girls’ football, the Trust Area Hub commits to working with the FA to change perceptions and social barriers to participation and to create a strong, inclusive and engaging programme of activities.

Kate Hebden, the Trust’s Head of Pupil Leadership Specialism, commented,

“As the first multi-academy trust to become an FA Girls’ Area Hub, Star Academies’ 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 through the Girls’ Area Hub programme 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 CPD 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.”

The FA Girls’ Area Hub programme, delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, takes learning opportunities through football way beyond the pitch.

The primary school programme, Active Literacy, aims to engage girls aged five to seven years in creative play and boost their literacy skills through football themed activities.

In secondary schools, the Game of Our Own programme empowers girls in Years 7 to 9 to set up and run their own football club as an after school activity. Aside from the players, many leadership roles are available to pupils including coach and event manager. Funding is also available to support pupils in the running of their clubs. In addition, teachers deliver character development sessions through their core curriculum PE that help pupils’ gain vital life skills such as motivating others, communication, empathy and leadership.