- English Schools’ Football Association reaches record levels of Schools’ Football Week participation figures
- Over 143,000 pupils are due to benefit from Schools’ Football activity from 7 – 13 February 2022 as part of the SFW initiative, in association with Haier
- Over 57,000 girls will take part in activity as a result of the 2022 campaign
Schools’ Football Week (SFW), in association with Haier, is an ongoing English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) initiative designed as an opportunity for schools and other football providers from across the country to embrace schools’ football and the wellbeing benefits it provides to pupils and players. It celebrates the importance of schools’ football, competitive or otherwise, to pupils across England and provides teachers and coaches with tools and a motivation to further discuss the benefits of schools’ football within their educational environment.
The ESFA, in association with Haier, has been encouraging schools, Associations, clubs and teams to introduce some football-related activity into their educational environments this February. The registration data received by the ESFA shows that record numbers of school pupils in England will benefit from activity between the 7th – 13th February 2022:
- Over 143,000 pupils are taking part in some type of Schools’ Football activity (compared to 106,000 in 2021)
- Over 57,000 girls will be benefitting from football-based activity
- Over 815 schools will be running girls’ specific activity as a result of the campaign (compared to 491 in 2021)
Schools’ Football Week isn’t just a tool to help introduce schools’ football during a dedicated timeframe. The ESFA has also chosen to include an additional focus on girls’ football for 2022 and registration data has shown that:
- 582 schools are promoting girls’ football during SFW, specifically in line with the campaign
- 496 schools already regularly run a girls’ team at their school
- Over 400 schools are interested in starting up girls’ football activity in the future
Pupils across England will take part in activities such as inter and intra school football matches, coaching sessions and breaktime events. While some secondary schools have signed up for Careers Sessions from ESFA Higher Education Partners, UCFB (University Campus of Football Business) and in-school talks from ESFA Charitable Partner, The Oddballs Foundation.
In addition to championing girls’ football this season, Schools’ Football Week 2022 is highlighting some extra ESFA events, including –
- Premiering a live draw for 28 National Schools’ Cup Competitions from U12 – U18 age groups on Monday 7th February, streamed via the ESFA TV YouTube channel from 5pm
- Sharing a video created by the Department for Education, showcasing the inspirational story of a young footballer at a Primary School in London
- Celebrating and promoting the Deaf Schools’ Finals, which take place at Derby Soccerdome on Tuesday 8 February
The ESFA has worked with Louise White from the Royal School for the Deaf in Derby to create some informative videos about the Deaf Schools’ Finals event. Louise said, “We hope that by talking about the Deaf Schools’ Finals during Schools’ Football Week, it may encourage other Deaf Schools, or schools with Hearing Impaired Units to take part in future years.”
The overarching Schools’ Football Week campaign isn’t designed to focus on competitive football, but the wide-ranging benefits that being part of a team can have on school age children in England. For example, SFW aims to bring together opportunities for schools to bring football off the pitch and into classrooms, providing learning resources from other ESFA partners that can be useful tools to engage pupils in the wider world of football. For example, ESFA partners, Panini have created some fantastic worksheets based on girls’ football, full of facts, figures and activities for pupils to enjoy.
Those taking part have been asked to share their activity via social media, tagging @SchoolsFootball, Haier and the Department for Education and using the hashtag #schoolsfootballweek from the 7th – 13th February.
Mark Hignett, ESFA Chairman said “On behalf of the English Schools’ Football Association, I am delighted to welcome Haier on board for Schools’ Football Week. It is fantastic to see how this campaign has grown in popularity over the last few years and to now have the initiative backed by a worldwide brand is another positive step for our Association.
Schools’ Football Week provides an opportunity to showcase the importance of schools’ football in England and February 2022 will provide the next instalment of this wonderful initiative. Children missed out on so many opportunities throughout 2020 and 2021 due to the global pandemic and the ESFA has seen, first hand, how much schools and associations had missed these opportunities to bring together children with a shared passion of football and all that it entails.
There is so much activity happening out there, be it within schools, districts, counties or internationally and with it comes a diverse range of opportunities for a diverse range of children. We want to highlight all of the wonderful work that goes on in England to nurture these young players and help them to continue on their journey with football, wherever it may take them.”
Antony Peart, Director of Brand and Communications UK and ROI at Haier said “We are pleased to have partnered with the ESFA. Their initiative is fantastic, helping and encouraging children to peruse healthy lifestyles, play football and enjoy team morale. At Haier we understand that 2020/21 was a very difficult time for all, which is one of the many reasons why we really wanted to support and work in partnership with an Association that can help bring sports and joy back into children’s daily routine.”
The ESFA and Haier will work together to create fantastic Schools’ Football Week opportunities in 2022.
The National Governing Body for Schools’ Football in England.