This summer, the ESFA and Panini partnered up in a variation to their usual Classroom Challenge activity to celebrate girls’ football, ahead of the Women’s EUROs.
Over 500 schools registered girls’ football activity as part of the ESFA’s Schools’ Football Week in February 2022. To reward their dedication, Panini offered them the opportunity to receive UEFA™ Women’s EURO England 2022 Official Sticker Collection goodies and the chance to be entered into a ballot to win a football kit for their school.
Stoke Poges School from Slough were the lucky winners, and in the new school year they received a visit from Panini plus former England Women and Arsenal player Faye White to celebrate their success! The whole school enjoyed a Panini assembly, delving into the rich history of the iconic company, followed by a Q&A session with Faye White – helping to further inspire pupils to achieve their footballing dreams.
Mark O’Donnell, football co-ordinator at Stoke Poges School, said, “We were surprised, delighted and truly grateful when the ESFA contacted us with news that we had been awarded a brand-new Panini-sponsored football kit following our support and efforts in encouraging more girls to play football at Stoke Poges School. For the school to then be able to welcome Faye White, a true Arsenal and England captain and legend, into our school to discuss her career, her challenges, answer our questions so brilliantly and then present our superb new kit, has left an incredible impression on every pupil in the school and will inspire them for years to come. Thank you very much to the ESFA and Panini for this fantastic prize and we will wear our new kit with pride!”
Nick Clark, Special Projects Editor at Panini said, “It was such a great morning, getting to share how we make Panini stickers and trading cards with the children from Stoke Poges School. Not only did they win a new kit, but they also got to meet England and Arsenal legend Faye White, and asked lots of brilliant questions. We hope the team enjoys playing in their new Panini-sponsored shirts, and best of luck for their games ahead.”
The ESFA and Panini have been working in partnership for a number of years with primary schools across England, promoting the importance of schools’ football not just on the pitch or the playground, but in the classroom too. The Panini Classroom Challenge has seen thousands of schools receive worksheets and goodies, allowing schools the opportunity to use Panini items as part of a reward system, and giving pupils the chance to win cash for their school by designing creative artwork across a variety of themes.
Stuart Botham, ESFA Chair, said, “The partnership between the ESFA and Panini allows our organisations to create opportunities for primary-school children in England to gain a different understanding of football within the classroom – something that is strongly connected to the ESFA’s mission. We were delighted to see the creation of an ESFA- and Panini-branded football kit this year and to be able to use this to reward Stoke Poges School for their dedication to growing girls’ football within their community. To have Faye White in attendance at the school was another fantastic addition to the presentation, too. We hope they continue to keep up the good work and that this story may help to inspire other schools to do the same.
Faye White, former Arsenal and England legend, helped the school to celebrate the occasion by taking part in a Q&A with pupils. She said, “What a great morning it was getting to meet all the pupils at Stoke Poges, along with answering some brilliant questions from some of the pupils. It’s amazing to see so many girls taking part in the girls’ football team and I am sure they are going to look and feel great in the new kit they won from Panini. Hopefully it will inspire them to put in some great performances in the rest of their games this year. It was lovely to spend some time with the team and hear about all the reasons they love playing the game.”
The latest Classroom Challenge is in full swing across the country, with colourful entries flying in from schools, as pupils take up the challenge to design a sticker album cover. The competition will close on Friday 14 October, with one lucky winner securing a cash prize for their school. Follow the ESFA on social channels for updates on the winning design and, if you would like your primary school to be involved in future Panini Classroom Challenge activities, you can contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Governing Body for Schools’ Football in England.