National Schools' Football Week

Schools’ Football Week 2021 – Backed by Sport Minister, participation numbers sky rocket

Schools’ Football Week 2021 will create fun, football-based activities for over 105,000 school children in England from 24 – 30 May

In the four years since The English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) first launched Schools’ Football Week, the Association has seen a year on year increase in uptake in schools’ football activity linked to the event. Participation registration for 2021 has not disappointed, in fact, it has more than tripled participation of the February 2020 event.

With a significant lack of football, activity and even classroom time for children across 2020 and early 2021, Schools’ Football Week is scheduled for May 2021 with a view to celebrating school pupils being back in their learning environments, back with their friends and able to benefit from the many up-sides of playing schools’ football together.

Schools, ESFA member Associations and Premier League and EFL community trusts from across England have been invited to register their activity as part of Schools’ Football Week and to let the ESFA know how many teams and children will have access to resources as part of the initiative. Responses to the registration show that incredibly, over 650 schools, 8,000 teams and 105,000 school pupils will benefit from activity during Schools’ Football Week 2021.

With just days to go before SFW begins, the participation for this year’s event has already tripled last year’s figures (February 2020), with 5,000 more teams and over 82,000 more pupils involved with activity as a direct result of the campaign. The key message for 2021 is for pupils to ‘Get outside, have fun and enjoy being with friends’, but the campaign is also comprised of online competitions via the PlayStation F.C. Schools’ Cup, classroom resources and teaching materials from Panini and Premier League Primary Stars, football careers sessions from UCFB (University Campus of Football Business) and specially designed classroom presentations raising awareness of testicular cancer from the ESFA’s newest partner, The Oddballs Foundation. Many schools will be hosting football tournaments within the school day and PE lessons, as well as focussing on the many benefits of football off of the pitch as well as on. The ESFA will announce further information on activity during Schools’ Football Week.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “This past year has been particularly tough on young people, being away from their friends, playing school sports and learning together. We have prioritised children’s education, physical and mental wellbeing throughout and I would continue to urge everyone to get out there and get involved in Schools’ Football Week 2021.”

ESFA Chairman, Phil Harding said: “Schools’ Football Week will highlight all that is unique and special about schools’ football. As a whole, it promotes values such as self-discipline, team-building and resilience. It contributes to the skills needed for responsible citizenship and it teaches young people how to appreciate the joys of winning and accept with grace the disappointment of losing. Schools’ Football is inclusive and transformative. It breaks down barriers, creates friendships and teaches life lessons. Schools’ Football Week is a fantastic way of sharing these values and benefits to an even wider and engaged audience. Truly educational.”

The ESFA is delighted to see activity returning for schools and for pupils and is proud to share an initiative that is providing the opportunity for school children to learn more, understand and play more football. With the 2021/22 schools’ football season on the horizon and a good chance of some return to ‘normality’, Schools’ Football Week feels like a true celebration of what has been, what is reforming and what is to come.