National Schools' Football Week

Schools’ Football Week – Game On! launches for 2021

The campaign to play the ‘World’s Biggest Football Match’ takes place tomorrow (26 May) across England.

As part of the ESFA’s Schools’ Football Week campaign, Schools’ Football Week – Game On! was created to encourage as much footballing activity to take place across the country on one day. Over 400 schools have registered ‘Game On!’ activity in advance of Schools’ Football Week, equating to over 70,000 players and around 6,000 teams of children. The brief was simple – just to play any form of football on Wednesday 26th May, from inter-house tournaments to a match with jumpers for goalposts at lunchtime – and the uptake has been fantastic.

The ESFA will be leading the way in terms of footballing activity tomorrow by hosting the U13 PlayStation F.C. Schools’ Cup Final at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park stadium. The match sees Glenmoor & Winton Academies (Bournemouth) take on Hurstmere School (North Kent) in the much anticipated 2019/20 cup final.

The match will be the first in over 12 months that is admitting spectators and will be streamed live online via the ESFA’s YouTube channel (ESFA TV) for all keen football fans to tune into. The ESFA’s Director of Operations, Darren Alcock said “We are delighted to be able to host this National Final not only during Schools’ Football Week, but also as part of the ‘Game On!’ activity. The uptake of Schools’ Football Week by schools, Associations and other sports providers for 2021 has been fantastic. It’s been a very difficult 12 months and this has felt like a real opportunity for children to get outside, have fun and enjoy playing football with their friends. We are very grateful for the opportunity to host this event at Selhurst Park and it will be fantastic to welcome along the teams, but also spectators for this prestigious event. We wish both teams the very best of luck in the National Final.”

The ESFA will be keeping a close eye on social media posts tomorrow hoping to see plenty of matches taking place. If you do have some Schools’ Football Week content to share, please make sure you tag @SchoolsFootball and use the hashtags #schoolsfootballweek and #SFWGameOn

Good luck!

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.