FA recognises Ballard’s commitment to girls’ football

Football at Ballard is taught in mixed sex groups for years three to eight

Ballard School have received the FA Girls Football Partnership Award after demonstrating a commitment to girls’ football. The school’s director of sport, Justin Whitbread, said it is vital that sports are “all-inclusive and equal access”.

The nationwide scheme aims to make football mainstream for girls in schools, as it is for boys. The FA is working towards a goal of giving every girl equal access to football in school games lessons by 2024.

The partnership, which will see staff given extended training, has been developed by school voluntary community officer Megan Smith, who played for Chelsea, and PE teacher Abbie Vernon.

Whitbread said: “We have fixtures and festivals planned to establish Ballard as the home of independent school football in the area for girls.

“We already provide the opportunity to play mixed football until Year 8, and some girls have played for the boys’ teams in friendlies and the Jersey Festival of Sport.

“At Ballard, we believe all sports are for everyone, girls and boys, of all ages and abilities. The benefits of taking part are enormous. Sport keeps us healthy, develops our communication and team skills, and builds our resilience and character; that’s why we feel it is vital that sports are all-inclusive and equal access at our school.”

Girls football is offered alongside the traditional sports of hockey and netball. There are opportunities to learn and play the game in extra-curricular clubs, and for girls in years three to eight in their PE lessons, too.

Girls in years three and four have formed teams which will compete each week in circuits, set drills and small-sided games in their PE lessons. The eventual winners will lift the Girls’ Power Trophy at the end of term.

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