Girls at Highfield Leadership Academy have kicked off a new partnership with the FA that will encourage more girls to get involved in the beautiful game both on and off the pitch.

Star Academies, the multi-academy trust to which our school belongs, has recently been designated an FA Girls’ Area Hub. As such, the Trust has joined a network of organisations that support and deliver girls’ football across England and pupils at Highfield Leadership Academy are set to reap the benefits.

We celebrated the announcement during Girls’ Football Week earlier this month with the launch of our new girls’ football after school club. All girls in Years 7 to 11 have the chance to join the weekly club run by PE teacher and Director of Progress Rob Brookfield. The girls’ football after school club offers pupils coaching in key football skills, while future projects will get them involved in activities beyond the pitch designed to boost their leadership and life skills.

Rob Brookfield commented,

“Our female pupils are excited about the opportunity to get involved in football coaching and skill building sessions, and parents have welcomed the news too. Through the FA’s programme, over the coming months we will also be establishing a Highfield school football team, with the chance for pupils to get involved in roles off the pitch to help manage and lead the team.”

Year 9 pupil Caitlin Packer said,

“The session was great fun. It is good to play football with a new group of girls and I am looking forward to the session next week. I am also hoping to get involved in the training that is to be delivered in the future.”

As a hot spot for growth and development of girls’ football, the Star Academies’ Area Hub commits to working with the FA to change perceptions and social barriers to participation and to create a strong, inclusive and engaging programme of activities.

Kate Hebden, the Trust’s Head of Pupil Leadership Specialism, commented,

“As the first multi-academy trust to become an FA Girls’ Area Hub, Star Academies’ schools will have access to programmes developed by the FA to encourage more girls to get involved in the beautiful game, and not only as players.


“We aim to empower our female pupils to get involved in the sport both on and off the pitch, developing leadership skills and character traits that will stay with them for life.


“Staff in the schools taking part in the programme will also have access to FA accredited CPD courses leading to qualifications in sports coaching. The Trust will also be in a position to help the FA develop best practice for extending the programme.”

The FA Girls’ Area Hub programme, delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, takes learning opportunities through football way beyond the pitch.

The primary school programme, Active Literacy, aims to engage girls aged five to seven years in creative play and boost their literacy skills through football themed activities.

In secondary schools, the Game of Our Own programme empowers girls in Years 7 to 9 to set up and run their own football club as an after school activity. Aside from the players, many leadership roles are available to pupils including coach and event manager. Funding is also available to support pupils in the running of their clubs. In addition, teachers deliver character development sessions through their core curriculum PE that help pupils’ gain vital life skills such as motivating others, communication, empathy and leadership.