Striving for equality
The event, which took place the day after International Women’s Day, promoted equal opportunities for girls to participate in football at school. The day saw a record number of 1,450 attendees from primary and secondary schools, affirming the need to advocate equal opportunities for girls in sport.
The schools were provided with a number of resources from the England Football Physical Education team, with support from partner, Youth Sport Trust, to deliver bespoke sessions throughout the day.
Louise Gear, the FA’s Head of Development, attended a session at Gorse Hill Primary School, Manchester. She said: “To see that over 90,000 girls have taken part in our Let Girls Play Biggest Ever Football Session has filled me with immense pride.
"We launched our strategic ambition and Let Girls Play campaign to raise awareness of the importance of providing girls with equal access to football and seeing so many schools unite on this across the country is fantastic.
"With it being such a huge year for women’s football in this country, more girls than ever will feel inspired to play football and the FA and Barclays want to play an important part in that. We want to thank everyone who took part in the day and joined us in our commitment to unlocking equal pathways.”
The ambition behind the project is to see at least 75% of schools in England providing equal access to football for girls in PE lessons, and 90% of schools offering regular extracurricular football by 2024. Currently, only 63% of schools provide girls’ football in PE lessons and only 40% of schools offer girls regular extracurricular football.
Lisa Bates, Head Teacher at Gorse Hill Primary School, said: “We’re so thrilled to have taken part in the Let Girls Play Biggest Ever Football Session and do our part for providing girls with equal access to football in schools.
“The girls were so excited to be part of the session and knowing thousands of other girls were doing the same across the country made it even more special. We’ve seen first hand the benefits of children playing football from an early age, not just physically, but mentally too so it was important for us to be part of this momentous occasion.”