School's festival aims to offer girls equal opportunity to play football
- Credit: Seckford Education Trust
A football festival aimed at getting more girls into the sport saw dozens of Beccles youngsters get involved.
The Seckford Education Trust united their three Suffolk high schools, including SET Beccles School and SET Saxmundham School, for the event in a bid to bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Held at SET Ixworth School, almost 100 girls took part in the event as one of the Football Association and Barclays' nationwide events.
By 2024, the FA's ambition is for girls to have the same football opportunities as boys in schools and clubs, with the #LetGirlsPlay campaign seeking to change perceptions.
The pupils chosen were specifically selected, with many having very little or no previous experience of playing football.
Danny Burton, lead practitioner for PE at SET Beccles School, said: "As a group of small, rural schools, we were keen to connect to create a unique opportunity and take our young female pupils outside of their comfort zone.
"All three of the SET secondary schools are developing provisions to allow girls equal access to football, and this project was a great way to launch our work."
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The event was also supported by Suffolk FA, with representative Kirsty Smith saying: "It was great to see the girls turn up and throw themselves into something they hadn't done before.
"They all worked together and mixed with other pupils from other schools.
"Events like this are brilliant for pupils to take part in as they encompass physical activity, fun and social skills."
Mark Barrow, CEO of Seckford Education Trust, said: "As a trust, we were keen to create an opportunity for students within any one of our schools to feel part of something bigger.
"This festival reinforced the collaboration between our schools, teachers and pupils."
One of the girls who took part said: "When I knew we were going to be playing football, I didn't really want to go, but my teacher asked me to give it a try and I'm so glad I did.
"I had lots of fun, met some people from other schools, and enjoyed a day outside."