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Summary

We were contracted by the FA to undertake a review of Secondary school’s football in England.

Approach

To do this we have consulted with a broad range of people and organisations. We consulted with the FA and key stakeholders including the English Schools Football Association, Independent Schools Football Association, and the Premier League, Football League, County Football Associations, County Schools Football Associations, private coaching providers and County Sport Partnerships.

We used a range of methods to undertake this review including desk based review of the substantial research and insight undertaken by the FA, we coordinated focus groups with key bodies such as the ESFA and ISFA. We undertook further discussions with the Premier and Football Leagues and other key partners in delivery. We coordinated an online survey with all County Football Association and undertook follow up telephone calls with a agreed sample of rural and urban associations.

Outcome

We concluded that football in schools is still vibrant but in many different forms. We found that the current structures and competition does not always meet the demands of young people. In the last twenty years the provision of competition and opportunities for young people has changed significantly and the education sector as a whole is also changing rapidly with direct funding to secondary schools now the norm rather than the exception.

We found an extensive workforce working in and around schools and disparities in the levels of support in different areas of provision. This has led to an uncoordinated approach to out of school competition in particular. 
We have found that the interest in football is not wavering for both girls or boys but opportunities for girls are still more limited than boys. We also found further opportunities could be provided for disabled young people in and out of school.

Our recommendations seek to provide football in schools with a way forward to recognise tradition and provide an exciting offer to those in secondary schools. Our recommendations will give greater opportunities for boys and girls, disabled young people in secondary schools to gain access to the right format and opportunities to satisfy their footballing needs.

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