This week, Bacon’s College played host to representatives from the FA and Barclays, in what was a major investment announcement for women’s football.
Barclays was announced as the new sponsor for the FA Women’s Super League, in a multi-million pound investment – the biggest ever by a brand in UK women’s sport – that will also benefit crucial grassroots initiatives across the country.
The girls’ football team at Bacon’s College helped launch the news with a kick-around on the school pitch with women’s football legend Kelly Smith. The former England and Arsenal striker led a training session with the young athletes and coached them on the skills, ambition and grit needed to make it in professional football.
As well as making girls’ and boys’ sport a priority within the curriculum, Bacon’s College is the home of the PE & School Sports Network (PESSN). The network operates across the capital providing professional development for teachers and competition opportunities for young people across a wide range of sports.
Through the network, there are currently four primary football leagues across the borough as well as a comprehensive football competitions programme for girls aged 11 to 16. This has helped lead to an increase in the number of girls playing football not just in school but during the evenings and weekends, which has resulted in the creation of more local football teams in Southwark and additional out-of-school provision for girls.
The same pattern has been seen at Bacon’s College specifically, where the number of girls’ football teams has been expanded to accommodate a significant increase in the number of girls attending after school clubs and training sessions.
Fiona Morris, Associate Principal at Bacon’s College, said:
“It was brilliant to welcome representatives from Barclays and the FA and the inspirational Kelly Smith to our school to make such an importance announcement for the future of women’s football – both for the elite game and at the grassroots. We were delighted that as part of the day our girls were able to show off their footwork too – their enthusiasm on the pitch was proof of the positive impact that community and school sport can have on young people.”
PE teacher Ali Partridge said of the day:
“It was an absolute privilege to see our girls playing such a key part in the launch of the biggest investment ever in women’s sport and a huge step forward in promoting sport and physical activity for girls and women across the UK. We are extremely proud of how well our students represented the College and continue to be excited to watch the next generation of young sportswomen develop here at Bacon’s!”