Grassroots football in schools

Giving girls equal access to football in schools

In March 2019, Barclays announced the biggest ever investment in UK women's sport by a brand*. As part of this commitment, we are excited to be supporting the Barclays Girls’ Football School Partnerships (BGFSP), established to solely focus on ensuring girls in England have equal access to football in schools by 2024. In 2021 we also became lead partner of Barclays Game On, a programme developed by the Youth Sport Trust that is delivered in secondary schools across England, using football as the tool to develop and teach key life skills to young girls.

As our national game, Barclays believes in the power of football and its ability to speak to the nation and create confidence and opportunities for young people. For example, 80% of girls show more confident behaviour having played football. Yet we know historically the opportunities to access the game haven’t been equal; 76% of men said they played football in PE lessons at school, yet only 19% of women said they had the chance to play**.  That is something we want to change, and this is why we are putting our name behind this commitment.

The BGFSP kicked-off with a committed network of 100 specialist hubs, each delivering girls’ football programmes in PE or Games lessons, supporting teachers in primary schools with training and resources. We’ve grown from 3,000 schools in 2019, to 9,560 schools in 2021. That means we’ve gone from 14% of schools in England on board, to 42%. And, it’s working: 86% of teachers agree that the BGFSP has improved girls’ perception of football, and increased their participation in their school****.

Our ambition is to keep growing the network year on year. To see how schools can make a pledge to become a partnership and increase girls’ football, plus access teaching materials, click here. And to find out which schools are participating near you, and show your support to help give girls equal access, visit https://www.englandfootball.com/play/in-education/letgirlsplay.

Our Barclays Game On programme provides training and support for secondary school teachers to engage girls in physical education through football, and in addition aims to support and develop young female leaders through its leadership training module. From coaches to marketeers – they run, organise, and deliver sessions for their classmates, not only introducing more girls to football, but also developing themselves for the future. Find out more.

Football belongs to all of us and it’s all to play for.

*Nielsen Insights – ‘The Rise of Women’s Sports’; Nielsen Sports SponsorGlobe Database, March 2019.

** https://www.uefa.com/womenseuro/news/0239-0e16813b6fce-50b8a7fd00e7-1000--report-shows-how-football-boosts-girls-confidence/


****‘Youth Sports Trust Evaluation of Girls’ Football Programmes’ report August 2018