Karl McCartney MP met former England and West Ham United midfielder Sir Trevor Brooking in Parliament this week to celebrate the success of FA Skills; The FA’s flagship coaching programme for 5 to 11 year old girls and boys.
Sir Trevor, who until his retirement last month was The FA’s director of football development, played a key role in establishing FA Skills back in 2007. FA Skills enables children to get active, learn new skills and enjoy football, both in and out of school, and is delivered by 158 full-time coaches across England.
Karl met Sir Trevor at a Skills event with a difference – on New Palace Yard at the Houses of Parliament in celebration of the programme reaching its six millionth child place. Under the shadow of Big Ben three schools were put through their paces in challenging and fun sessions.
“We are celebrating seven years of our Skills programme and I’m hugely proud that we have been able to offer six million places so far,” said Sir Trevor.
“A lot of the MPs are down here – and we’ve had a lot of compliments from MPs over the years for our work in this area.
“It’s a wonderful setting for us, and those windows that are probably very expensive to replace are just too far away for any of the kids to damage!”
“For me it is a really exciting time to see youngsters like these here, with long lives ahead of them, knowing that sport can help them in whatever they end up doing.”
St. Bartholomew’s in Loughborough, Kirton Lane Primary in Doncaster, and Millfields Primary, Bromsgrove, provided the participants for the day, and Sir Trevor was impressed by the sessions laid on.
He said: “We thought seven years ago five to 11 was a really important age where you can bed down a lot of fun and enjoyment about being physically active, which hasn’t always been possible.
“Then as the sessions progress we introduce a bit of ball work and channel some of those who might be better than others to skill coach centres and charter standard clubs.”
FA Skills is free to Primary Schools with funding from The FA, from the National Lottery and the government through Sport England. In 2013 FA Skills became the only programme delivered by a governing sports body to be endorsed by the Association of PE with an accreditation for supporting teachers. For more information please visit http://faskills.thefa.com/.