The FA’s Shooting Stars programme has launched in primary schools across England – with the aim of inspiring girls to get active and learn the fundamentals of football.
Inspired by Disney storytelling and produced in collaboration with the Youth Sport Trust and the National Literacy Trust, Shooting Stars takes the form of two programmes: The FA’s Shooting Stars Active Play Through Storytelling inspired by Disney and The FA’s Shooting Stars Girls’ Football Club inspired by Disney.
Using storytelling from Disney and Pixar’s 2018 superhero movie Incredibles 2 and the 1992 animated version of Disney’s Aladdin, ‘Active Play Through Storytelling inspired by Disney’ aims to capture Key Stage 1 girls’ imaginations while developing their fundamental movement and speaking and listening skills. Developed in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, these sessions also provide the opportunity to achieve the learning objectives which are based on the national curriculum for Key Stage 1 English and PE.
‘Shooting Stars Girls’ Football Club inspired by Disney’ is targeted at girls in Key Stage 2 and uses the storytelling inspiration of the animated Disney TV series Guardians of the Galaxy to advance their journey into a girls-only after school club, where they will learn basic footballing skills while engaging in imaginative play.
The FA’s Shooting Stars initiative is available in over 1,200 primary schools in the first year but the ambition is to increase this number year-on-year. It is an integral part of The FA’s ‘Gameplan for Growth’ strategy which aims to double female football participation by 2020.
Physical and online training resources have been created for the 1,200 schools taking part. The online resources, hosted at GirlsFootballinSchools.org, allow every school across England to sign up and deliver the two Shooting Stars training programmes.
Baroness Sue Campbell, FA director of women’s football, said: “By engaging in the magic of Disney storytelling, the Shooting Stars programme allows girls to develop holistically whilst falling in love with sport, motivating them to participate in physical activity and football.
“These sessions are engaging, help girls develop their confidence and leadership skills and most importantly inspire them to get active at school and at home.
Hopefully, this provides a positive starting point to a girls journey in football whereby she can go on to attend a fun football offer with Wildcats or a competitive offer in a mini soccer club.”
England legend Karen Carney added: “It’s great to see initiatives like this launching and becoming more established in schools across the country, something I didn’t have as a kid growing up.
“Football provides you with so many benefits – from teamwork and building friendships to physical literacy and confidence, and this programme will really help instil that into the girls who take part.
“The more girls we can get participating and fall in love with football, the better and who knows, this programme may even unearth Lionesses of the future.”
During the pilot phase of the programme, research conducted by The FA and the Youth Sport Trust found that the Disney resources were engaging, memorable and familiar to the girls participating whilst practitioners felt that the Disney element added significantly to the resource and supported their delivery.
The research also found that extending the sessions beyond football enabled participants to develop a wider skillset and led to self-reported improvements from girls, coaches and parents, including:
- Physical: Girls get active and enjoy rising to the challenge week on week. Parents and teachers reported sessions are physically tiring
- Social: Opportunity to work with friends as well as girls outside of their own friendship group, in turn improving communication and teamwork skill
- Technical: Coaches reported improvement week on week of technical skills during the drills
- Psychological: Girls self-reported an improvement in their confidence levels.
The FA and Disney have a long-term partnership that aims to increase the role of football in girls’ lives up and down the country.