Two schools have helped to kick off a new partnership with the FA during Girls’ Football Week.

Pupils at The Olive School, Blackburn and neighbouring Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School boosted their soccer skills before stepping out onto the pitch to aim for the back of the net in their own mini tournaments.

At TIGHS Year 7 and 8 pupils had the chance to improve their dribbling, passing and shooting during lunchtime football training sessions.

TIGHS’ Deputy Director of Learning Penny Robb, who also teaches PE said, “Our pupils were really enthusiastic about getting involved in our lunchtime ‘drop in and play’ sessions during Girls’ Football Week. Although we already have a school football team, through the FA’s programme we will equip our pupils with the sport leadership skills to drive our team forward and build on its success.

"There’s also a chance for pupils to take on roles off the pitch to help manage and lead the team.”

TIGHS Year 7 student Shamaila Shahzad added, “The tournament was fantastic fun. It’s really good that we were able to take part in Girls’ Football Week and show that girls can play competitive sports at all levels.”

Girls in Years 5 and 6 at The Olive School, practised controlling the ball in preparation for their football tournament.

Hayley Walsh, Director of Leadership Specialism at The Olive School, added, “Our pupils embraced the football tournament we held in school. It was wonderful to see how much they enjoyed working as a team and competing against their classmates.”

Zaynab Desai, a Year 5 pupil at The Olive School, said, “I thought it was really good fun and I liked the fact that we were able to demonstrate our communication and teamwork skills.

"It was a great opportunity to play a sport that not very many girls play. We had 76 girls turn up for the session and it has made us even more excited for putting together our own girls’ school football team.”

Pupils at The Olive School, Blackburn and TIGHS are set to benefit from a unique partnership between the FA and Tauheedul Education Trust, the multi-academy trust that runs both schools.

Tauheedul Education Trust has recently been designated as an FA Girls’ Area Hub, joining a network of organisations that support and deliver girls’ football across England.

Kate Hebden, the Trust’s Head of Pupil Leadership Specialism said, “As the first multi-academy trust to become an FA Girls’ Area Hub, Tauheedul Education Trust schools will have access to programmes developed by the FA to encourage more girls to get involved in the beautiful game, and not only as players.

“We aim to empower our female pupils to get involved in the sport both on and off the pitch, developing leadership skills and character traits that will stay with them for life.

"The FA’s aim through the Girls’ Area Hub programme is also to inspire more young women to consider careers in football.

“Staff in the schools taking part in the programme will also have access to FA accredited CPD courses leading to qualifications in sports coaching.

"The Trust will also be in a position to help the FA develop best practice for extending the programme.”