I was delighted to join the Secretary of State Sajid Javid and his counterpart at the Department for Education Nicky Morgan in New Palace Yard last week to celebrate the landmark six millionth place on the FA Skills programme.
FA Skills is a football coaching programme that takes place both in and out of school and which has been up and running since 2007. It is designed to get five to 11-year-old girls and boys active while learning new disciplines. Under the shadow of the Elizabeth Tower, we witnessed primary school children from three schools being put through their paces in challenging and fun sessions, just like the six million youngsters that preceded them.
When I first came to the FA, I was very keen to see the introduction of a scheme that encouraged children to be physically active through a fun and enjoyable experience from the very start of their life at school. The emphasis is on communication and teamwork and it’s down to us to encourage children to go out, play and practice their skills in a fun and challenging manner.
The scheme has grown steadily over the past seven years and there are currently 158 dedicated FA Skills coaches across the breadth and length of England. It’s an exciting time for football development in this country.
As I retire from my role as The FA’s Director of Football Development, I will be keeping a close eye on the game and feel confident that with St. George’s Park, the FA’s National Football Centre now firmly established and initiatives like FA Skills – the foundations are in place for us to make great progress.