29th January 2021

Children’s Commissioner’s podcast: Lockdown, school and football

Football Beyond Borders

In the second episode of the Children’s Commissioner’s podcast, Anne Longfield visits a school in South London where she talks to students about how the first coronavirus lockdown affected them, both at home and at school and what impact it had on their education and relationships.

She also hears about a programme called Football Beyond Borders, which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who are passionate about football but disengaged at school in order to help them finish school with the skills and grades to make a successful transition into adulthood.

About Football Beyond Borders

The Football Beyond Borders school programme works with many children at risk of falling out of mainstream education. It is a long-term intervention (minimum of 2 years) that works in partnership with schools to help children, often with behavioural difficulties, who are struggling to engage with learning. Many of the children have difficulties with; social and emotional skills, being able to interact positively with others and may have underdeveloped social and self-awareness.

Practitioners work with groups on a weekly basis trying to build up children’s soft skills, helping them to empathise with and understand others, supporting a shift in their attitudes to school. Alongside therapeutic interventions and half-termly reward visits, they use an hour-long session on the football pitch and an hour in the classroom. The programme is built around an activity that children enjoy – football – and they use this as a tool to help children better understand their own behaviour and develop the skills they need to succeed.

Listen to more episodes from our podcast

You can also find this podcast on Spotify, by searching for ‘Children’s Commissioner for England’.