Female Football Focus 3 - Active Literacy for Girls

The GFA is supporting the development of general and physical literacy for girls in primary schools by delivering the FA’s Active Literacy programme

The first Active Literacy sessions to be delivered in Guernsey, which are delivered through the ‘Community Partnership’ with Deloitte, took place at Vale Primary School prior to Christmas as part of a plan to not only introduce girls to football itself, but also as part of a long-term delivery programme to support general literacy, physical literacy and the development of fundamental movement and a passion for physical activity.

As part of The FA’s Primary Playgrounds scheme, the National Literacy Trust have worked with the FA to create the new Active Literacy programme. Specially-written stories are used to develop young girls’ fundamental movement skills, leadership skills and confidence, whilst also motivating them to read for enjoyment. These sessions are less football based and are more about getting the girls exploring movements and working as a team to overcome the challenges within the books. Guernsey FA Women & Girls Development Officer, Joelle Pengelley reflected on the initial sessions that have been delivered:

‘The girls at Vale Infants in Year 1 and 2 have had great fun during their Friday lunch club and, exploring the stories of Dragon Island, the girls have had to use their creativity and work together to overcome the challenges set in the books. The favourite part of Dragon Island for the girls at Vale was the Dolphin Disco session where the girls had to create their own dances and copy a partner and we are looking forward to increasing delivery of this programme in more schools during 2019.’

Vauvert Primary School is the next school to take part in the Active Literacy Programme, and the participating girls will all receive an Adventure Passport to take home with them to complete at home to encourage the girls to be active with their family.  Explaining what the girls will experience, Pengelley added:

‘The Adventure Passport asks the girls to TELL someone about their adventure, PLAY as a character from the story, WRITE about what they think will happen next and DRAW or CREATE the environment they believe they are playing in or to replicate objects from the story. The Story itself takes the girls through an adventure, meeting lots of different characters and creatures along the way. Each week the girls are challenged to create a playing area, for example a submarine, as a group they must work together to make a shape using equipment from the PE cupboards such as ropes, cones, bean bags, spot discs etc and they discuss what shape they believe they should create, an oval or circle for the submarine and they work together to create the space in order to have enough room to move around and inside the shape with guidance from the activator. The girls are encouraged to move in as many different ways that they can think of like skipping, hopping, hopscotch, sidesteps, jumping, running backwards, crawling etc.’

The FA Active Literacy aims to support the developments of fundamental movement skills and speaking and listening skills in girls aged five to eight years old.  Over the course of the sessions children will have the opportunity to achieve the learning objectives below which are based on the national curriculum for Key Stage 1 English and PE

Fundamental Movement Skills

  • To extend their agility, balance and coordination, individually and with others
  • To engage in competitive (both against self and against others) and cooperative physical activities, in a range of increasingly challenging situations.
  • To master basic movement including running, jumping, throwing and catching
  • To develop balance, agility and coordination, and begin to apply these in a range of activities
  • To participate in team games, developing simple tactics for attacking and defending

Speaking and Listening

  • To listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  • To begin to ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
  • To be able to articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
  • To be able to give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
  • To maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
  • To use spoken language to develop understanding through imagining and exploring ideas
  • To be able to speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English and participate in discussions, role play and improvisations
  • To begin to consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others

Guernsey Sports Commission Performance Director, Jeremy Frith commented on the positive benefits of the Active Literacy programme:

“The FA’s active literacy project is an excellent way to introduce the fundamental movement skills in a fun and engaging way. It has the potential to engage children in developing their literacy skills in a new way and I believe fits exceptionally well with Guernsey Sports Commission’s work in the primary sector going forwards.”

Pengelley looked ahead to further delivery of the Active Literacy programme and noted that:

‘We know that girls have many motivations to play football, including fun, friendship, fitness and family.  We need to ensure that we provide opportunites which capture girls’ imaginations and motivate them to participate in physical activity and football.  The FA Active Literacy programme is a fun activity programme for primary schools and we are delighted to be able to offer this opportunity, that links with the aims of developing fundamental movement skills, to local Primary Schools.’

For more information about the Active Literacy programme or about football opportunities for girls in Guernsey, please contact Guernsey FA Women & Girls Development Officer, Joelle Pengelley:

Tel – 01481 200443

Email –