The Girls Football Schools Partnership (GFSP), headed up by Dean Woodham of the North Oxfordshire School Sport Partnership, now involves all local authority areas and is a key driver behind equal access in schools for girls.
GFSP seeks to run various programmes such as Game On, a leadership programme, to Shooting Stars, a literacy through sport programme, as well as supporting areas to grow their own leagues and fixtures.
Schools across several regions of Oxfordshire have pledged to support equal access:
Cherwell: 54 out of 56 schools engaged
City: 21 out of 56 schools engaged
West: 48 out of 66 schools engaged
South: 11 out of 67 schools engaged
Vale: 8 out of 67 schools engaged
*Please note that South Oxfordshire and Vale have only joined the partnership this season.
The leadership programme, Game On, which seeks to create the football leaders of tomorrow by providing opportunities to run competitions and games within their school, has engaged seven secondary schools. Within these schools over 50 youth leaders have been trained, and support for these will continue. We also hope to bring even more schools on board with the project.
In addition, to show the impact that the GFSP is having, within the Bicester leagues, it was mandatory for primary schools to enter both a girls’ and boys’ team. There has been a fantastic response to this so far with 14 schools entering girls’ teams for the current season.
Lastly, the season started with a fantastic piece of news for the GFSP in Oxfordshire. At the Barclays Girls’ Football School Partnerships Conference in September, the GFSP was recognised with the award for Outstanding Use of Collaboration to Drive Change. You can see more about this in the video below.
Dean Woodham, Oxfordshire GFSP Lead, said: "It is a privilege and a pleasure to be leading this very important programme in Oxfordshire. It is disappointing that in 2021 we need to be driving change to achieve equal access for girls, however with the raising in profile of the women’s game and the Euros coming to England next year this feels like the perfect moment in time. The collaboration with so many key organisations over the past two years has been fantastic, and I am confident that we can achieve the programme aims in Oxfordshire by 2024; leaving a positive legacy of system change to ensure girls feel football is their game too."
James Shiplee, Senior Football Development Officer at Oxfordshire FA, added: “The work that Dean and the other area leads have done to bring the Partnership to where it is is fantastic. We’ve so many schools engaged with the programme and this can only bring greater equality for girls and more access to football opportunities. This will not only strengthen schools’ football, but also have a massive impact on the local community where girls want to get involved outside of school.”
If you’d like to find out more about the partnership, or find out how you can get involved and support, please contact James Shiplee at Development@OxfordshireFA.com
If your school is interested in getting involved in the Partnership and growing girls’ opportunities, please contact Dean Woodham on: firstname.lastname@example.org