The Government has announced huge changes to schools’ PE curriculums - and it means that girls will now be offered the same sports as boys.
The move to boost equal opportunities in school sport came after the Lionesses launched the Football Association’s (FA) #LetGirlsPlay campaign after they won the Euro 2022 Tournament last summer.
It aimed to change perceptions and make sure girls get the chance to play football within the school curriculum, as well as at break-time, after school and at local clubs.
As part of the refreshed School Sport Action Plan, all pupils will now receive a minimum of two hours of quality Physical Education (PE) per week.
Up to £57 million in funding will be used to allow selected schools around England to keep their sport facilities open for longer for after-school activities, especially targeted at girls, disadvantaged children and those with special educational needs.
England women’s captain, Leah Williamson, said: ‘The success of the summer has inspired so many young girls to pursue their passion for football. We see it as our responsibility to open the doors for them to do so and this announcement makes that possible.
‘This is the legacy that we want to live much longer than us as a team. On behalf of all the Lionesses players, we'd like to thank our teammate Lotte Wubben-Moy as a driving force behind this transformational change.
‘We couldn’t be prouder to stand alongside her and we all look forward to seeing the impact this legacy creates.’
Last summer the Lionesses wrote to the then Conservative leadership candidates imploring them to prioritise girls’ schools sports.
It read: ‘Dear Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss. On Sunday evening history was made. The dreams of 23 women came true. England became European champions for the first time in history," the letter reads.
‘Throughout the Euros, we as a team spoke about our legacy and goal to inspire a nation. Many will think that this has already been achieved, but we see this only as the beginning. We are looking to the future. We want to create real change in this country and we are asking you, if you were to become Prime Minister on 5 September, to help us achieve that change.
‘We want every young girl in the nation to be able to play football at school. Currently only 63% of girls can play football in PE lessons. The reality is we are inspiring young girls to play football, only for many to end up going to school and not being able to play.
‘This is something that we all experienced growing up. We were often stopped from playing. So we made our own teams, we travelled across the country and despite the odds, we just kept playing football. Women’s football has come a long way. But it still has a long way to go.
‘We ask you and your government to ensure that all girls have access to a minimum of two hours a week PE. Not only should we be offering football to all girls, we also need to invest in and support female PE teachers too.
‘Their role is crucial and we need to give them the resources to provide girls’ football sessions. They are key role models from which so many young girls can flourish.
‘We have made incredible strides in the women’s game, but this generation of school girls deserve more. They deserve to play football at lunchtime, they deserve to play football in PE lessons and they deserve to believe that they can one day play for England. We want their dreams to also come true.
‘This is an opportunity to make a huge difference. A change that will impact millions of young girls’ lives. We – the 23 members of the England Senior Women’s Euro squad – ask you to make it a priority to invest into girls’ football in schools, so that every girl has the choice.’
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