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Referees launch kids’ education website

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Top-flight referees have launched a new website to educate children about decision making and conflict resolution. Get On With The Game uses lessons learnt on the pitch in the Barclays Premier League to address behavioural issues, educating and engaging children on a range of social and emotional issues both in football and everyday life.

Developed by the Premier League, in conjunction with the Citizenship Foundation, the site explores the key aspects of Social and Emotional Aspect of Learning (SEAL), such as the importance of rules, working as a team, dealing with bullying, expressing opinions, understanding emotion and recognising personal strengths and weaknesses.

Each football themed module consists of a general introduction, a variety of learning activities, and a conclusion plenary. The site aims to convey the same Get On With The Game message that is delivered every weekend at Premier League grounds: by getting on with each other and getting on with the referee, players are free to get on with enjoying the game.

Potential benefits

All of the 18 Select Group officials, the top referees in the country, feature either in video speaking directly to the children or in cartoon form animations on the website. In addition to the referees speaking about their experiences there are also videos of primary school pupils and football supporters.

The website explores the needs for people such as referees and teachers to apply rules, examines why fair play is important and also why the team structure of a family is like a football team, where every member plays their part in making the whole outfit work better.

The site is being launched at Beech Hill Primary School in Halifax, where the head teacher is Jon Moss. Jon is also a very experienced football referee and is in his first season as a Select Group official, so is well placed to appreciate the potential benefits of the new site.

He said: “The attributes of being a teacher are very similar to being a referee – you have a group of people that you are in charge of and it’s important they play by a set of rules. There are many advantages to me as a teacher using Premier League football to engage children: it is a world they are aware of, understand and want to emulate.

“There is much we can take from the football pitch and show how it works in the classroom. Decision making and conflict resolution are at the heart of SEAL and that underpins everything in primary school education, such as good citizenship, inclusiveness and being good role models. It is also a very valuable behavioural management tool for teachers and nearly all school assemblies will be SEAL related.”

As the season progresses, interviews with managers and players will be included to give children an added incentive to take part. Teaching packs have been written in conjunction with the Citizenship Foundation, an independent education and participation charity that aims to encourage and enable individuals to engage in democratic society, and feature a modern, child-focussed design.

Valuable skills

Andy Thornton, chief executive of the Citizenship Foundation, added: “The kids.getonwiththegame site is a great educational contribution that will strengthen communities and wider society. It’s a captivating and enjoyable way for children to discover how to set goals, respect one another and work together as a team, showing why these things really matter in everyday life.”

Cathy Long, the Premier League’s head of supporter services, said: “Referees have to make important decisions all the time, and they use various man-management techniques to resolve conflicts and ensure that the game runs smoothly. The Get On With the Game kids site realises the potential football has, and particularly refereeing, to teach children some valuable skills.”

The website is split into five main sections:

  • Get On – identifies key SEAL themes
  • Who Needs Refs? – why it is important to have people who can help you improve, such as teachers and referees, and why families are like football teams, with everyone playing their part to make the whole outfit work better
  • Kick Off – an education and fun games section
  • On The Ball – artwork and screensavers to download, stats and news to digest
  • Teacher’s Corner – all the relevant SEAL resources for the classroom.

Visit: kids.getonwiththegame.com

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • SD Europe