A Carrickfergus school’s innovative approach to teamwork is helping pupils promote positive language and attitudes.
The ‘Mind The Ball’ pilot project pairs Irish Football Association coaches with Ulidia Integrated College teachers to use the power of soccer for health, education and social development.
Since teacher Rosie McKee graduated from the Irish FA Female Football Leadership Programme, she has had a desire to empower young people to match football skills with literacy skills.
“Ulidia is an integrated college and its ethos is ‘Educating Catholics, Protestants and those of other religions or none, in an atmosphere of understanding and tolerance to the highest academic standards’ and this is the perfect partnership with the Irish FA who endorse values such as respect, trust, responsibility and inclusivity”, remarked Rosie.
An event hosted at the University of Ulster Jordanstown yesterday (Wednesday) was designed to give year 10 students the tools to change attitudes on social media and generate positive press.
It highlighted a positive culture of lifelong participation to promote resilience as students encounter difficult experiences in their lives.
IFA Football Development Manager Keith Gibson commented; “We are delighted to be partnering with Ulidia Integrated College on this ground breaking project. At the Irish FA we want to use football to help young people realise their full potential on and off the pitch and we plan to work closely with schools to achieve this.”
On February 12, Ulidia pupils will make their choices for their GCSE years and the school believes it is important they feel confident in making decisions and taking risks. The opportunity was provided to give students aspirations of attending university or pursuing careers in football either as players, coaches, administrators, referees, volunteers and supporters. They completed football challenges along with undertaking discussions of feelings to develop coping strategies.
Speaking beforehand, Justin Stewart, a Year 10 pupil, said; “I am so excited about playing football challenges in a university as it will help me set high goals for the future. I believe anything can happen.”