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Refs help pupils get ahead of the game

6 December 2017

Pupils at New Penshaw Academy were joined by some special guests as EFL officials Geoff Eltringham and Tony Harrington delivered a refereeing workshop.

The youngsters took part in an interactive Refs in Schools session as part of Foundation of Light’s Primary Stars programme which explains the referees’ roles and responsibilities to help primary school children develop their problem solving, teamwork and communication skills.

The pair were joined by Foundation of Light’s Primary Stars Events Coordinator Helen Byrne who has been nominated as a Fifa assistant referee for 2018.

“Refs in Schools is an initiative which started around six months ago,” said Sunderland-born Geoff. “We thought it would be good to get the refereeing brands in to schools and talk to children about communication skills, refereeing and how we can relate that to everyday life.

A lot more of the kids will understand the role of a referee and what their responsibilities are, and they can link it into what a police officer does, or a teacher does, and people of certain authorities.

“Refs in Schools is something that’s gone nationwide and although it’s in its early days on today’s evidence it’s something that could be really successful and beneficial.”

Geoff and Tony demonstrated the kit they use each match day including buzzer flags, microphones and vanishing spray before tasking the children to design their own piece of refereeing equipment.

“The kids came out with some really good ideas,” Geoff added. “The imagination they used to come up with some of the designs was amazing.

“Everybody interacted and they worked well as groups and individuals and interacting with each other. It was a good exercise.

“It was good for us to get our point of view across and to explain a little bit more about refereeing in general and I think they grasped that.

“The kids were coming up at the end and asking questions which was fantastic. They were really interested.”

Premier League Primary Stars is a national curriculum-linked education programme using the appeal of the Premier League and professional football clubs to inspire children to learn, be active and develop important life skills.

Based on the Premier League principles of being ambitious, connected, fair and inspiring, stickers, certificates and posters are available to support those principles in the classroom.

To find out more about Foundation of Light’s Primary Stars programme and how it can inspire your pupils, email aaron.croft@foundationoflight.co.uk or call 0191 5515318.

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