Telford youngsters visit the home of English football

Queensway students at St Georges Park

Pupils from a Telford school visited the home of English football to help host the final of a Midlands league competition.

The youngsters from Queensway Specialist School played a key role in organising the final of this year’s SEND Midland Football League at St George’s Park.

The school, which has two sites in Telford, caters for children and young people on the autistic spectrum and those with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

It has facilitated the league for the past two seasons, to give students from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with additional needs an opportunity to play competitive sports.

League founder Sam Wilde is the deputy headteacher at Queensway, and has been working in special schools for 13 years.

“There was a real lack of special school extracurricular opportunities in the region, and so the league was created in 2015 to fill that gap.

“It started with eight schools and has grown year on year, with 30 schools from across the Midlands entering every season post-Covid. We’re now having to put schools on the waiting list to enter as the demand for places is so high.”

The league is split into three divisions, with four teams making it through to the semi-finals that took place at Shrewsbury Town FC this year, with the final hosted at St George’s Park. Winners on the day were The Oasis, from Wolverhampton, who beat Solihull Academy 6-4.

Sam said: “The Queensway students did a fantastic job in hosting the event and there were students and staff from other schools attending on the day too. The event provides an excellent platform for special schools to network and share good practice.

“Many of the 30 schools who compete in the league have told us how much their students look forward to playing the matches, and how the league has helped to promote positive relationships, and instil core values in children who struggle with their mental health and social interactions.

“The football league has also helped many children improve their behaviour as it has been a key incentive in working on their attendance, punctuality, and engagement in lessons.”

The league will re-start in September and run right through the academic year before the final at St George’s Park in early July next year.

Queensway headteacher Julie Bravo said: “The rewards the students have gained from being part of the SEND football league have been endless.

“From developing their team building and social skills, to building essential life skills such as confidence and resilience – we are really proud to support such a worthwhile venture.”



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