We engaged over 7,000 primary school children during the 2018-19 school year, here are some of the highlights.

Palace for Life Foundation’s Premier League Primary Stars Programme has had its most successful year to date, with over 7,000 children and 90 schools across south London engaged through different activities, tournaments and events!

Several of the primary schools we work with received surprise visits from Palace first team players throughout last season. South Londoners Wilfried Zaha and ex Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka both received a hero’s welcome as they visited their old Primary Schools.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka also joined Pape Souaré and Crystal Palace Women players Lauren-Aime Allen, Nikita Whinnett and Megan Lynch to take part in a Team Mates session at Raglan Primary School.

James McArthur, Joel Ward and Palace Women Ciara Watling and Jordan Butler also joined St Chad’s Primary School pupils after the 2018 summer holidays in a Premier League Primary Stars PE lesson, helping children get active on their return from the summer holiday break.

We were excited to become one of only a handful of clubs to get our own SuperMovers video, which aims to get children more active in the classroom. Featuring Palace themed lyrics and choreography, lucky pupils from Oasis Ryelands Primary were chosen to star in the music video alongside Palace players Christian Benteke, Patrick van Aaanholt, Ciara Watling and Jordan Butler. Named ‘The Eagle Swoop’, the music video has been shown in classrooms and at events across the country, and the pupils were even invited to a Premier League game to perform in the Fanzone before watching the match.

We are proud to host a number of different football tournaments and festivals as a part of our primary schools provision to encourage pupils to get into sport. These often have different aims such as a focus on girls participation, for pupils who may not be engaging in PE sessions, or those who don’t seem to get active during break and lunch times. These festivals and tournaments are focused on promoting fun activity, and at the end of the season we invited these pupils to take part in a tournament on the Selhurst Park pitch!

More than 70 local schools took part in our tournaments last season!

Every season we run a Primary Stars primary schools tournament, where the winners of the girls and the mixed categories go on to represent Crystal Palace FC. Cheam Common Junior School and Barrow Hedges Primary School came out victorious and represented Palace, wearing the famous red and blue at the National Finals held at Wolves’ Molineux Stadium in the Under 11’s mixed and Under 11’s girls tournaments respectively.


Palace for Life Primary Schools Officer James Jenden said: “Being able to take this group of local children to the Molineux was an amazing experience. Just seeing their faces full of excitement when they got to the stadium and walking out onto the pitch was great, and I hope the day has given them memories they will always remember.”

We have seen a growth in the amount of schools we are delivering our programmes in, ensuring that we are reaching a record-breaking number of pupils. Team Mates is a session that we created designed to help encourage positive mental health in pupils, through developing resilience, self-esteem, communication and managing conflict skills. These skills are developed subtly, largely through learning through play, where the pupils take part in games designed to harness and improve these skills.

54% of children on Team Mates are receiving less detentions and behaviour marks and 46% of children now being less disruptive in the classroom.

The last year has also seen large improvements on our Reading Stars and Moving Maths programmes. These are interventions which work with pupils who are struggling to reach expected levels of reading and maths, focusing largely on improving confidence levels in these subjects by using football-related resources to stimulate the learning of individuals. 

Over 90% of participants now enjoy English and Maths more after taking part in the intervention.

Another element of our work with primary schools is working with the schools and teachers to ensure they are giving their pupils the best opportunities to stay active. We trained 50 local teachers to upskill them in PE delivery, ensuring that local children were getting high quality, engaging and effective PE sessions during school time. We also hosted three FA Primary Teachers Award courses, which is a one day course focused on planning and delivering lessons on movement skills and invasion games, linking the National Curriculum and the England FA DNA to pupil learning.

Primary Schools Programme Manager Sam Bacon said: “This has been a brilliant year for the programme, engaging with new schools from across South London, introducing children to new sports, supporting more teachers than ever before, and engaging children with new programmes within the classroom. We aim to continue our work further in the next academic year!”

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