Improving confidence, competency and communication through football

SOCIALISING and changing environment can be difficult for children with special educational needs, however The Albion Foundation helped nearly 100 SEN children to overcome their fears by providing a tournament tailored to their needs.

The youngsters swapped school for the football field in a bid to improve their confidence, competence and communication, presenting experiences that they wouldn't get within the classroom.

Tayshen Robinson, a student from Longdon Hall School, was grateful for the opportunity to parade his skills with his friends.

"I'm very thankful," he said.

"It's fun and it gives me a chance to showcase what we can do. It means a lot because I don't get many chances in football.

"It boosts our confidence a lot when we get to come here.

"Football is my favourite sport so I just enjoy it."

The event was organised by Conor Brogan, who is a Disability Coordinator at the Foundation. He was delighted to invite so many children to Albion's Academy Dome, with nine schools entering 14 five-a-side teams.

"It's brilliant," he said.

"Everyone gets to play football and it is split in to two ability groups so that it is a level playing field for everyone."

"This tournament shows the work that we do for people with SEN and disabilities and it is inclusive of all genders and all abilities.

"The children are getting to play against people that they have not met before, so it gives them the chance to meet new people."

Most of the schools that took part in the tournament are in partnership with the Foundation's Disability Department, proving once again the benefits of partnering with the charity.

Luke Wheatley, a Trainee Teacher at Ormiston Forge Academy, enjoyed watching the children adapt to a new environment.

"I love it," he said.

"It's not really that competitive which is great, as the SEN children are not really used to competitive sport.

"It's inclusive and it's really enjoyable - my kids are loving it.

"A lot of our kids have come out of their shell today."

For more information about the work that the charity's Disability Department does in schools, please contact