By Robert Getley, St Monica’s Primary School

There are many things I enjoy about being a teacher. The interaction with the children, the responsibility, the challenges, that every day is different and of course the added bonus of a little extra holiday! Perhaps the most rewarding of all is watching the children we care for grow as individuals under our tutorage. Can you imagine the pride whilst watching a class that you have taught all year perform their own presentation in front of around 200 people in Wembley Stadium? Thanks to the brilliant work at 3FF, my class had this opportunity.

When I first heard about the project ‘Faith and Football’ I knew straight away it would be a success. How could it not be? Sixty children from three different faith schools had the amazing opportunity to meet each other and work together over the course of the year at Wembley Stadium, the home of football!

019It was the perfect location to inspire children, to motivate children, to bring children together. The first ‘link day’ was a joy to be involved with, on one hand you had the overwhelming excitement of being at Wembley, on the other you had a real, deep learning process taking place. Children showed a genuine interest and curiosity of each other’s faiths; they were also very quick to make similarities between their lives and the lives of their new friends. It was almost a surprise to them when discovering that they liked the same football team, watched the same TV programmes or loved the same food.

Over the next few ‘links’ our children played together and learned together, with the odd tour of the stadium thrown in. Relationships were forming with children exchanging birthday cards and email addresses, not because the teachers had told them to, but for the simple reason they wanted to. The more time the children spent with each other the more they learned about each other.

The project culminated in a 5-10 minute presentation from each of the 3 schools about the impact of the ‘linking’ days. When preparing the project at school I could see how much the experience had meant to the children. The understanding my class had gained from the project was invaluable. They mirrored what you could argue would be a perfect society, where everybody accepts that we are all unique and embraces each other’s differences and similarities.

wembley03This project went some way into ensuring our future society is one of tolerance and understanding. It would not have been possible without the enthusiasm of the children and the support of their parents, the full backing of the schools and support of the FA and of course 3FF.

3FF brought everybody together and provided the platform to allow children to grow as individuals, to enhance their understanding of the world we live in. This has to be the most rewarding part of my job and it was an absolute privilege to be involved.

Find out more about 3FF’s Schools work here.