Stepping Up

Stewart Downing takes part in an experiment with some pupils

In May 2016, MFC Foundation commenced a pioneering new programme which focuses on supporting children through their transition.

Stepping Up’ aims to provide a positive catalyst to better prepare children stepping up from primary to secondary school. The main objectives are to prepare children for the social and emotional aspects of transition through a programme that uses the inspirational draw of a professional football club and the staff team associated to it.

Levels of confidence, self-esteem and attitudes to learning are to be developed by supporting the needs of individual students through using specific intervention strategies and personalised learning.

Stepping Up employs MFC Foundation Transition Coaches in primary schools, six months prior to their move up to secondary school. The Transition Coaches work with Year 6 children on a variety of sport and educational activities, both universally and through targeted interventions.

The Transition Coach then moves up to the secondary school with the young people and works with them for a further six months in that setting. This provides a constant, trusted adult in the children’s schooling covering a full academic year of transition for the young people.

Additionally, the coach delivers sport-based activities on an evening, within the local community to engage the children in positive, diversionary activities.

Recent government research has suggested that the culture shift from primary to secondary school is one of the most critical periods of a child’s education. Published by Ofsted in September 2015, a report entitled ‘Key Stage 3: The Wasted Years’ concluded that “the rate of pupils’ progress and achievement [in Key Stage 3] were not good enough”.

Stepping Up is funded for the fourth year by Middlesbrough Council’s Public Health and Supporting Communities departments and MFC Foundation.

MFC Foundation have recently been successful at gaining additional funding from the Premier League/Players Football Association fund (PL/PFA) to sustain and grow the project between 2017 – 2020. Stepping Up currently engages 23 primaries and 3 secondary schools and employs four staff.

Contact Project Coordinator Steven on or 01642 757674


Charlie Is A Coach To The Core

One day Charlie Morris hopes to run her own team but for now she’s happy putting in all the hours she can learning every day from the chance she has been given.

When we meet during one of her sessions across one of the many projects she works on with MFC Foundation, hoping to gain a Coach Core qualification, she is putting a group of around 30 girls aged between five and nine through a warm-up exercise at the Herlingshaw Centre in Eston.

“I’ve been there,” she says. “I started playing football when I was two, I can relate to where they are now. Some like football, some have no idea what to do, but we have fun. At this age, it is about them enjoying themselves. If they are, then that gives me confidence.

“When I was younger there was none of these courses, now there are a few.”

There is an acknowledgement that as a young woman she is in a minority in a sport still dominated by males. But, she says, that’s changing.

“There are not many opportunities for women in coaching right now, not compared to men. It’s changing now though, already I can see a difference after the Women’s World Cup and the netball World Cup.

“I largely work with girls, but I do coach boys too sometimes. Some boys tell me I don’t know what I’m doing, but I do. It’s very important to be given a chance to show what you can do and I’m grateful for that.

“I love football, I’m a Boro fan, one day I’d like to run my own team, run my own drills and training sessions.

“I wasn’t really good at school, not at English and Maths anyway, PE was the only thing I was good at so coaching seemed a good idea.

“I’ve had help along the way in the three or four years I’ve been coaching, I did it in college too. I learn from each of the coaches I work with or under, the good and bad bits!

“One day I hope I’ll be in a position to help other people who want to take the same route as me.”