Preparations are underway for six FA coaches to deliver the International Foundation Course to 72 teachers in the city of Zhongshan
In July, Jamie Houchen, Head of FA Learning, travelled to China to begin preparations to deliver The FA’s International Foundation Course to 72 teachers in the city of Zhongshan.
Meeting with key stakeholders in the cities of Guangzhou and Beijing, Houchen discussed a strategy for a team of six FA coaching staff to deliver what is believed to be the first western input into the Chinese Education Curriculum.
The project, which has been approved by the Chinese Government, will be called Sino-UK School Football Project and will authorise Dr Sun Yi Xian’s Youth Foundation to carry out its objectives for a period of 15 years.
On his return to the UK, Houchen expressed his delight in the initiative being given the green light and spoke of its potential to influence an emerging football culture hungry to learn from the expertise of The FA.
“To meet the governmental aims, this needs to be a long term project, and we are delighted to partner with the Dr Sun Yi Xian Foundation to share our Footballing history, education and expertise to influence a new culture within the Chinese Education system,” he said.
“Not only can we provide education in China, but we hope to welcome cohorts of Chinese Education to St Georges Park in the future to provide the ultimate English training experience, and foster further relations between our two countries.”
The pilot course will be launched in the autumn and hosted at the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Middle School in the city of Zhongshan. Its main objective is to increase the population of football participants in China.
Only a very small percentage of the Chinese population play football within schools for many reasons not dissimilar to those faced previously in England: lack of quality teachers and coaches, playing fields and facilities.
For Houchen, this initiative is an opportunity to further develop the game around the world as well as to highlight the value of physical education to young Chinese people by making football more accessible at grassroots level.
He said: “This project is very much a football development project, within the spirit of further developing the game worldwide. This is not a project aimed at developing professional players in China.
“This project has the support to progress and the opportunity to demonstrate, through a successful pilot, that it can help the Chinese Education system to engage more young people in the game of football, and use football as a tool to develop a new culture of physical education across China.”
In January the Department for Education, which has recently introduced three hours of physical activity and sport to the National Curriculum for the first time, will conduct an evaluation with all 72 teachers.
It will review the success of the initiative, how the content has been used in schools, and if children have engaged and enjoyed it.