Talented young female football fans have qualified as football referees, and are now preparing to put their new skills to the test as officials of grassroots games.
Highfields launched its first referee academy after the February half-term, which was open to girls aged 14 and over.
The course was the first of its kind run by Birmingham FA, facilitated by Highfields and supported by the ConnectED partnership.
Students from Years 9-12 took part in the inaugural programme.
Following weeks of coaching, all of the students completed their final examination after a motivational talk from Lisa Rashid, a professional referee who will represent the FA at this year’s Women’s World Cup in France.
They will be now be given the chance to take charge of all of the school’s boys’ and girls’ football fixtures, whilst also having the opportunity to apply their skills in the local community where they will be able to earn money for refereeing grassroots football matches.
Mr C Brickwood, Highfields’ Head of PE, said: “At the start of February half-term a group of enthusiastic future Premier League match officials started their journey to become fully qualified football referees, and it is with great pleasure that I can announce that all of the girls passed.
“This is only the start of the journey as we look to grow the academy for both girls and boys in the near future. It is an opportunity for us to enhance the leadership skills of our own students and those from other schools, whilst developing their knowledge and understanding of the game. It is a really exciting project and we are delighted that it has had such a successful launch. Congratulations to all of the girls involved.”
The girls who have qualified are: Poppy Kelly, Georgia Harris, Georgia Derrick, India Rae Martin, Rhea Gill, Madison Hawley, Libby Naughton, Kira Patel, Holly Ryall-Jenkins and Amy Lamine-Simmons.