Shropshire Star

Telford pupils host final at English football’s HQ

Pupils from a Telford school helped host the final of a Midlands League competition at St George's Park.


The youngsters from Queens Specialist School visited the home of English football and played a key role in organising the final of this year's SEND Midland Football League.

The school, which has two sites in Telford, caters for children and young people on the autistic spectrum, and those with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

The league was founded in 2015 to create special school extracurricular opportunities, and has since grown to 30 schools.

League founder and deputy headteacher at Queensway, Sam Wilde said: "There was a real lack of special school extracurricular opportunities in the region, and so the league was created in 2015 to fill that gap.

"It started with eight schools and has grown year on year with 30 schools from across the Midlands entering every season post-Covid.

"We're now having to put schools on the waiting list to enter as the demand for places is so high."

The league is split into three divisions, and four teams make it through to the semi-finals each year.

This season, the Oasis from Wolverhampton beat Solihull Academy 6-4 at St George's Park in the final.

Wilde added that the league has first and foremost helped promote positive relationships and has improved engagement in lessons.

He added: "The Queensway students did a fantastic job in hosting the event and there were students and staff from other schools attending on the day too.

"The event provides an excellent platform for special schools to network and share good practice.

"Many of the 30 schools who compete in the league have told us how much their students look forward to playing the matches. And how the league has helped to promote positive relationships, and instil core values in children who struggle with their mental health and social interactions.

"The football league has also helped many children improve their behaviour, as it has been a key incentive in working on their attendance, punctuality, and engagement in lessons."

The league will restart in September and runs right through the academic year before the final at St George's Park in early July next year.