Educationalists, academics, youth and community workers, and football coaches attended the second citizenship conference of FARE founding member Kick It Out on 14th June. The Manchester conference attracted more than 220 delegates from across the country.
Energising morning session
Delegates were welcomed to the event by Manchester United Chief Executive David Gill, before Lord Herman Ouseley chaired an energising morning session with some of the country's leading authorities on citizenship and the education of ethnic minority pupils.
Lord Ouseley was joined by Steve Smith, Manager of the Leeds United Learning Centre, who was giving an overview of his approach to using football in an educational environment.
In a moving story he relayed his experience of teaching a young pupil who challenged the views of her grandfather with whom she lived, after she had been told not to play with local Asian children. On hearing her view her grandfather admitted he was wrong with tears in his eyes.
Delegates were given the opportunity to relay their own thoughts and ideas on how the power of sport can be harnessed to deliver educational messages through a series of workshops. In these smaller sessions experts in using football and the arts and promting citizenship presented their work as examples of good practice.
Ideas from delegates
In the final session workshop chairs reported back on the themes discussed in the workshops and practical ideas put forward during the afternoon.
Suggestions from the delegates included conducting a national survey amongst young people to gain a better understanding of their feelings about racism in sport and society; using football as a reward for classroom achievement; the need to counter negative stereotypes in the media about Asylum seekers and refugees; and using positive role models from sport to engage young people's interest.
Lively panel discussion
The day ended with a lively panel discussion with England Women's star, Sue Smith; former Wolves legend George Berry, the first black player to play for Wales; Rugby League side Salford Reds Aboriginal centre, Kevin McGuinness; and M People percussionist Shovell. All took questions from delegates and pupils from Forest Gate School in Manchester, who had joined the conference for the final hour.
Piara Powar, Director of FARE partner – Kick It Out, presented the final session of the day and said,
“The quality of discussion at the conference was high and reflected the vast experience of the speakers and delegates. All brought a passion to the gathering that is a testiment to the commitment of many in the education sector”.
“A great deal of innovative ideas were presented from around the country. I'm sure delegates will use information and ideas gained from the conference in their daily practice”.
“Ultimately we hope the conference can contribute in a small way to helping future generations understand the value of communities that are multi-racial, respectful and tolerant”.