The Football for Schools (F4S) Programme aims to promote and facilitate cooperation between MAs, the competent governmental authorities and the participating schools with a view to establishing an effective partnership as well as roles and responsibilities.
Given that the F4S Programme is designed to be used in school settings, it is essential that the Ministry of Education (or equivalent) be involved. School-based programmes that are developed outside of the ministry require government approval in order to be implemented in schools. Apart from providing permission and facilitating access to schools, this will ensure that ministry policies and codes of conduct (e.g. child safeguarding) are adhered to. In addition, the ministry will play a key role in finding useful links with other programmes and training opportunities, and in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the programme.
This is important as the MA is not the governing entity for schools, and as such it will need to cooperate with the relevant authority (which may differ from one country to another). Should programme developers seek to work in schools outside the public (government) system, other school governing bodies (e.g. religious groups or private schools) may also need to be approached for permission.
While the situation in terms of F4S management may vary from one country to another, it is important that stakeholders reach a formal agreement before the programme is rolled out, including in relation to the processes for training, selecting schools and setting overall programme targets, implementation, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and administrative support. It is recommended that a F4S national steering group (NSG) or management committee be established at national level to manage and guide the programme in their respective countries.
What is a national steering group?
The NSG is responsible for the governance and management of the F4S Programme within its territory. This includes the adaptation, delivery and M&E of the programme. The NSG would ideally be constituted as soon as possible before an official application to join the F4S Programme is submitted. It is vital that the NSG reach a formal agreement before the programme is rolled out, including in relation to the processes for training, selecting schools and setting overall programme targets, implementation, M&E and administrative support.
The NSG should comprise officials from the MA and the relevant ministry or public authority (in many cases, this is likely to be the Ministry of Education, or MoE). The NSG designates national F4S focal points (ideally at least one from the MA and a relevant ministry apiece) who will attend a regional workshop. One of the focal points should take on the role of national training coordinator (NTC), who will oversee the roll-out of the national/local training of trainers in the territory. Other focal points may share responsibility for the governance and administration of the programme and may include other stakeholders.
Interested parties can be provided with a draft terms of reference (ToR) document to guide the work of the NSG.