The team from the Vale School won the tournament however, the focus of the event was inclusion and participation with William C Harvey being awarded a special runner up prize for fair play.
Other activities during the week included a special coaching session at the Vale School which allowed its students to receive an integrated coaching session with students from its mainstream sister school, Northumberland Park.
The tournament and coaching session put into practice alternative and accessible football rules which allowed the children to compete together on a level playing field, despite their differing physical, learning and behavioural disabilities.
Our community coaches regularly attend PE lessons at several of Haringey's special schools. These sessions aspire to develop and implement a more inclusive curriculum through increased access to and participation in football for all students with disabilities.
Barclaycard Free Kicks is a programme designed to open up football to people from disadvantaged areas, and help people with disabilities to play the game. Its support of the event was an extension of the disability programme it has developed with our Community Scheme over the past three seasons. The tournament has developed this programme by bringing the various schools together for the first time.
Vale School Teacher, Tony Millard, said of the weeks activities:
"Students who attend special schools love football like any other teenager. Having opportunities to demonstrate their skills alongside their mainstream peers during the integrated training sessions was great! The tournament was a serious competition. A desire to win was evident from all teams as the tackles flew in. Many thanks to THFC Community Scheme for a wonderful day!"
It's great that, with Barclaycard's support, we've been able to play a part in increasing sporting participation and inclusion for many local children with disabilities.
We look forward to extending this programme even further, and already have plans for an inter-borough tournament next summer.
On Friday November 14th 2003, our Community Scheme, supported by Barclaycard Free Kicks, hosted 50 children from 4 local special schools in a tournament to mark International Inclusion Week (November 10th -14th 2003).