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Using the power of football to transform the lives of young people

Football Beyond Borders (FBB)

location_on United Kingdom
Our model combines gender-specific, football-themed social and emotional learning curricula and therapeutic practise with qualified counsellors to develop the key skills defined by CASEL of self awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills and responsible decision making in young people who are disengaged at school, many of whom are at risk from school and social exclusion.
We believe in asset-based, relational practice and are proud of our expertise and the resources we have developed for the intentional and purposeful development of SEL skills. Let's learn together.



HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.
Key figures

Innovation Overview

Target Group
1 536
Updated on June 28th, 2022
about the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

FBB was set up in 2014 to combat the UK’s national crisis of school exclusions. Many young people excluded from school end up in prison - 89% of children in custody and detention in 2017-18 reported having been excluded from school. Every year’s cohort of permanently excluded pupils (7,905 young people in 2019) costs the UK, on average, £2.1 billion. We exist to change this.

How does your innovation work in practice?

Our mission is to help young people who experience disadvantage to develop the skills and grades necessary to transition into adulthood. Our outcomes are to enable young people to finish school (98%), obtain GCSE English and maths pass grades (78%) and improve their age-related social and emotional competencies (60%). We define SEL using the CASEL framework and assess progress using DSEC-S. Helping a teenager to talk about their emotions is not easy. This is where football plays a vital role; our participants learn through play. We create safe spaces where young people - many of whom have experienced trauma - can engage with their full spectrum of emotions. Our proprietary K-12 curriculum is co-designed with young people and informed by attachment theory, developmental trauma, neuroscience and humanistic therapy. We teach SEL explicitly in the classroom and reflect through learning questions on the pitch to ensure inter-domain transfer. Relationships are key.

How has it been spreading?

FBB was formed by a group of students who toured the world using football as a tool for social cohesion. In 2014, our founders began delivering a programme with 15 young people in London. We now run 100 programmes and directly support over 1500 young people. We work in partnership with schools and develop whole-school approaches to SEL. Recent achievements include: our SEL emotion cards and resources; maintaining meaningful contact with 91% of participants through the pandemic; revolutionising therapeutic practice. Our goal is to create safe and playful environments for young people to explore their passions and feel comfortable making mistakes. We want to share best practice, scale our curricula and influence governments to embrace SEL as key to lifelong learning and equitable outcomes.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Our goal is to ensure every young person has a trusted and empathetic adult by their side throughout their adolescence. Football is a powerful tool, but anyone whose offer includes relationships could develop a similar solution. We’ve been influenced by the Kernels of Practice approach identified by the EASEL lab and develop practice-based-evidence through insight reports. Get in touch!


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Achievements & Awards

September 2020
The CSJ Awards 2020 | Education Award: Football Beyond Borders
March 2020
Sport Industry - Tessa Jowell Social and Environmental Impact Award

Spread of the innovation

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