Championship referee Josh Smith leads course at Bourne Grammar School
Seventeen students from Bourne Grammar School, primarily from years nine and ten, have been undertaking their FA Referee Award.
The course, led by Josh Smith – a former student who now referees full-time in the Championship – has required students to complete 11 hours of mainly practical activity with a 90-minute online learning module in addition.
This is the first time ever that such a course has been undertaken at school in association with the Lincolnshire FA, and has proven itself to be a great success.
The referees have been presented with their purple youth shirts from the Lincs FA and have spent afternoons officiating small-sided year 10 games.
As referees, they will now be able to officiate mini soccer, 9v9 and 11v11 matches. Initially, they will be assigned to Saturday games for Under 10s and younger, prior to progressing to Sunday games (to avoid their own matches) whereby they will be joined by assistant referees and the introduction of offside laws.
Following the completion of their fifth game, they will formally qualify and receive their badge from the FA.
Chris Ray, director of physical education at the school, explained: “We now have a nearly 30 qualified referees in school who regularly officiate matches at weekends.
“Not only does it provide a qualification but also develops skills in organisation, communication and confidence to name just a few.
“I would like to congratulate all students who have completed the course, wish them every success for the future and simply ask all parents reading this to recognise that when watching games in the future, the referees at weekends can be as young as 14-years-old and are developing their skills just as those playing are developing theirs. Please do congratulate them after the game if they have performed well as it will be appreciated.”