Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Thursday, 1 July 2010 12:56 UK

Why a World Cup tournament and no England?

Students at The Polesworth School in Tamworth took part in their own version of the World Cup football tournament.

School Reporters find out why the language department was getting involved in the act.

By Dana, Fran and Sarah
From the Polesworth School, Tamworth

French flag
Students became 'fans' of different countries' teams

This event was a joint venture between the PE and Modern Languages Departments. While PE organised the logistics of the matches and the games on the day, the Language department ensured that the supporters and the players learned all about the game in French, as well as being able to chant and sing various songs to support their teams. The Language department also organised banners and flags in French.

Each of the eight tutor groups in Year 8 were allocated a country. Each country chose a boys' team and a girls' team, together with some reserves. The pupils who were not selected to be part of the football team were either team supporters or journalists. The players produced player profiles about where they played, which team they represented and their likes and dislikes.

The language of football

One of the organisers of the event, head of Modern Languages, Mrs Maclay, explained why she was getting involved in a sports day. She said that it was important for boys as well as girls to do well in languages and an event such as the World Cup could prove to be inspirational, giving pupils a reason to learn a language at the same time as having a bit of fun; taking part in a healthy team game while, at the same time, injecting a bit of competition into the equation.

The weather on the day was fantastic and the fact that England were playing their final qualifier in the first round of the World Cup that evening, made everyone more focused on what was going on.

However, there was one team missing in our tournament - England. As not everyone could be England, it was decided that no-one would be England and in the spirit of focusing on language and football, it made sense to allocate other World Cup teams to classes rather than England.

Boys v girls

School children playing football
Girls and boys were divided on who was better at sport

The players represented teams from France, Ivory Coast, Portugal, Italy, Brazil, Argentina and Holland.

The members in our team appeared to confirm our already-held beliefs that boys are usually better at sports than girls and that, if you like a sport, you're more likely to do well at it, whereas if you don't like it, you are just as likely to perform poorly at it.

Predictably, at our own World Cup tournament, when we asked players: "Are boys or girls better at sport?" the boys said that the boys were better, whereas the girls said that they were the best. Of the 12 asked, at least two felt that boys and girls were as good as each other, as it was down to inherent talent, not gender.

Interestingly, when they were asked whether or not they liked sports and PE in general, without exception, the boys liked or loved it, both as a school subject and outside school, whereas the majority of the girls maintained that they disliked sports.


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