Tala, 13, joined her school halfway through Year 7. While everyone else had already settled in, she didn’t know anyone. Originally from Syria, she didn’t speak much English. This made her feel shy, and she struggled to make new friends. Although she initially struggled with her schoolwork, she loved PE lessons. As soon as she found out about the afterschool sports clubs, she decided to give them a go. She would turn up at the changing rooms, not knowing which club was on, but happy to give it a go… even if she wasn’t quite ready to chat to the others! Over time, not only did she make new friends through sport, but speaking up at clubs helped her to find her voice in class. She now excels in all her lessons, and her English skills are improving day on day. She has gone from being one of the quietest girls in her year group to someone with confidence taking on leadership roles such as form representative. Since she became involved with sport, she has made rapid progress in the classroom. While Tala has tried everything, football is one of her favourites, which she says is not just for boys!