A teacher at a school for pupils with special needs has credited a football tournament for helping autistic children to learn how to share.

Leyton Orient Trust hosted Year 4 pupils from five primary school at its recent Premier League Primary Stars Football Festival.

More than 50 aspiring athletes gathered at the Score centre in Oliver Road, Leyton, for a day of mini-matches and fierce fun.

Referee duties were handled by students studying for their Level 2 diploma in sport students at the Leyton Orient Trust college study programme.

Maria, who teaches at Whitefield Academy in MacDonald Road, Walthamstow, said: “The majority of students from our school are on the autistic spectrum.

“This is the first time we’re taking the primary school pupils to a tournament, but they were so excited to come down today.

“For them football at the moment is dribbling, learning how to pass, different positions and games, so to play against another school takes it to another level.

“Usually autistic kids stay in their own world - they don’t like to share, but in football you have to share the ball.

“One girl today did really well today, she’s normally not very good at sharing, but we’ve been really impressed with how well she’s been passing the ball.”

At the end of the tournament, pupils were given Leyton Orient Football Club team posters.

The Premier League Primary Stars uses the appeal of the Premier League and professional football clubs to inspire children to learn, be active and develop important life skills.

Available to every primary school in England and Wales, it inspires girls and boys aged 5-11 in the classroom, the playground and on the sports field.

James Court, lead development coach at Leyton Orient Trust, said: “Events like this are a great opportunity for children to play football outside of the playground with pupils from other schools.