Building teachers confidence and linking schools to cubs in Northumberland

In 2018, Northumberland Cricket Board inspired and coached 8,100 children in 90 primary schools through Chance to Shine.

Schools were offered Chance to Shine based on their proximity to one of the 32 clubs offering All Stars Cricket for children aged five to eight. As well as training teachers to continue with cricket after the programme, Northumberland developed clear links between schools and clubs so that children could get a taste of playing in a club environment.

Clubs were asked to host an All Stars Cricket taster session for the schools they were partnered with. Taking part in this taster session was a key requirement for schools receiving Chance to Shine. To make children feel as welcome as possible, taster sessions were ran by club coaches, All Stars Cricket volunteers and their Chance to Shine coach.

Northumberland’s hard work paid off – of the 1,030 children aged five to eight who signed up to All Stars Cricket across the county, 710 were from Chance to Shine schools. A further 400 children aged nine–11, too old to join All Stars Cricket, went on to join a club.

For a number of clubs, this made a significant impact to their All Stars Cricket intake. Corbridge Cricket Club, linked to Corbridge First School, had 55 children sign up; Tynemouth Cricket Club saw 46 children sign up; Bedlington Cricket Club hosted children from Whiley Memorial Primary School and had 19 sign up. Darren Leason of Bedlington Cricket Club, commented: “We made a conscious effort to engage with local schools to increase participation, especially Whitley Memorial, to give schools access to our facilities at any time – a number of these pupils regularly attend our junior cricket events.”

Grange First School is an example of how inspiring children and teachers, as well as linking schools to clubs, can support children to continue playing after Chance to Shine. In April 2018, coach James Morgan took the Chance to Shine programme to Year 1 and 2 children at Grange First School who were linked to Newcastle City Cricket Club, a 10 minute walk away.

Vanessa Slingsby, Year 2 teacher and PE Coordinator, was inspired by the quality of the coaching and seeing her pupils’ confidence and skills improve. She worked with Chance to Shine coach James to organise cricket training for all teachers and set up a visit to the local club, inviting parents along too.

James took 40 children, teachers and some parents to Newcastle City Cricket Club. As a result, 36 children signed up to All Stars Cricket there. Since Chance to Shine, Vanessa has continued to lead cricket in the school. She commented: “It was wonderful to see the children’s confidence and abilities absolutely flourish week on week. The Chance to Shine sessions were pacey, active, engaging and built confidence in some of our children with low self-esteem. It led so nicely in to the follow up cricket lessons which myself and other colleagues delivered using the Chance to Shine online resources. “I attended the taster session at Newcastle City Cricket Club and it was clear to see that the children were engaged and enjoying the activities. It is wonderful to hear that lots of our children continued to attend the All Stars sessions.

Before James came in, I’ll admit myself that cricket wasn’t something I had much confidence in teaching and I speak on behalf of my colleagues when I say it’s the sport we left until last – we didn’t really know where to start. However, now we can use the Chance to Shine resources online. You hit the Learn tab and it gives you loads of ideas on how you can take cricket and spread it across the curriculum like with English and Maths.”

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