Cricket burns bright in the Black Country

St John Bosco Catholic Primary School in West Bromwich is in the 12th most deprived local authority in the country and nearly a third of children in the area are considered clinically obese when they leave primary school. However, despite the challenges faced by the community, the pupils at St John Bosco are thriving on the opportunities they get to play cricket.

Teacher Craig Ellicott tells us that it was Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week in lockdown that really captured the imagination of the pupils. He explains that “they were activities that the children could do at home, in a confined space, or socially distant in school. It was safe and it was the sport [the children] wanted to do and they absolutely loved it.”

For Year 5 pupil Maisie it was what got her active during the lockdown: “I’d go to the park with my family, we’d take stumps and bat and just play around. We carried it on through lockdown to keep healthy and to keep active.” The importance of being active is something the children are taking on board; six-year-old Rhiyun tells us, “You can develop your mind and get your body stronger and build your muscles!”

What’s really impressed Craig is how inclusive the sessions are: “The emphasis is on fun, it’s about personal improvement. And when you take that emphasis off winning, the children who tend to be less engaged in PE are more likely to take part. You can see how proud of themselves they are when they’re able to improve their scores.”

The school is being supported by the Staffordshire Cricket Board team, who have been delivering Chance to Shine sessions. Craig has used school funding to subsidise an All Stars Cricket centre at the school, to make sure the children can continue playing cricket because he has seen what a difference it can make to them.

Building their love of cricket is keeping the pupils at St John Bosco fit, healthy and active.

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