Cricket Ties It All Together In Luton

At Denbigh Primary School in Luton, cricket is helping the pupils stay fit, active and healthy; aiding the development of pupils’ personal and social skills, and is even credited for the school’s recent improvement in exam results.

Arriving at the school, located in one of the 10% most deprived wards in the country, you wouldn’t expect it to be the cricketing powerhouse of the town. Surrounded by narrow, cramped streets, the only green spaces are postage stamp front gardens and the chewed-up mud on the verges of the pavement. But enter into the school and it’s clear that cricket is the passion of so many of these children.

The school first received Chance to Shine coaching in 2014 to support and encourage them to take part in  Bedfordshire Cricket Board’s indoor league in Luton. The school has gone from strength to strength and in 2017 won the indoor league, going unbeaten throughout the season.

Luton has some of the highest levels of childhood obesity in the country, with 40% of Year 6 pupils classed as overweight or obese. Aware of this, the Senior Leadership Team at Denbigh, see cricket as a vital part of the education that they give their pupils. PE Teacher Tyrone West feels fully supported to take every opportunity to enthuse and inspire the children to enjoy sport: “Our leadership team acknowledge the power of sport, its physical, social and emotional benefits.”

The students are learning teamwork, respect and communication skills, which Deputy Headteacher Alan Hodges says has had a significant impact on the children: “There’s a sense of teamwork, a sense of supporting each other, a sense of collaboration that the children have. They’re developing excellent language in terms of supporting each other and working together has helped them to develop a strong team ethos.”

Most importantly, the children love the sessions. Year 6 pupil Nafisa says, “What I like about cricket lessons is the fun of it. It’s just entertaining for me. The experience of it is just amazing.” Musanna, who’s 10, told us, “It’s a really fun sport and you learn a lot of things from it, mentally and physically.”

West believes that the sport is not only improving the children’s character and their physical wellbeing, but is also supporting learning and contributing to success within the classroom. “Cricket has been used as the golden thread throughout the whole school, driving improvements in numeracy and literacy. Last year was one of our most successful years for Year 6 SATs results.”

The school’s recent OFSTED inspection notes that ‘physical education lessons are planned to specifically broaden pupils’ vocabulary, give them opportunities to apply mathematical skills and provide rich material to stimulate their writing.’

The pupils at Denbigh Primary School are an incredible example of what the power of cricket can do for children across the country.

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