“Chance to Shine is by far the best sports development project that I have seen and experienced”

Ling Bob Primary School in Halifax has been involved in Chance to Shine since its launch in 2005. We recently caught up with Deputy Head Teacher, Dorian Brooksby, to see how, seven years on, the programme has had a massive impact throughout the school, including on the teachers and most importantly the children.

Tell us about Ling Bob School:

Ling Bob School is a primary school based in North Halifax. It’s a very challenging area of North Halifax. The school has a very high free school meal intake and we have at least eighteen languages in school spoken at one time. We have high mobility both in and out, nevertheless it’s a very busy school, a very happy school and there are always lots and lots of different initiatives both from local, regional and national perspectives taking place.


How long have you been at the school?

I’ve been here for fourteen years and a teacher overall for thirty years. I first of all started in the secondary sector as head of PE for almost ten years and now I have spent twenty years in primary schools predominantly doing physical education.


How has Ling Bob changed since you have been here?

Ling Bob was a very different school to what it is now in 2012 both from a staffing and a ground and building perspective. We are a visually impaired school so there are pupils with vision impairment. At the time there were twelve or thirteen of those pupils in the school but as these pupils have gone into their local schools the number has diminished. Chance to Shine has had a major impact in the development of the school, as indeed have a number of major initiatives, but certainly Chance to Shine has had a massive amount of positive impact from an academic side, a social side and as well as the maintenance of the school grounds as well.


Tell us about your Chance to Shine journey?

(On Chance to Shine) What a fantastic journey it has been, both from an individual point of view and also from a schools perspective. It has had a phenomenal impact on the school. As I said, I have been a teacher for thirty years and have seen many different sports projects come and go in that time, but Chance to Shine is by far the best sports development project that I have seen and experienced in that time. Its impact on behaviour has been superb, its professionalism, the way that it is organised both from a local clubs perspective (Illingworth CC) and from a regional perspective (Yorkshire Cricket Board). Chance to Shine and the Cricket Foundation have been outstanding. The funding has been there to sustain the impact, not only from a cricket perspective but also for the development of the school, school teachers, support staff and also the children in both the social and emotional aspects of learning.


How have the school benefited from Chance to Shine?

We have benefited from school/club links with Illingworth CC and other local clubs, meeting overseas players that have come over from Australia and South Africa to Illingworth CC, the Australians have received plenty of stick as England have beaten them when they have been over which has been memorable! The children have benefited from gaining other skills, not only in cricket and a healthy lifestyle. They have seen the coaches teach in modern foreign language and IT lessons on national cricket day and it has really had a major impact on their lives. The present year 5 and 6’s have seen Chance to Shine in their school through years 1 to 4 and couldn’t wait for their chance to shine.


Is Chance to Shine now embedded in the school?

Chance to Shine is embedded in the school and its impact has been phenomenal from a grounds, equipment and facility point of view, but also in the CPD for the teachers. Whilst pupil mobility is high also staff mobility is high through promotion and when the teachers who have received CPD move on then the school loses some of its impact and sustainability. New teachers have come in and fortunately we have been able to maintain the link with Illingworth CC and chance to shine and maintain that level of CPD. Whilst we have lost CPD initially, other schools have benefited, we are spreading the CPD which has been based at Ling Bob.


How important are the links between Ling Bob and the local clubs?

The link with Illingworth CC is very important. The sustainability of having the same coaching team throughout six or seven years has been really important not only from a staff point of view but from a pupil point of view and for the club and school links. I know that the coaches have been extremely well prepared, very professional and there have been some success stories with coaches going on and getting jobs in schools and becoming qualified teachers or youth workers. We have been very lucky at Ling Bob having a special team of coaches over time from Illingworth CC and the overseas players that they have brought along as well.


What would you say to anyone looking to invest in Chance to Shine or to a school looking to start the programme?

From a trustees point of view and sponsors point of view, any donation of financial input that they give to Chance to Shine and the Cricket Foundation would certainly gain value for money without a shadow of a doubt and they should have no hesitation in making that donation or contribution. As far as schools are concerned, they should bite the hand off a Chance to Shine club if they come knocking, cause it really is a huge benefit for the staff, the pupils, the local community and for children as a whole.


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