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9 September 2009 | PR 09/117

State school cricket scheme teaches pupils “the three Fs”: Fitness, Friendship and Fair play

Chance to shineCricket is improving the ‘social well-being’ of thousands of state school pupils according to new research unveiled by Loughborough University today. 

The report by the Institute of Youth Sport (IYS) in the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) found that pupils involved in the national Chance to shine initiative displayed increased fitness levels, greater social skills and improved sportsmanlike behaviour.

There is also evidence that cricket is improving the behaviour of young people both on and off the field, particularly in deprived areas; while the so-called “gentleman’s game” is helping girls to ‘overcome restrictive gender beliefs’ and gain confidence in playing sport.

It may be helping to cut down truancy, too, as significantly more pupils look forward to and enjoy attending school when Chance to shine is taking place - 53% compared to 36% when it is not.

Chance to shine is the Cricket Foundation’s campaign to bring cricket and its educational benefits to at least two million children by 2015. The cricket charity commissioned Loughborough’s IYS to look at the impact that Chance to shine had on the 3,000 state schools and 350,000 pupils that took part in 2009.

Dr Ruth Jeanes, who led the research, says: “Whilst Chance to shine is undoubtedly having a positive impact on general cricket provision and the development of opportunities for young people, its contribution to improving the social wellbeing of many of its participants illustrates that it is much more than just a cricket development initiative.” 

The potential of cricket for supporting young people in developing friendships and support networks was illustrated by one of the cricket coaches cited in the report. He describes how a child had been severely bullied all his life to the extent that he was ‘quite psychologically damaged’ and required a psychiatrist. It was only when he joined the local cricket club, through Chance to shine, that he started to make friends and according to his consultant ‘cricket had been his saviour’.

The research describes how the cricket sessions have contributed positively to the development of pupils’ social skills such as teamwork, as one Year 5 pupil explains: “We’ve all, like, bonded a bit more. We’ve realised that we’ve got to work as a team . . . because there’s no point in just trying to be selfish and barging other people and catching the ball so you get all the pride, but if someone catches it’s the whole team’s pride”.

‘Fair play’ was a recurring theme in the report with pupils saying that winning is not the most important thing when playing cricket and that they just enjoy participating in cricket as it is ‘fun’.

“You learn sportsmanship, you can work together and help people out,” says one Year 5 pupil, while a Year 6 female pupil interviewed says that cheating in cricket was uncommon: “With football they (the boys) sometimes kick you and things but with cricket no one really tries to trick you and cheat. And we clap when someone does well”.  

The IYS report found that Chance to shine was having an impact on pupils’ fitness levels as they were continually involved and active in various activities throughout the sessions. It also improved pupils’ involvement in PE and increased their motivation, especially those that tended to dislike sports, giving them ‘a new lease of life’ and ‘an opportunity to be successful’.

The value of the cricket sessions for improving girls’ confidence was notable and they were especially successful at encouraging Asian girls to become involved in cricket.

Chance to shine has even helped some girls to gain a new-found status in school:  “It’s like everyone says girls can’t do cricket, they are no good at boys’ sports but we are doing it and we are really good.  We keep winning all the time and it has made the boys realise we can be as good as them.” (Year 6 pupil).

Wasim Khan, Chief Executive of the Cricket Foundation says: “The news that Chance to shine is having a major impact on our schools, teachers and pupils is fantastic. We will continue to strive to give as many young people the opportunity to play and be educated through cricket.”

Ashes hero and Chance to shine Ambassador Andrew Flintoff adds: “I think it’s massively important for kids to get involved in cricket for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it’s a lot of fun. But it can also teach you a lot of good things – respect, self-confidence, discipline, all things you need to grow up as a good person.”


For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

1.  For information on Chance to shine please contact:  

2.  For information on Loughborough University’s Institute of Youth Sport please contact: Amanda Overend (details as above).

3.  The Institute of Youth Sport’s ‘Chance to shine evaluation’ can be read at www.chancetoshine.org

4.  About Chance to shine
Chance to shine is the single biggest grass-roots sports development programme ever undertaken in Britain. The campaign aims to establish regular coaching and competitive cricket opportunities in a third of state schools - 5,200 primary and 1,500 secondary schools - by 2015. To date, around 750,000 girls and boys in 3,000 schools have participated in the programme since its launch in May 2005. The charity needs to raise £25million through private donors, which the Government, through Sport England, has pledged to match-fund. http://www.chancetoshine.org/

5.  About Loughborough University
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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