Sussex Cricket is on a mission to ensure more children get the chance to enjoy cricket than ever before. Funded by Chance to Shine, Sussex Cricket run cricket training in over 107 primary schools across West Sussex during curriculum time, giving children across a range of years and abilities access to high level coaching and the opportunity to have fun and develop skills. Coaches are also on hand to offer advice about the many local cricket clubs that would welcome those children that decide they want to continue to play outside of school time. Last year the scheme reached more than 13,000 children across Sussex, and local clubs have reported seeing an upturn in numbers since the programme began.

The Laurels Primary School in Worthing is one school to have benefited greatly from this provision.   In the summer term year 5 and 6 pupils took part in the 6 week course, making the most of the 2 hours a week professional coaching from Cricket Development Officer, Alex King. This term the year 4 and 5 pupils are benefitting from the same programme. The children really enjoy the sessions, with the majority of pupils citing their favourite position as batting, saying they love ‘hitting the ball’ and ‘making it go really far.’ One pupil said ‘it is so much fun, there is nothing boring.’ Many of the children had not played cricket before and were keen to continue playing. Alex, who has played cricket for over 14 years, said ‘There is no better job satisfaction than seeing all the children smiling at the end of the session. It is a privilege to see them developing their physical, emotional, technical and social skills during the sessions.’

Headteacher Charlotte Bull said, ‘to have the expertise from Alex to coach our children is of great value to our pupils. Not only do they learn cricket skills but they are enthused by Alex’s passion for the game and have such a great time. Giving pupils a range of sporting opportunities at The Laurels is very important, we want our pupils to not only develop their individual skills and enjoy sport, but to also learn about team work and resilience. The sessions from Sussex Cricket tick all these boxes. ’ In order to be able to continue with cricket practise outside of the programme coaching time, The Laurels were fortunate enough to have a range of equipment including bats, balls and stumps donated to them by Sussex Cricket.

As part of Durrington Multi Academy Trust (DMAT) students at The Laurels also benefit from the expert PE teachers from fellow DMAT school, Durrington High. They come into the school on a weekly basis to teach the pupils a variety of sports across all year groups. Sussex Cricket also works closely with Durrington High School, training their sports leaders (students) and running competitions.  They will be hosting a competition for 4 local primary schools in February at Durrington High.

Alongside the Chance to Shine Programme, Sussex Cricket also run a competition programme for primary schools, giving pupils the chance to play in a competitive environment. Gary Wallis-Tayler, who heads up the schools programmes, said ‘The competition programme aims to encourage the schools to continue with their cricket coaching so they can compete at county level and embed the sport within their school. Last summer we held over 40 primary competitions which involved over 1000 matches.’ To help schools achieve this Sussex Cricket also offers teacher training courses. Carl Tupper, Territory Manage (West) explains ‘upskilling teachers is a really valuable tool in helping schools continue with cricket, offering the students continuity of coaching throughout the years.’ Sussex Cricket are also able to offer bespoke after school packages, working closely with schools to provide something that fits their needs and budget.

If you think your school would benefit from taking part in this programme please contact Carl Tupper on carl.tupper@sussexcricket.co.uk

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