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A million chances for youngsters

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One million school children have now benefited from Chance to shine – the campaign to educate children in state schools through cricket - The Cricket Foundation announced today.

As it marks the fifth anniversary of Chance to shine, the charity also published the results of an online YouGov survey of 993 parents of children aged eight to 17 which attend state schools.

The survey shows that cricket has become less elitist and more ethnically diverse than in the past, with a greater number of girls now being offered cricket at school.

Chance To Shine

Pupils at St Thomas Primary School in Exeter help to celebrate Chance to Shine’s fifth anniversary in style

Asked whether cricket has become less elitist than when they were at school, three times as many parents of children at state schools polled agreed or strongly agreed (42%), compared to those that disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement (13%).

Nearly half of parents (48%) agreed or strongly agreed that people from a wider range of ethnic backgrounds are playing cricket more than was the case when they were at school.

A quarter of mums polled (24%) said that cricket is now offered as a team sport to girls at their child’s school - twice the number that say the gentleman’s game was an option for them when they were at school (11%).

Nearly half of parents (48%) agreed or strongly agreed that people from a wider range of ethnic backgrounds are playing cricket more than was the case when they were at school.

A quarter of mums polled (24%) said that cricket is now offered as a team sport to girls at their child’s school; twice the proportion that say the gentleman’s game was an option for them when they were at school (11%).

Other highlights from the YouGov survey include:

  • Three-quarters of dads surveyed (75%) say cricket was offered to them as a school team sport compared to 37% who say cricket is now offered at their child’s school.
  • Half of parents polled (49%) say that while their child received cricket coaching at school they did not play a single match against another school, although a third of parents from the survey (30%) did say their child plays between one and five internal cricket matches (formal matches between two teams within school).
  • The majority of parents surveyed (54%) say that, if it was not already provided, they would like cricket to be an option at their child’s school.
  • Two thirds of respondents (66%) believed that competitive team sports, like cricket, can improve children’s academic results (72% among dads polled).
  • The main reasons given by these respondents for sport improving their child’s grades were boosted confidence (35%), provided discipline (25%), increased motivation (20%) and improved concentration (11%)
    Wasim Khan, Chief Executive of The Cricket Foundation, said: “Chance to shine has made huge strides over the past five years since it launched and reaching one million school children is a real landmark for the charity.

“However, as our survey shows, there is still much work to be done and we will continue to strive to bring cricket and its educational benefits to thousands more youngsters in state schools over the next five years and beyond.”

To celebrate Chance to shine’s fifth anniversary, The Cricket Foundation is launching a public appeal - Step up to the Crease! - fronted by England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.

Schools, clubs and the cricket-loving general public across the country will be asked to help raise small amounts for Chance to shine over the summer. Non-uniform days, sponsored walks, cricket festivals, match fee donations and cricket tea sales are among the charity’s fundraising suggestions for supporters.

The cricket-loving public can also show their support by buying a seat on Chance to shine’s virtual Supporters’ Stadium on chancetoshine.org.

Chance To Shine

Rachel Sanders became the one millionth child to benefit from The Cricket Foundation’s Chance to Shine campaign

Flintoff explained why he is backing Chance to shine and the Step up appeal.

“Cricket in state schools was in real danger of dying out before Chance to shine launched in 2005," he said.

"I believe every child has the right to play competitive cricket at school and to learn skills that they can use throughout their lives.

“Step up to the Crease! is a great way for schools, clubs and cricket fans to do their bit for Chance to shine and help sustain this fantastic campaign.”

Rachel Sanders, 11, from St Thomas Primary School in Exeter, became the one millionth child to take part in a Chance to shine session. The school joined the programme in 2010 and pupils aged eight to 11 are now enjoying weekly cricket sessions from a coach from Exeter Cricket Club.

Chance to shine is fully supported by England & Wales Cricket Board, The Lord’s Taverners and MCC and is now one of the biggest school sport development initiative ever undertaken in Britain.

In 2010, Chance to shine will operate in 3,700 state primary and secondary schools, through 422 clubs across the country, and will give around 400,000 girls and boys the opportunity to enjoy and learn through cricket.
Further information can be found at chancetoshine.org.