Blog: "Cricket’s not always been seen as a sport that's expected in an area like this"

Jane Dube, Head Teacher at Hawthorn Primary School in Newcastle upon Tyne reflects on how cricket is changing things for children at her school

Until two years ago, cricket wasn’t really a sport that children here took part in. But then we began working with Chance to Shine and the ECB and that’s all changed. It’s really opened cricket up to the children.

Hawthorn is an inner city school in Newcastle upon Tyne, and cricket’s not always been seen as a sport that's expected in an area like this, but actually the children love it.

The support we’ve had through the coaches with Chance to Shine has been absolutely amazing. They're so good with the children and they've really opened that door to the children.

Our pupils now know about cricket, understand a little bit about the cricket world and are getting the chance to get really good, high quality lessons. They really love it.

We don't just do it through our normal PE lessons. The children just love it so much that they are choosing to play little mini cricket games at breaks and lunch times because they enjoy doing it, so they set up little team games for themselves. We also run a cricket club after school and so the children choose to join in with that as well. It’s been really well supported by the children.

It doesn’t stop there. As part of this work, the children have also had the chance to take part in cricket outside of school, in community groups. The children that have got skills or talents or real interest have been able to keep playing free of charge in the community with Chance to Shine's Street Cricket Club at the Newcastle United Foundation's facilities .

We’ve seen so many benefits. We do an awful lot of work on being active to be healthy, but there’s also playing as part of a team and supporting each other. I think a lot of the hand- eye coordination and the focus that you need for cricket is beneficial – the teachers have really noticed that developing in the children, and children that maybe aren't able to focus for a long period of time in class have really kept their focus through the cricket lessons and really benefited from that.

The way that it's taught through Chance to Shine, the way the coaches approach the lessons, it really makes it accessible to the children. It’s been so positive for our school and the children. I’m really pleased that more schools like ours are now getting the opportunity to see the benefits of cricket.