1.Chance to Shine is a national charity that creates opportunities for children and young people to play, learn and develop through cricket. In a typical year, we work with around 600,000 young people in state schools and disadvantaged communities. Our programmes aim to give children a positive experience of cricket and, through playing the sport, support them to improve their physical, mental and social wellbeing. Our research and evidence has shown that our programmes are successful in getting more children active, particularly those who might not normally play sport, as well as developing children’s confidence and self-belief. Teachers tell us of the positive impact that the sessions have on children’s development in areas like teamwork, resilience and communication. The values and the Spirit of Cricket are used to teach children to be magnanimous in victory and dignified in defeat.
2.We usually work in around a quarter of state primary schools across England & Wales and are increasing our work in secondary schools as well, primarily focussing on supporting girls to play the sport. Our Chance to Shine Street programme is an out of school offer that is targeted at urban, disadvantaged areas with a lack of access to traditional cricket clubs – before the pandemic, there were over 200 projects across England. Chance to Shine Street works with young people between the ages of eight and 24, over 85% are from diverse ethnic backgrounds. All of our work is free at the point of access.
3.We are an independent charity and our major funding partners are the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who fund much of our work in primary schools, and Sport England, whose funding is focussed on the Street programme. We raise further funds from private sources including trusts & foundations, fundraising events, corporate partners and individual donors.
4.This submission has been prepared on behalf of Chance to Shine by the charity’s Communications Manager, Adam Sofroniou.
How can local delivery, including funding structures, of sport and recreation be improved to ensure that people of all ages and abilities are able to lead an active lifestyle? For example, how successfully do local authorities and other bodies such as Active Partnerships, Leisure Trusts, local sports clubs and charities work together, and how might coordination be improved?
We believe that one of the most important aspects to supporting young people across the country is to utilise local experts. At Chance to Shine, we have a network of over 800 coaches who work in regions across the country. Coaches work within the network of the 39 county cricket boards who are responsible for all recreational cricket in their area. Coaches have a thorough understanding of all other opportunities for young people to play cricket outside of a school environment. These opportunities include traditional cricket clubs, the ECB’s All Stars Cricket programme and our Chance to Shine Street sessions. This ensures that the interest and excitement generated by sessions in school is then continued in a community setting. Many schools are strategically selected due to their proximity to an out-of-school cricket opportunity. In areas where there aren’t existing opportunities to continue playing, boards often look to set up after-school clubs on site through the All Stars Cricket programme and, particularly in deprived areas, many schools use their School Sports Premium to partially or fully subsidise the programme.
6.Case Study: At Langley Primary School in Dudley, in a very deprived community, the school has built a culture of cricket over the last three years. First receiving Chance to Shine sessions in 2018, they saw the positive response from the pupils to the sport and offered an on-site All Stars Cricket programme. 56 children signed up for just 20 spaces and the school ended up running two sessions to meet the demand. By removing barriers like cost and travel, the school was able to ensure that they captured the enthusiasm of the timetabled sessions and keep children active.
Chance to Shine has a strong working relationship with the Youth Sports Trust and with the network of School Games Organisers. SGOs provide a focal point for schools to contact and understand all the opportunities in sport their area. SGOs direct schools to our free online resources and help to forge new contacts for direct delivery.
8.In Birmingham, the close relationship with the SGOs has proved extremely beneficial. Chance to Shine coaches have provided their expertise to help the local SGOs give schools information and resources. In 2020, the local SGOs were running weekly virtual challenges to support schools who still had children on site and those providing home-schooling. The Chance to Shine lead in Warwickshire coordinated with the SGOs to provide cricket activities that proved the most popular over the course of the summer with over 450 children joining in. This was a great example of how partnership working can help us to reach a wider audience and support more children to keep active.
9.As a national charity, we make good use of local school sports infrastructure, such as facilities and coordinators as well as local experts to help ensure individual projects meet local need. We believe it is functioning competently at the moment and in order to improve would suggest continued and improved sharing of national and local data to help inform decision making.
Our Street cricket programme is an out of school club for young people aged eight to 24 and works in urban, disadvantaged communities. Integral to the success of a project is finding the right local partner to work with. In some areas this may be the local county cricket board but we have also had success working alongside existing youth groups. In Sunderland, we partnered with Young Asian Voices (YAV) – a youth charity – to train their staff to deliver our programme. Working together, the programme has had significant success, supporting around 300 young people to take part in a typical week. The success is built on the existing relationship between the youth workers and the young people, giving the participants the chance to get active in a familiar and friendly setting. YAV have a powerful insight and understanding of the young people to ensure that any concerns or barriers are dealt with.
How can children and young people be encouraged to participate in sport and recreation both at school and outside school, and lead an active lifestyle? If possible, share examples of success stories and good practice, and challenges faced.
11.We believe that forming a positive relationship with physical activity in childhood is crucial in maintaining an active lifestyle throughout adulthood. Many young people are put off ‘sport’ by experiences in school and it can take a long time to repair the damage.
In primary schools, we focus on inclusion and offering sessions that focus on individual progression and ‘fun’. We have seen that it’s vitally important to make a positive first impression on children to prevent them from forming a negative relationship with sport. Many of the children we work with tell us that they were nervous and unconfident about playing cricket before their first session but that the enjoyment they got out of trying the sport encouraged them to continue playing.
13.At Chance to Shine, we are regularly told by teachers that our sessions interest pupils who do not normally take a full part in PE lessons. Last year, 86% of the teachers we surveyed (sample size: 1,298) said that our sessions “engaged pupils less likely to be physically active, or play sport outside of school.” We believe that a significant part of this is down to the coaching style used in our sessions that we have developed in partnership with PE specialists Create Development.
14.There are 3 key elements which we believe support ‘less active’ children to join in:
- ‘Personal Best’: pupils are challenged to focus on improving their personal best scores rather than comparing against their peers. By being challenged to improve your personal score, there is always scope for success and reward for incremental development.
- Easily adapted activities: all Chance to Shine skills sessions are designed to be easily adapted to the ability level of the children. Coaches will vary things like the size of the ball and the distance from the target to make things easier or harder for children of differing abilities. The allows all children to complete the same activity to minimise disruption but ensures all children are working at an appropriate level of challenge.
- Engaging content: 90% of children that we surveyed last year (sample size: 3,547) said “the sessions were fun”. It is of no surprise therefore, that 79% then said they either wanted to, or had, played more cricket as a result Coaches encourage children to be creative within the sessions, to come up with their own ideas or rules for games, or to explore different ways to complete the activities. Traditional and potentially uninteresting ‘drills’ are replaced by stories of visiting planets, chasing aliens or tackling volcanos.
15.Case study: Abel Smith Primary School have been having Chance to Shine sessions since 2017 and the staff have noticed how they support children who don’t normally take a full part in PE sessions. Teacher Steph Tilbury told us “Children who don’t usually enjoy their sport, have enjoyed cricket. It doesn’t matter what ability, it’s non-contact, it’s safe, the gender doesn’t matter, everyone’s on a level playing field.” An after-school cricket club has also been set up to help children who are confident joining a traditional club. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to come along and take part as well. Initially, Steph saw that the parents were a little sceptical about taking part: “A few of the Mums came up to me and said ‘Are you sure it’s ok for me to come along? I haven’t got a clue about cricket!’ I just told them ‘Your children didn’t really know about cricket 6 weeks ago but it’s absolutely fine.’ We’re all learning and all having fun together”.
Teenage girls are notably less likely to take part in physical education compared to boys the same age. In order to support girls to get active, our Secondary School Girls’ Programme worked with around 90 schools in its pilot year supporting around 4,000 girls to play cricket. The programme aimed to build the girls’ leadership skills to increased confidence and develop key skills that would increase their employability. We commissioned an independent evaluation by the spear team at Canterbury Christ Church University and as well as assessing the success of the programme, they also developed the below key points to help keep support teenage girls to take part in physical activity and to grow their leadership skills:
Many teachers lack the confidence and support to deliver PE. Teachers often receive very little training to deliver PE sessions. As part of our agreements with schools, we require teachers to be present during sessions and coaches encourage teachers to take part in the delivery of the activities. 87% of teachers surveyed said that after the Chance to Shine they felt more confident to deliver their own sessions with their pupils. We also offer schools a certificated Continuous Professional Development course to improve their delivery skills. Improving the confidence and quality of primary school PE delivery has the potential to make a significant impact on young people’s relationships with physical activity.
“Before [Chance to Shine Coach] James came in, I’ll admit myself that cricket wasn’t something I had much confidence in teaching. The Chance to Shine sessions were pacey, active, engaging and built confidence in some of our children with low self-esteem. It led so nicely in to the follow up cricket lessons which myself and other colleagues delivered using the Chance to Shine online resources.”
- Vanessa Slingsby, Grange First School
How can adults of all ages and backgrounds, particularly those from under-represented groups, including women and girls, ethnic minorities, disabled people, older people, and those from less affluent backgrounds, be encouraged to lead more active lifestyles? If possible, share examples of success stories and good practice, and challenges faced.
19.Many of the groups mentioned above face significant barriers to becoming more active. In our experience, you need to learn and understand those barriers and then focus on how to overcome them.
20.Chance to Shine Street focuses on creating opportunities to play cricket in urban, disadvantaged communities with a lack of access to traditional cricket clubs. There are over 200 projects in areas across the country and around 6,000 young people aged 8-24 take part ever year. 81% of participants are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and 66% lived in the most deprived areas of England.
21.Below are some of the key barriers to supporting the young people at these sessions and how we have acted to mitigate them:
22.We have also seen how important it is that there are inspiring and representative coaches available to support people to get active. We are incredibly proud of the coaches that we have working on our Street programme. Many of them act as role models and mentors for the participants and we believe that a strong bond is vital in ensuring that young people continuing attending the sessions. 89% of participants surveyed on our Street programme said that they look up to their coach. To have positive figures of influence who champion the sport encourages children to value it. Not only do participants look up to their coaches but many soon emulate them: 1/3 of coaches on established programmes were once participants. Coaches understand the area and understand the influences and can play a supportive pastoral role for the young Street cricketers.
Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation, the Government’s 2015 sports strategy, outlines five outcome priorities: physical health, mental health, individual development, social and community development and economic development. Are these the right priorities and how successful has the government been in measuring and delivering these outcomes to date?
23.At Chance to Shine, we evaluate our programmes’ outcomes for young people in very similar themes, considering the following areas: Physical Wellbeing, Mental Wellbeing, Personal Development and Social Wellbeing. We believe that these outcome areas are the best way to summarise the benefits of physical activity and to understand its impact on the people we work with.
24.However, we believe that there is more work to be done nationally to measure and evaluate the success in the priorities beyond physical health which we feel is done well and considers the right things. Understanding, quantifying and evaluating the other outcomes can be more difficult and at the moment there is no clear consensus across the sector. Our approach is to assess the other outcomes through surveys of teachers and participants. For example, we use answers to questions like “Have you made new friends since playing cricket?” to understand social development and increases in confidence to understand the impact of mental wellbeing. We would be very happy to share in greater depth our current evaluation approach and methodology.
Is government capturing an accurate picture of how people participate in sport and recreation activities in its data collection? How could this be improved?
25.Sport England’s Active Lives research with children is a vital source of insight for Chance to Shine. It is the only national survey of children’s sporting habits in and outside of school. It provides a clear picture of children’s relationship with physical activity and sport – who takes part, who doesn’t and why. We use Active Lives measures in our own research to benchmark our impact on children’s attitudes to sport as well as their wellbeing against the national picture.
26.Active Lives provides an estimate of the proportion of children who have played cricket over a year. As cricket is traditionally played in the Spring and Summer school terms, we would benefit from Active Lives adjusting how it reports on seasonal sports like cricket. For example, by proving an estimate of play for the different seasons. We feel this would give a more accurate picture of whether the sport is growing year on year. It would also be beneficial if Active Lives could estimate what proportion of schools have cricket in their curriculum.
How can racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and ableism in sport be tackled?
27.We believe that sport is one of the most powerful tools for fighting inequality and prejudice. In both our Schools programme and our Street programme, coaches integrate learning about social issues into the sessions in a way that is both relevant and understandable. An integral part of the Chance to Shine ethos is that cricket is a game for all and it is a game that revolves around respect for your team-mates, opponents and officials. In schools, the Chance to Shine programme starts with a whole school assembly that emphasises the importance of the Spirit of Cricket, recognising the contributions of players from different countries, ethnicities, genders and abilities. In practical sessions, children are encouraged to value diversity and appreciate the importance of people from different backgrounds to their own. As part of Black History Month 2020, we produced a practical session that highlights the contributions of Black sportspeople and reinforces the importance of celebrating differences. We also provided classroom resources that celebrated Black cricketers and encouraged children to consider and be proud of their own heritage.
28.We recently introduced a new series of Life Skills Modules to our Street programme. One of the modules focuses on the importance of recognising pre-existing prejudices and learning to understand that we all have a great deal in common with people who may seem different at first glance. To further develop this learning, we have recently partnered with the Stonewall charity to provide specialised training for our coaches on LGBT issues and to be able to educate and empower young people on the subject. We are looking to create a practical module to aid the understanding of the issues and barriers that LGBT people face.
Should there be a national plan for sport and recreation? Why/why not?
29.We believe there should be a national plan and are signatories of the School Sport Action plan which we believe should form the foundation of any such plan with regards to work in the education setting. Ultimately, we believe that the government should be responsible for the health and wellbeing of the nation and physical activity has a huge role to play in this. We hope that the government will work with the sector to set targets and then support us to deliver them.
29 January 2021