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Minibridge – ThreeYears Later & Beyond

by Matt Betts

AFTER THREE years of running the We also asked whether there was an im- The EBU is proud that the majority of its

Minibridge initiative, we are proud to provement in Social and Emotional skills. membership is over 50 years of age and we

announce that the EBU has introduced the This is a new programme used in a embrace all those who play bridge. How-

game of Minibridge to over one hundred number of schools looking at the social ever, we must ensure that there is a future

primary schools throughout England – and emotional aspects of learning (SEAL). for bridge and we wanted to find out

adding an element of fun for pupils from SEAL is ‘a comprehensive, whole-school whether the children are so taken by the

the age of seven to eleven. The game can approach to promoting the social and game that they will keep learning and

be taught by teachers who are non-bridge emotional skills that underpin effective eventually want to play full bridge. There-

players thanks to a day’s in-service train- learning, positive behaviour, regular fore, we asked the schools if they could see

ing and an easy-to-use instructional attendance, staff effectiveness and the whether there was an advancement in

programme. emotional health and well-being of all bridge skills, or a potential advancement in

The various skills attained by children who learn and work in schools.’ bridge skills. 55% of the schools could

learning and playing the game have either see this advancement or the

been fully mapped to the National potential for it. In addition, 72% of

Strategy targets in English and the schools have confirmed that their

Mathematics in the National Cur- pupils are going home and teaching

riculum up to and including Level 4. their parents and/or siblings how to

Minibridge also teaches skills in play Minibridge, which is another

numeracy, problem solving, proba- good omen for the future.

bility, speaking, listening and – The initiative has been well

importantly – the social and emo- supported by many, including the All

tional aspects of learning, including Party Parliamentary Group for

team-building and interaction with Bridge, because of the strong belief

other pupils. that bridge has the most positive

It is extremely important to gain effect on society’s health and wealth,

feedback on all that we do. In June, as well as being great fun too.

we sent out questionnaires to all the The Minibridge pupils will signifi-

schools. Primary school teachers are cantly add to the number of bridge

incredibly busy, so we were delighted players of the future, and the response

to receive a significant response and from our schools has proved how

Baroness Henig, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary

we extend a big thank-you to all much the game is enabling pupils to

Group for Bridge, on a visit to Nettlebed Primary School

those who managed to find the have a more rounded education. The

time to answer our questions. 78% of the schools saw an improvement initiative is not only making sure that there

in the majority of their children. Under is a real added value to the lessons in maths

What Did We Find Out? the SEAL programme, Minibridge offers and English, but it is also helping towards a

the following areas/skills: significant step forward in social and

The sample of schools that answered told • Negotiation; emotional skills.

us that: • Respect others’ boundaries; Sally Bugden, Chairman of the EBU, said:

• 72% play Minibridge weekly in either • Take turns; ‘I am delighted that so many of our schools

an after school club, or a lunch time • Show patience and tolerance; have benefited from our Minibridge ini-

club; • Handle pressure; tiative, which is funded by the EBU’s Youth

• 22% play Minibridge in their lessons • Cope with winning and losing; and Education Trust (registered charity

– mainly in maths. • Comply with rules; number 1121247). While we campaign to

• 60% have seen an improvement in • Trust partner’s decisions and actions; get Minibridge on to the national curricul-

the arithmetic skills of their pupils. • Cope with competition; um, we still need to raise funds to continue

This is excellent news: the EBU has always • Sit still and allow others time and this good work. If you would like to make a

promoted the fact that Minibridge is good space; donation so that we can fund more schools

for maths and we believe very strongly in • Cooperate with a partner; and more pupils, please contact me at the

the benefits it has for pupils. However, the • Resolve conflict with partner or EBU or visit our Youth and Education Trust

game does not necessarily need to be opponents. website for more information (www.bridge

taught in lessons and the 72% of pupils All of these areas will benefit the school – and

who learn in after school clubs will still pupils now and in their future – in don’t forget you can gift-aid any donation

gain the maths skills and experience. everyday life, work and further studies. that you make.’ r

30 English Bridge October 2012


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