October 2019 English Bridge
TAKING BRIDGE INTO SCHOOLS
owhere has been more successful at
teaching bridge to schoolchildren than
Stamford Bridge Club which sits at the
meeting point of Lincolnshire, Leicestershire,
Rutland, Cambridgeshire and Northants. Here Liz
Dale, who spearheads the club's youth programme
(SYBA), sets the scene.
We all remember going into schools, fired up,
ready to enthral youngsters with the game of
bridge. Hours and hours of preparation
beforehand. For the first few weeks everything goes
fine, perhaps even better than you anticipated,
though you have this niggling feeling that it could
be better. You wish the same youngsters would turn
up each time. Oh yes, everyone has a perfectly
good reason for not attending because . . . they are
needed for a music lesson or was it a football
match? Oh yes, Roly said he was helping with the
drama group, Josh has an appointment at the
hospital . . . and so it goes on. The school is really
helpful but the problem is everyone is so very busy.
You arrive at Reception. Lisa looks surprised.
Mystified really. Hadn't someone told you there
was a Geography Trip for Year 7 today and they
weren't arriving back until 5pm? 'Sorry. No, there
won't be an after-school bridge club today.'
THE SOLUTION - A WINNING FORMULA
Some 2,500+ youngsters have participated in our
Starter Bridge experience in curriculum time. It
demonstrates a cultural change as to how bridge
clubs can work with schools.
SYBA'S FOUR CRITERIA.
First, working to the schools agenda we make it
easy for schools to want to work in partnership
with us. The word partnership is important.
Schools must have a 'stake' in our success. Our
relationship is built on trust. You only get one
chance. Everything we say we will do, we must fulfil
100%. Feedback from schools continues to give
direction to SYBA's ongoing educational
programmes. We are listening.
Second, our amazing 'Buddies' (60+ in number)
are DBS-registered and are currently doing inhouse training
courses to comply with the
'Safeguarding Legislation Act 2018'. Our 'Buddies'
believe that by taking bridge into schools they are
doing something worthwhile and meaningful.
Third, our structured, scripted, SYBAcertificated
Educational Programmes 'Making
Maths Fun' for Primary Schools and 'Taking the
Fear out of Maths' for Secondary Schools, evidence
the National Curriculum, eg Mental Arithmetic,
Logic, Critical Thinking, Reasoning, etc. Schools
want to work with us because we bring a different
dimension to the classroom. Interaction is one of
the most noticeable. And it's learning through
partnership play. Youngsters love working with a
partner. We cater for all abilities from the most
challenging pupils to the highest achievers. Starter
Bridge takes no heed of gender, colour, creed,
wealth, language, age - we are levelling the playing
field. Breaking down barriers where bridge is
viewed as 'snobby', 'elite' and 'old'. Following a 30-
45 minute Starter Bridge Taster for a whole year
group, for example Years 4/5/6 (age 8-11 years)
each pupil will be awarded a Participation
Certificate flagging up their success. A spin-off has
been that five classroom teachers are now attending
SBC bridge lessons.
Fourth, prior to the initial Taster in curriculum
time, we will have negotiated with the school to
offer a follow-on lunchtime bridge club, an afterschool
bridge club or a maths-based curriculum
scheduled programme. For example, primary
schools may ask you to come in for three Fridays in
Golden Hour - the last session of the day, 2pm3pm.
If it's an after-school club for primary schools
the 24+ youngsters will be presented with Starter
Bridge One certificates by the lead Buddy in an
Assembly, highlighting each youngster's
achievements. This is always a huge success and
ends up with more youngsters signing up. We
invariably have to put a cap on numbers.
For secondary schools, the initial taster for Year
7/8/9 groups (age 11-14 years) is usually followed
by a lunchtime or after-school club. Our best
partnership has been with Year 7 students in an
Academy where two fantastic 'Buddies' have been
going in for the past two years once a week during
curriculum time. Certification is provided in
stages: Starter Bridge One & Two, Minibridge
followed by Bronze Awards. Cont overleaf