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October 2019 English Bridge

www.ebu.co.uk

TAKING BRIDGE INTO SCHOOLS

N

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

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