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The 2020/21 school year was challenging for all involved. Restrictions, lockdowns and new ways of working within schools all made it look and feel very different. This however didn’t stop teachers, pupils and our community coaches as across the year thanks to our funding from Chance to Shine we delivered cricket to more than 15,000 pupils and delivered over 2,200 hours of cricket in primary, secondary and SEN schools across Somerset.

Our team of community coaches grew from two in September (Alex Taylor, NE Somerset and Emily Vickery, NW Somerset) to five by the end of the year with Mark Watts (SE Somerset) joining the team in November and then Thom Bunker (SW Somerset) and Tilly Bond (Apprentice Community Coach) completing the team in April.

Between them the coaches delivered in 158 primary and secondary schools and played a huge part in helping children in returning to school to feel like things were ‘normal’ again as well as helping to get them active and socialise with their friends; all things they had missed for a long period of time. The coaches quickly adapted to new ways of delivering, whether it was through virtual assemblies, making lessons socially distanced or in January when the country was locked down again they quickly responded and within days were delivering lessons to children in schools and at home virtually, playing an important role in linking classmates at home and in school together.

With the opportunity for schools to attend competitions and festivals limited, a virtual ‘Cricket Olympics’ competition was launched with over 3,000 children taking part over a five week period. During the year we were also able to deliver training to 215 teachers who will be able to continue cricket within the school after our coaches have finished, leaving a lasting legacy.

This year has been different to any year previously, but has enabled us to adapt, be creative and enable thousands of children to experience cricket, making it a successful year. Teachers have also noted the key role we have played:

“Many parents have reported that their children have gone home full of excitement about what they have learnt and even tried to teach them their new skills.”

“It was brilliant to be able to include the children who are remote learning at home with the sessions.”

“The virtual opportunity has really impacted on our online learners, who could participate and have fun, whilst also seeing their friends.”

For more information on our schools programme for 2021/22 go to: www.somersetcricketfoundation.org/schools or email scott.chappell@somersetcricketfoundation.org.