Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders


Good innings for cricket

Following on from Dennis Richard's article (January 2006), I can report on further developments in school cricket, in which we at Holy Trinity Senior School have become involved.

The Cricket Foundation has the objective of bringing competitive cricket back into state schools. To this end they have launched the Chance to Shine campaign, which initially set a target to raise £25 million. This will hopefully be doubled to £50 million by the government.

County cricket boards will then identify cricket clubs and link them up to local schools. In our area, it means that coaches from Illingworth Cricket Club in North Halifax will go into two secondary and six primary schools to deliver cricket during the summer timetable.

At Holy Trinity all year 7 pupils will receive expert coaching for 20 hours this summer and then play in various cricket festivals along with schools in other Chance to Shine centres.

Holy Trinity has a strong cricket tradition and was the inaugural winner of the Yorkshire Schools six-aside tournament at the indoor centre at Headingley. Since then numerous boys and girls have gone onto play for Yorkshire at various age groups.

As mentioned by Dennis, the lack of a decent grass surface and wayward bowling by pupils makes teaching cricket in schools very difficult. A cricket coaching mat overcomes all of the problems and allows youngsters to practise any cricket shot properly and helps them to improve rapidly.

Dave Cooper, Holy Trinity Senior School, Halifax

CVA data support

I have been looking through the pilot contextual value-added (CVA) tables that were published yesterday alongside the 'normal' performance tables.

I must confess I haven't yet matured into the full cynic that I surely will. Sometimes I still get enthusiastic about initiatives, even ones that originate in the DfES. I'm sure I'll grow out of it.

However, CVA seems to be a huge breakthrough in measuring value-added (and hence school performance) fairly. Our school doesn't do so well on the CVA analysis - we have an unfair advantage in the 'normal' VA analysis because we are a girls' school, and girls make more progress than boys.

But the results in other schools are astonishing. Schools in Liverpool seem to do generally very well, presumably because of the comparatively high levels of deprivation here. Several local community comprehensives seem to do much better on the CVA figures than on the 'normal' figures - quite a few outperform local selective schools.

Surely this is exactly what value-added should do. I still remember being rather disappointed when the first value-added tables were published - the schools that did best in value added terms were the schools who were doing very well anyway.

At last, with CVA it seems we have a system which reflects school performance rather than school privilege. The implications for Ofsted are surely very significant.

Stephen Brierley, head of Archbishop Blanch School, Liverpool

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