Cricket hits the primary schools of France in 2012
Thu, Dec 6, 2012 12:29 PM
Cricket on the French primary schools curriculum seems an unusual one, but through a partnership with USEP, France Cricket are taking significant steps.
France Cricket’s partnership with USEP-the primary schools’ sports organisation that manage 14,000 primary schools throughout France- was set up by David Bordes of France Cricket led the project through starting a pilot in one District. He held USEP training sessions and cricket days over the last 3 years to show USEP that cricket could be accepted into the system, with French Authorities having to be convinced that the interests of cricket on both a sporting and psychological level were worthwhile in order to integrate cricket into French culture and they did with remarkable results.
Mark Moodley, General Manager of France cricket explains the importance of convincing the organisation, “Overcoming and convincing the French administration to introduce cricket into the French school’s curriculum was a big challenge. In France you are not allowed to teach sport in French schools without qualified sports coaches. Our partnership with USEP, a government funded sports federation has allowed us to overcome this and open up an enormous opportunity. This partnership enables us to now coach the French sports teachers in the schools who can then coach on our behalf, effectively multiplying our coaches by potentially thousands,” says Moodley.
On the 1 February 2012, France Cricket signed a National Agreement with USEP. So far, the impact with USEP has been huge as they are very impressed with the sport as being suitable for boys and girls and easily played by a class of 30. They have also seen how cricket can be used as an opportunity to improve their English and thus opening the door to international coordination – one District has already sent a group to Jersey.
Moodley fully knows the importance of growing the sport and making it more accessible for everyone; “Now, with USEP, having juniors playing cricket from 7/8 years old we are not only integrating cricket into the children’s culture and taking the mystery out of the sport, and making it available to potential cricketers, but also making it understandable and acceptable to the French in general. The more children that play, the more the media will take an interest and the roll over effect will continue and will multiply itself,” said Moodley.
The ‘Fair Play’ reputation that cricket has as a Gentlemen’s sport, that boys and girls can play, big or small, old or young can play. As a skill based sport, it is not fully dependant on size, strength or speed and also improves language skills.
Here’s a timeline to show the amazing growth that has happened this year in France:
1st of Feb – National Signature, between the Presidents of USEP and France Cricket at a USEP National Board meeting
April – In partnership with USEP Brittany and Jersey Cricket Board, 60 children spent 2 days in Jersey and one full day playing cricket with Jersey children. USEP Jersey Trip
April – FC were the first sports federation to be invited to the 2012 National USEP AGM
May – Edition of a magazine dedicated to cricket, created and published by USEP May – Publication and distribution of cricket training manuals created by France Cricket for the PE Teachers. Usep documents
30 June – Target of over 5000 children initiated to cricket achieved July – Contacted by http://www.revue-eps.com/ to prepare a magazine about cricket for children between 3 – 12 yrs.
It’s not just in France, Affiliate member Estonia has started targeting schools by achieving to get it on the curriculum of one of Tallinn’s most prestigious schools.
The schools programme has expanded with an increase in exposure to cricket between 14-16 year old in Estonia. By empowering PE teachers to coach cricket, it will hopefully become a permanent fixture on the Schools PE Curriculum, involving everyone.
The success of the Intra-Schools program was amazing and the active competitive participation after 4 weeks of structured cricket sessions was fantastic to see. Native Estonians are doing the bulk of the coaching which is an important step in making locals responsible for the game as well as being a great tool to help them develop their own cricket game.
ICC Europe’s Regional Support grant gives support to European members to put these projects in place across the year and grow the game across Europe.