Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
What has changed in school chess?
Quote:I agree that another 50 Mike Hanleys would be a good thing for Chess in Scotland, as do the producers of lorne sausage throughout the country!

Further to Harry's comment perhaps we should then seek sponsorship from Simon Howie and Ramsey of Carluke? Big Grin
Re chess in Secondary schools I am a teacher in an east end Glasgow Secondary school and, although I cannot play chess to any great standard, I started up a school chess club three years ago. To date, I have around 30 enthusiastic core members of differing ages and abilities. Last year we played matches against four other secondary schools from around the Glasgow area via the Glasgow Schools Chess League. Yesterday my school and 5 other local secondary schools received an e-mail from a school looking for chess matches. In November I was at the Dragons League school chess event in Milngavie where a minimum of 80 primary school and 24 secondary school pupils were playing inter school matches. Therefore personally I have found chess in secondary schools to be still alive and kicking.

In my school S2 and S3 pupils now have the option of selecting an extra-curricular activity and one of the options offered is chess. The chess elective is at full capacity with a number of girls choosing to play chess too which, of course, is an added bonus =) Recently, with regards to my own school, I was planning to apply for funding to set up chess clubs in each of our feeder primary schools but, due to pressures at work, I have not yet been able to do this. Teachers are under incredible pressure at the moment with the extra workload created by the introduction of the new school curriculum and national qualifications. I would love to devote more time to promoting chess in schools and I am sure other teachers are in a similar position.

I strongly agree with Andrew McH that more volunteers are required to help with chess in secondary schools, especially now, with teachers having even less time than ever. Young people in schools really enjoy playing chess and, of course, the benefits they receive from playing chess are very well documented.
I think we would all agree that the demand is there to run school chess clubs from the pupils point of view but a lack of volunteers to run the clubs. As its already been pointed out the teaching staff are short of time due to other demands & parents are not so keen on putting themselves forward because of the commitment, amongst other factors.

The last school club I started & ran was at Kirkhill Primary from 2003-2008. During that time I had waiting lists of pupils wishing to join the club all the time. The teams took the Primary Team & P5 & under titles in the National events on a couple of occasions & also East Renfrewshire. We had great success. However, the school didn't support the club & didn't give the children the recognition they deserved. On my last year there we couldn't even get a member of staff to present the internal end of season trophies. I know of other schools in South Lanarkshire that have taken a similar attitude when a parent has run the club although they also became National champions. If someone is willing to give up their time free of charge to the school you would think they would support that person & the children better. In contrast you get schools bending over backwards to support the running of a club.

From the Kirkhill club there have been about 10 or 12 players that won the National team titles & at least six primary players that have represented Scotland. However, as far as I am aware only three of those players still play since moving to High school or later & two of those are my sons. Had there been an established chess club running at the High school the others may have continued to play but there wasn't & with peer pressure & other activities in the curriculum its so easy to stop playing. I offered at the time to run a club but the high school didn't want to do anything at that time. It was possibly a year later when one of the teachers started a lunchtime club but it was restricted to specific year groups & I was told 'only for fun'.

What I am trying to point out here is that there are many contributing factors. Main one being a lack of volunteers to run the clubs. Some people are willing to run clubs for a small charge but the schools claim lack of funds so are not interested. Some schools (I am referring to High Schools here) are not interested at all & wouldn't or don't support chess. Children have other activities, studies & demands that come into their life & cant fit everything in. Its only those that have a real passion to play that continue with the game. Its not always about ability as some really good players have given up & especially girls that could have gone on to great success. However, if there are a few in the same age group & the same ones get the opportunities to represent their country & in doing so improve, it leaves the others behind & can be enough for them to throw the towel in.

What can be done? For those that are already involved in Junior chess, to continue to do their best to promote the game & give the children opportunities. If it means some children only play for one or even 6years, at least they have played & maybe one day they will come back to the game. It doesn't really matter, as whilst they were playing, they hopefully learnt how to play & had the benefits associated with chess. I know from experience again that some children with disabilities that have taken up chess whilst they were young, have benefitted from playing as its made them a better person in that they have been able to control or overcome some of their problems just by the disciplines of playing the game & therefore it has given them opportunities that maybe were not there before.

One idea that has come up in the past but never to fruition is for a one day course to be put on for parents & teachers (maybe on an in service day at school) to teach basic chess & how to run a school club & to highlight the benefits it can give.
Thanks to everyone for some really good input here. I particularly like Linda's idea of setting up chess clubs at "feeder" primary schools leading to secondary school where a chess club is already established.

Some other very good suggestions-

Can we utilise the internet to have nationwide schools events? Technology has moved on and we need to try and embrace it.

Adult club members voluntarily giving their time to support chess in schools. They don't have to be top players, simply enthusiastic and with reasonable organisational skills.

Where do we go from here?

I will throw in some stuff to keep ideas moving along,

Anyone that volunteers to help in any school gets free CS membership (Sorry Mr Heathwood, strictly I should have talked to you first). Clubs too, as long as they have a minimum percentage of CS members that contribute.

A working party set up with folks that are actively involved both now and in the past.

If CS can afford it, and I know this is tough, a group of folk prepared to travel about the country proclaiming the educational benefits of chess in schools.

Jacqui Thomas Wrote:One idea that has come up in the past but never to fruition is for a one day course to be put on for parents & teachers (maybe on an in service day at school) to teach basic chess & how to run a school club & to highlight the benefits it can give.

This is a good idea Jacqui and I think it could work very well. I know there are teachers who would run a chess club which, let’s face it is one of the easier clubs to run equipment-wise ;P, but they do not have the necessary chess experience to do so. Although I am a non-chess player I was fortunate in that I acquired a lot of chess related knowledge thanks to Andrew and Kirsty having played chess so much. Unfortunately, it would be unlikely that this type of course could be run on an in-service day in the near future as all the time on such days is now allocated to the delivery of the new school curriculum and qualifications. A twilight course however, would be perfect for timing, as teachers are used to attending those for CPD, etc

robin moore Wrote:Can we utilise the internet to have nationwide schools events? Technology has moved on and we need to try and embrace it.

Given the restrictions placed on ICT within schools this is unlikely to be easily organised Robin. Plus teachers would need to find the necessary time to organise boards, computers, pupils etc. Maybe the proposed working group could investigate this?

robin moore Wrote:I particularly like Linda's idea of setting up chess clubs at "feeder" primary schools leading to secondary school where a chess club is already established.

I cannot take the credit for this idea I’m afraid. John Montgomery told me about a similar scheme he had been involved with which I though sounded fabulous Tongue

To be honest there is a wide range of initiatives which could be out into place to support chess in secondary schools but most require time, volunteers and of the course the dreaded funding =o Perhaps there could be some discussion on this at the upcoming AGM/Council meeting?
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->

Could we consider venues like the Marr Educational Resource centre (link above) for online schools chess events? It's free, private, quiet and designed to encourage education in the local community.

This centre caters for everyone in South Ayrshire. It has a fast internet connection in a seperate room to the main library. If similar locations could be identified throughout Scotland, all we would need is the support of local clubs for equipment and advice.

We would still need the support of enthusiastic teachers but I am certain county organisations would wish to become involved in this.

We could book dates in advance for inter- regional online school/county matches. Are there similar premises in other regions of Scotland? I feel sure there must be.

You may not be aware of this but at the agm on Saturday we set up a working party of 6 or 7 individuals present at the meeting to specifically work on this topic. Your posting contains really valuable information and ideas that should be made available to the members of the working party.

I don't have a full list of the names but I sure that any of the Chess Scotland directors would put you in touch. They might even welcome you to join them.
Phil and everyone,

Chess in Scotland has to work together with all junior organisations to ensure that we have a calender that tries to encourage all events. As we know, there are are various organisations in every part of the country trying to run tournaments and they should be supported.

We have got to organise a calender of events (without date clashes) , well in advance, in order to encourage as many junior players as possible to compete.

Now, don't start throwing the first stone here but look at the South Ayrshire congress minor section. There are loads of juniors that are moving up to an adult event for the first time.

It's only an example, but if we all work together....

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)