Cricket research partnership formed as a tool to boost student life chances

A new research programme launched by the Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation (ACCF) and Bohunt Education Trust (BET) aims to inform how cricket and the outdoors can support students struggling with disadvantage, anxiety, engagement and/or behaviour at secondary school. Funding for the project has kindly been provided by ACCF and by a grant from Ned’s Fund, which exists to support vocational activities for young people who find themselves lacking purpose in life.

Whilst studies have suggested that sport and outdoor education such as bushcraft have benefits to young people, the ambitious programme will look in detail at the types of intervention that work best for different profiles of student. The programme aims to allow targeted interventions to be developed so that students have greater chance to thrive at secondary school and beyond.

The timing of this programme is of further relevance given the increased risk to young people’s mental health posed by the current Covid19 pandemic, emphasising the need for alternative, creative programmes such as this to support young people both during and post this challenging period.

Beginning early in 2021, more than 230 students from the BET family of seven schools, plus Steyning Grammar School (soon to join BET) will be involved in a series of visits to ACCF’s incredible grounds, to take part in activities including: cricket coaching, bushcraft courses, health based activities, and visits to Arundel Castle and its gardens.

The activities will allow students to develop skills in resilience and self-confidence, which school staff will translate back into the classroom. Evaluation of the results will be completed by ImpactEd, a professional research organisation, so that all schools within and beyond BET can learn how best to ensure every child has an equal chance in school.

The new project will support BET’s ongoing work into the benefits of outdoor education and will ensure that curriculum policies are informed by the best possible research.

Neil Strowger, Trust Leader at BET said, “Outdoor activities and education can be life-changing experiences for many children. Some with very little confidence have gone on to be head boys and girls; others with little self-belief or who may have disengaged with school entirely have achieved excellent exam results and reached positive destinations.

“At BET, we welcome opportunities for collaboration and game-changing research. This programme breaks new ground by informing and giving us the chance to ensure that connections between student profiles and different types of outdoor activity intervention can be properly considered.”

Tim Shutt, Director of the Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation said: “Our education-rich surrounds here at Arundel are ideally suited to providing life-changing learning experiences to young people who may be facing some form of disadvantage or simply struggling with school. The need for interventions such as this, as we sit within a global pandemic, is as great as it has ever been.

“We are delighted to be forming this educational partnership with Bohunt Education Trust. They committed to innovative, “game-changing” outdoor education and their expertise will be crucial in delivering the desired outputs. In addition, we are incredibly grateful to Ned’s Fund, whose generosity has enabled us to deliver this potentially groundbreaking programme. Their ethos is very much aligned to ours and their passion to transform the lives of young people needing support is hugely inspiring.”

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