Rishi Sunak bats for more cricket in England schools

Rishi Sunak bats for more cricket in England schools
Courtesy: Simon Dawson / No. 10 Downing Street

“I first experienced the magic of cricket watching Hampshire play at my local ground in Southampton as a child,” said UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, an avowed cricket fan, as he laid out plans for a major £35 million investment in grassroots cricket to widen participation in schools, encourage health lifestyles and provide world class, all-year-round facilities for local communities.

“For young people watching their first match today, the draw of getting outside and enjoying the game is just as strong, particularly as we look forward to hosting the Women’s and Men’s T20 World Cups. There remains huge potential to grow the sport even further and open it up to everyone, from all backgrounds and in all parts of the country, building on the great work of organisations such as ACE and Chance to Shine,” he said.

The investment, to be delivered over the next five years during which England and Wales will host the 2026 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, includes a major capital programme that will see 16 state-of-the-art all-weather cricket domes built outdoors within host cities across England. The UK government’s investment will also deliver an extension to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Chance to Shine charity’s free, in-school cricket programme for every single school child in inner-city locations within the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup host cities across England. This will have a particular emphasis on children from lower socio-economic groups building on existing investment from Sport England.

As part of this funding, £14 million will go to three charities. Chance to Shine is dedicated to delivering accessible cricket into schools and local communities, Lord’s Taverners have a focus on access to cricket provision for children with special education needs and disabilities, and ACE engage young people of African and/or Caribbean heritage.

The total investment is expected to deliver around 2,500 pieces of new equipment to every school involved in the programme and help to get 930,000 pupils playing cricket over the next five years.

UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “We are sticking to our plan to get millions more people active by 2030, with continued historic investment in grassroots sport.

“Cricket brings people together right across the country, and this investment will help grow the game in schools and communities across England, giving thousands of young people the chance to take up the sport – and build new start-of-the art all-weather facilities.


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“It will be focused in areas that need it most, attract new people into the sport and support our ambitious target to get 3.5 million more people active by 2030.”

Whilst schools will continue to decide which sports they offer so that they can meet the needs of their pupils, cricket is included in the National Curriculum as an example of a sport that can provide important elements of the PE National Curriculum programme of study in Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4. Cricket is also included on the list of activities suitable for assessing students’ skills as part of their physical education GCSE qualification.

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