It’s one of the biggest match-ups in modern times. Rounders, that most traditional of summer sports, is facing its biggest challenge for years with the rise in popularity of girls cricket. While rounders is popular, it is not regarded as an ‘elite’ sport, there is less of a trajectory for pupils once they leave school. It is a fun game, everyone can play a part in it but it is seen more of a leisure activity than a sport in which there is a pathway that girls can really excel at, and be an elite player in.
Furthermore, in 2015, the Department for Education (DfE) removed rounders from the list of activities on which pupils can be judged in their GCSE PE exam. This change in exam option, lack of a pathway for girls and following on from England women’s World Cup success last year, has seen schools adding girls’ cricket to their summer curriculum more than ever. Also adding to the fact, that girls’ participation is more prevalent than ever with many Governing Bodies having developed sports-specific programmes for girls, some of which are delivered through schools.
Back in January the first discussion with my Director of Sport (@micky_lemon) about girls cricket being introduced into the curriculum highlighted the fact that girls sport was evolving and ever-changing and we needed to move with it. Many independent schools within our circuit also had similar ideas and wanted to have a balance between elite sports and a ‘fun activity’ such as rounders.
Fast-forward to the second week into the summer term and girls cricket has been a huge success, with the support of my Director of Sport and several Male PE staff stepping in to deliver cricket lessons this has allowed me to take a step back and learn from others and not only develop my knowledge of cricket but continuing to develop my professional self. As PE teachers, we always keep pace with change, and research into current practice is a strong advocate for professional development. Similarly, Beatty, Leigh and Dean (2008) suggest that identifying our own personal teaching practice clarifies why we do what we do in the classroom, and this offers an opportunity for analysis and developmental reflection. This is something I feel we should always look to do as teachers and it is always good to observe and learn from others if we are to develop our own teaching philosophies and practices.
This year is a transitional year for the PE department, we haven’t completely stopped rounders from the curriculum and we equally have lessons and fixtures in both sports. I feel though, that with the success and positive impact that we have had with girls cricket in such a short space of time it shows already there is huge scope to continue to develop cricket within the school and give as many pupils the opportunity to enjoy girls cricket at every level.
One thing I have learnt from this experience is that change can be a positive experience not just for pupils but also for myself. Trying something new can create new opportunities across the curriculum and should not be looked at as something to be worried about. It is important that as teachers we allow pupils the opportunity to try a variety of sports and I believe that there is a sport out there for everyone whether it be hockey, netball, athletics, rounders or girls cricket.
Beatty, J., Leigh, J. and Dean, K. (2008) Journal of Management Education, 33, 1: 115 – 130.