Park End Primary School in Middlesbrough is one of more than 800 primary schools in the United Kingdom that add chess to their curriculum. The reason: Chess can help to improve maths and problem solving skills.
As schools in the nation deal with short attention spans, a lack of concentration and focus due to what is commonly also referred to as “screen addiction”, the game of chess is now seen as a way to remedy these problems.
For headteacher Julia Rodwell at Park End Primary School, the game has brought her pupils out of their shell. “Teachers rush over to me saying, ‘come down and look at this child – she can’t do simple sums, but she’s beating everyone in the class at chess! We’re in a very deprived area, so chess is not something our children have traditionally come across – but we’ve embraced it as a whole school,” she is quoted saying.
About 20 schools per month all throughout the UK are are now signing up for chess classes. The game is encouraging the students to sit down, to focus and to think rather than fidgeting with electronic devices or tapping on computers.
Malcolm Pein is the founder of the charity which devises and runs the classes called “Chess in Schools and Communities”. He is one of these former chess players who wants to see children become “unplugged”. The idea for the charity came to him many decades ago in the 80s where he was able to witness the positive effect of chess on the children.
For now, these efforts to bring the game of chess to the classrooms are very successful. For instance, the Liverpool’s Sacred Heart Catholic primary that had a high percentage of disadvantaged students has now reached the finals of the ECF national schools championships that will be held next month.
The above news from the United Kingdom’s schools and education sector is brought to you by Schools Hitchin, the private school in North Hertfordshire where quality education is still valued!