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Check mate! Jack Petchey grant helps East Barnet chess club flourish.

For four years, teacher and Jack Petchey Leader Award winner Chris Parsons, has voluntarily run a chess club at East Barnet School. It has proved to be very popular with the pupils, with over 30 taking part each week.

Thanks to Chris’ Leader Award, East Barnet school was able to apply for a £750 Small Grant, which they decided to spend on improving the chess club. With a tiny budget of £15 a year, the club hasn’t been able to buy any new equipment, so this funding has had a huge impact on the club.

Up until now, the chess club has been using outdated boards that had been found languishing in a Maths cupboard which weren’t meeting the demand of the club members. The club now has 10 brand new chess sets of boards and pieces, 20 digital chess clocks, six books about the game, and a trophy to award to the school’s champion in the UK Chess Challenge. The grant also paid for the school’s entry into the 2017 UK Chess Challenge, the national schools’ chess competition.

The new equipment will make it possible to stage full chess competitions and encourage more students to get involved. It will also allow the school to introduce chess as a sixth form enhancement activity. The digital clocks are encouraging and developing student’s skills to play in a competitive club style.

Jack Petchey Coordinator for East Barnet School, George Carrington said, “As well as teaching problem solving and logic, chess develops wider social skills, including winning or losing gracefully. A real strength of this activity here at East Barnet School is that there is a ‘vertical’ mixing of different year groups. It is not uncommon for a Year 7 student to be given advice by a Sixth Former or a Year 10 pupil to be ‘battling’ against a Year 8 pupil.

This is not a finite project, it is expected to see increased benefits as the year progresses. Furthermore, the pieces, the clocks and the books now provide a firm foundation for the continuation and development of this worthwhile activity into the future!”

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