Selworthy Partnership goes from strength to strength

Somerset County Cricket Club continued our outstanding relationship with Selworthy School in 2019.

This is the third year of the Special Educational Partnership which sees the two organisations working together to deliver a programme designed to benefit the children at the school.

Selworthy School is a co-educational special school for children and young people with learning disabilities aged 4 – 19.

Over the course of the year, the programme covers the following four areas:

  • Healthy eating
  • Physical activity
  • Numeracy
  • Literacy

Session One – Healthy Eating

This year’s initiative was launched in February when Roelof van der Merwe, Eddie Byrom, Tom Lammonby and SCCC CEO Andrew Cornish visited the school to help deliver the healthy eating element of the programme.

The morning began with the Somerset contingent joining students in the kitchen to help cook a healthy lunch for their classmates. They then joined the learners in the dining hall for lunch.

Following a tour of the school, Roelof, Eddie, Tom and Andrew spent some time reading to some students and taking part in a music class.

In the afternoon it was back to the kitchen for some more cooking, after which the players and CEO took an active role in the school assembly and were taught how to sign the lyrics to a song that the children are currently learning.

The day finished with a special karaoke version of a Little Mix song.

Louise Smales-Cresswell of Selworthy School said: “It was great to see the players engaging with all of our learners regardless of their disability. There were some fantastic interactions throughout the day, and to see the smiles on everyone’s faces is what this partnership is all about.”

At the end of the day Roelof said: “Today has been a great experience, and days like this certainly put things into perspective. To see what the kids, teachers and carers do here on a daily basis was a special experience.”

It was Tom’s first visit to the school and he was impressed by what he saw. “It’s been an amazing day,” he said. “To see the good work that they do here to ensure that the kids enjoy their schooling and education was incredible. It was an extremely heart-warming experience.”

Session Two – Physical Activity

The second session took place in May and saw students put through their paces in the indoor Centre of Excellence at the Cooper Associates County Ground with several members of the First XI.

Craig Overton, Dom Bess, Paul van Meekeren and Eddie Byrom were all on hand to help deliver the session alongside Somerset Cricket Board Community Coach, Andrew Skidmore.

Following the session Selworthy Teacher, Briannie Faull said: “The Educational Partnership with Somerset County Cricket Club provides our learners with opportunities which may not otherwise be available to them.

“The cricketers interact well with the learners, both when at the cricket ground and in school, regardless of their needs.

“All of our learners benefited today from one on one or group interactions with the cricketers in which they could chat or develop their ball skills. This is always appropriately differentiated for each learner. They are always keen to develop relationships with each member of the school they meet.

“The relationships built with the cricketers provide our learners with aspirational role models outside of their families and members of school staff. Every learner came away from the cricket experience with a smile on their face and were excited to tell their parents and friends.

“It was lovely to see so many learners develop their confidence and interact with adults who are not familiar to them.”

Craig Overton said: “It was really good fun. It’s nice to be able to give something back, and to be able to help these children has been great. I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to help them all enjoy the day. It’s so nice to see so many people having a good time.”

Eddie Byrom said: “I’ve done quite a lot of work with Selworthy now and it’s always good to see these kids again. A few recognised me today and that was really nice. I’ve enjoyed building these relationships over the last couple of visits and today was really good fun.”

Session ThreeMaths

In July, Dom Bess, Jack Brooks, Roelof van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren, Ollie Sale and Somerset CCC CEO Andrew Cornish visited Selworthy School to help the staff deliver a cricket themed maths session.

After the outdoor session the players and Andrew spent some time in the playground with the students before taking part in a Tacpac session with some students with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).

Tacpac is a sensory communication resource that uses touch and music to help communication and social skills. It is particularly beneficial for people who have sensory processing difficulties. Tacpac combines the sense of touch and music through social interaction and is delivered via an interaction between two people.

After the session Selworthy teacher, Sarah Bourne said: “It was such a privilege to have the Somerset cricketers come and work with our staff and learners. Their positive attitude and their great interactions with the learners was lovely to observe and I could see how much our learners were benefiting from the session.”

It was a first visit to Selworthy School for Jack Brooks, and he was impressed by what he saw. ” There are so many fantastic people at the school and the energy they bring is brilliant,” he said. “Days like today are one of the most rewarding parts of the job. It certainly puts things into perspective, and to be able to have a positive impact on children’s lives is fantastic for us.”

Dom Bess said: “Today was awesome. I really enjoy going to Selworthy and it’s great to be able to build a relationship with the children and the staff. It’s great to be able to put a smile on peoples faces.”

Session FourLiteracy

In September, four of Somerset’s players were given a grilling in a press conference as part of the fourth session of this year’s partnership.

Learners and staff from the school were given a guided tour of the Cooper Associates County Ground, and various members of staff gave small presentations about the careers and opportunities that are available within the sports industry.

The tour began in the Indoor School of Excellence where Somerset Cricket Board Community Coach, Andrew Skidmore spoke to the students about what the Cricket Board do and how to get involved with coaching.

The students then watched the First XI being put through their paces in the indoor nets before they were shown around the Andrew Caddick Pavilion where they enjoyed a presentation from Head of Strength & Conditioning, Joel Tratt.

After a tour of the Media Centre, where the learners discussed potential careers in journalism, they witnessed a bat making demonstration at M&H before being given a guided tour of the Somerset Cricket Museum by curator David Wood.

After lunch in a hospitality suite, the students then took on the role of sports reporters and took part in a press conference with Tom Abell, Roelof van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren and Ollie Sale.

The afternoon was then spent writing up a report of their day before the four players joined the learners in their hospitality suite for some relaxed conversation.

Chris Willcocks, Assistant Headteacher at Selworthy School said: “Our recent visit to Somerset County Cricket Club was an amazing experience for our upper school learners. They learnt about the range of careers and opportunities that are available in cricket including coaching, catering and journalism.

“We are truly grateful to the Club for opening our learners eyes and giving them such an inspirational visit.”

World Cup WOW

In addition to our scheduled four sessions, Selworthy School held a special World Cup WOW event in June, and Tom Abell and Dom Bess dropped in to take part.

Earlier this year the names of all the countries involved in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup were placed in a hat. The countries were then picked out at random by each class.

The children then spent a number of lessons preparing a project on their chosen country which was presented at the special World Cup WOW event.

Cameron Merry, Fundraising Lead at Selworthy School said: “WOW afternoons form part of the celebration of our topics and bring our whole school community together. It was great that Tom and Dom were able to join us and be part of this, celebrating the different cultures that are participating in the World Cup. It’s also the first time that our parents have been involved in our educational partnership with SCCC and it was a great way to introduce them to the mutual benefits that the partnership provides.”

A huge amount of effort went into each project and the two Somerset players were extremely impressed by what they saw.

“It was a really good day,” said Dom. “It was amazing to see how much fun everyone was having and to see some of the children that I’d seen at the coaching session earlier in the year. It was good to speak with some of the teachers too. They are the unsung heroes and it was amazing to see how well they interact with the children.”

Tom was equally captivated. “It was another great day at Selworthy,” said the Somerset Captain. “Every visit to the school is different, and it was great to be able to help put some smiles on their faces. It’s a really good thing for us as players to be doing.”

In addition to the World Cup WOW presentations, Tom and Dom spent some time working with the children in several classrooms.

Spencer Bishop SCCC’s Media and Community Executive outlined the purpose of the partnership. “Over the last three years we’ve been working with Selworthy school on an educational programme which is designed to benefit the children at the school,” he said. “We’ve created the four-part project which sees our players and the learners get together four times a year to work on four main elements: healthy eating, healthy lifestyles, numeracy and literacy.

“The feedback we’ve had from the school has been extremely positive, and the players genuinely enjoy spending time with these remarkable children. It’s been great to see the players and children form relationships over the last few years and we are all looking forward to year four!”

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