Monday, 7 April 2008

Blog 25 - Bringing people in...

Last year we reviewed our teacher training courses and developed a much more comprehensive programme including strategies to help teachers recruit new students and how to evolve their development from their first lesson to ‘learn and play’ fun duplicate bridge.

A total of 529 new students have embarked on first year partner teacher’s courses this year and over fifty teachers have graduated from the courses and we are now seeing the first ‘Learn and Play’ clubs being formed from those students.

People like Maggie Hadley who attended a teacher training course in August last year, has gone on to recruit over ninety students and in June this year will be starting her own Learn and Play club in Bristol.

Maggie is among many of the new Partner Teachers who have benefited from the new student course work books, comprehensive lesson plans and an array of free resources to help her develop her own teaching programme. When she starts her Partner Club with her second year students in June, the English Bridge Union will further help by giving her free Master Points, all the stationery she needs for the first twelve months and heavily discounted tables and bidding boxes.

Maggie wrote to us and said, “It seems a long time since I attended the Partner teacher course and your help so far has been crucial to us becoming established here in Bristol”

The original "Partner Club", Aylesbury Vale Bridge, which provided a blue print for the Partner Club model has now been in operation for four years. It attracts over twenty tables a week and has 100% EBU membership. They provide two teams for the Wessex league (county league) and the products of their learning academy provide ongoing refreshment to other clubs in the area with competent club players.

AVB Club proprietor Sue Maxwell says, ‘our policy is to provide our students with a development structure from the first lesson to club bridge and beyond. It is a continual process, from student recruitment to county league, with plenty of resting places in between.’

The next EBU Partner Teacher course will be held at West Midland Bridge Club on 11-13 July.

We are undertaking a lot of events to raise the profile of bridge. In mid-April we are involved in a special "Games Day" at the National Railway Museum in York on 13th April. We are using this day as a trial of a planned number of Awareness Days for bridge around the country. Non bridge players and bridge players are very welcome to come, watch and play. Click here for more information.

Very shortly John Pain, our Education Manager and a National Tournament Director, will be visiting the African state of Botswana to train a number of local people as tournament directors, at the request of the Botswana Federation. Quite apart from helping a developing bridge nation (and they apparently have lots of young people learning and playing) we hope to interest the media in what is a quite unique experience for the EBU!

If anyone has anything they think will help promote bridge please do not hesitate to contact Matt Betts at the EBU office ( or on 01296 317215.