The WPBSA has launched the CueZone Into Schools programme, which will get 10,000 school children playing snooker by the end of this year.
The programme was launched at Sheffield Park Academy on Thursday by snooker legend Steve Davis who will be the ambassador for the scheme, along with WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson and Head of Coaching Chris Lovell.
As part of the WPBSA’s ambition to grow snooker at grass roots level, this initiative will help the sport to be played in schools across the UK.
Schools will develop their own Cue Zone, using six-foot snooker tables. Senior members of staff will be trained as a WPBSA World Snooker Coaches in order to help pupils develop skills on the green baize. Those aged 15 or over will also have the chance to train as WPBSA Community World Snooker Coaches.
The concept is designed to encourage involvement in snooker before and after school and during lunch breaks, as well as during English, Maths and sports lessons using Functional Snooker.
Functional Snooker aims to develop and support the English and Maths skills of young people while they learn to play the sport. A system in which red balls and coloured balls are all given different values helps pupils to develop numeracy. It has also been used in schools in China, producing positive educational results.
Ferguson said: “Snooker is the fastest growing sport in the world. The professional game is going from strength to strength but we must also focus on grass roots by maximising participation levels. This new programme will help more children enjoy snooker while improving their numeracy skills at the same time, so it’s clear why schools are keen to get involved. CueZone Into Schools will grow quickly and I can foresee a time when school across the country and overseas get involved.”
Six-time World Champion Steve Davis said: “Any way to make learning interesting and fun can only help a young person’s educational development. To see snooker involved at this level and contributing to a young person’s life skills is truly rewarding for everyone involved.”
Lovell said: “In years gone by, young people would often go to a snooker club after school and learn the game, but now we face so much competition from computer games and satellite television. We see Cue Zones in schools as an opportunity to develop a link to a local club via a WPBSA World Snooker coach and also help school teachers become qualified coaches. This is a really inclusive approach to grass roots snooker.”
Snooker will be linked to assessments and examinations within the BTEC sport qualifications. These are nationally recognised qualifications awarded by BTEC.
Davis will also visit schools to encourage development, including primary schools participating in the Steve Davis Little Nuggets programme.