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Ben Stokes backs calls for guaranteed amount of PE in schools

“It is not only the success you can get from sport, but learning at a young age how rewarding being in a team can be and what it is like to go through hardship together.”

The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket last year reported “elitism and class-based discrimination” in the game, partly down to a lack of cricket in state schools and a talent pathway structurally aligned to private schools.

Some 58% of men to play for England in 2021 were privately educated, significantly higher than the 7% of the general population who went to private school.

In response, the ECB expanded work with charities Chance To Shine and Lord’s Taverners to deliver free cricket sessions in state schools.

Overall, the ECB spends more than £4m each year through Chance To Shine, offering cricket to 600,000 children in around 4,000 state schools. The funding has particularly targeted schools where at least 40% of the children are on free school meals.

Stokes was born and schooled in New Zealand prior to moving to the UK at the age of 12. Through cricket he was given the opportunity to attend a private school, which he turned down.

“I was very lucky that my school was committed to PE as well as education,” said Stokes. “We had very good facilities, but that’s not the case with every school.

“I was one of the lucky ones, but what we are doing here is for the schools that don’t have those facilities to be able to put their children through some kind of PE, in particular cricket.”

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