Form 4 have timetabled weekly chess lessons with Andrew Green of Edinburgh Chess Academy and these have continued remotely despite COVID restrictions. He is keen for all schools across Scotland to follow our lead, and we are delighted that he enthuses and inspires our young chess players every week!
Please see the article in today's edition of The Times
Cargilfield Prep moves to put chess on the curriculum
A private school has become the first in Scotland to add chess to its curriculum.
Pupils at Cargilfield Preparatory School, in Cramond, Edinburgh, are competing in tournaments and one child now plays chess for Scotland.
Andrew Green, who is one of the country’s leading players and coaches the pupils, is campaigning for the Scottish government to add the game to the school curriculum.
He teaches chess in 11 state schools and six independent schools in Edinburgh. He said that pupils were eager to learn and that the game needed to be taught and was easily accessible online.
The campaign has received the backing of Gareth Williams, the co-founder of the Edinburgh-based Skyscanner travel website, who is committed to raising the profile of the game.
Chess is not classified as a sport in Scotland but 24 of 27 European Union member states list it as an official sport and provide public funding to teach it in schools.
The popularity of chess with young people has been growing steadily, fuelling by the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, about a female chess prodigy.
“Most European countries receive public funding for chess in schools and follow a curriculum, with the benefits of the game to kids well proven,” Green said. “Research points to the educational benefits of chess, including around cognitive and emotional skills, mathematics and problem-solving.
“As a country, I think we’re missing a trick here. Chess is increasingly played in an online environment without language barriers, so it’s never been easier or cheaper to get into the game.”
He said that the next step should be to scale up what had been achieved in Edinburgh. He added: “Chess needs to be taught. There needs to be structured teaching and competitions for kids to enter. Having a few chess boards hanging about won’t get results. You don’t just give a child a guitar and expect them to play; the same applies to chess.”
Green has said there is the same appetite for learning the game in state schools as in private schools.
“There is this misconception that chess is confined to private schools, and I think we need to get away from that,” he added. “Before lockdown, I was teaching in state schools and the children in each school loved it.”
Ross Murdoch, deputy head of Cargilfield, said: “Andrew’s arrival at the school to help drive the inclusion of chess in our Form 4 curriculum has really taken our children to the next level with some representing the school at chess tournaments in Edinburgh and one making the national team . . .
“Andrew has been delighted to dial in during remote learning and since being back at school, which has allowed the children to continue to develop their knowledge and ability of the game.”
Welcome to Cargilfield! We hope this short film gives you a glimpse of what life is like for the girls and boys at our school. We would love to welcome you in person to tour Cargilfield and explain more fully exactly what makes a Cargilfield education so special and so different. Please get in touch with Fiona Craig, our Registrar if you would like to find out more; her email address is [email protected] or you can telephone her on 0131 336 2207.