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Maths - Tricks and treats galore

What the lesson is about

If you think bridge is the exclusive preserve of elderly ladies, you might be surprised to learn that it is thriving at the other end of the age spectrum. More than 200 primary schools in England - 90 per cent from the state sector - have taken part in a Minibridge initiative pioneered by the English Bridge Union (EBU) since 2008, writes Peter Sherry.

Early research suggests that Minibridge - a simplified form of the game that aims to lead young people to the full version - teaches and improves skills in areas from numeracy and problem-solving to speaking, listening and team building.

"Minibridge makes maths fun," said Charlie, one of 20 children aged 8-10 that I met at an event to showcase Minibridge at the Yuong Chelsea Bridge Club in January. Emily, from Pembury School in Kent, added: "It's made my counting better and I've gone up a set in maths".

For teachers, there are two distinct formats: they can either set up a Minibridge club out of school hours, but on the premises, and held on a voluntary basis, or they can devote an entire maths lesson to the game each week for Years 4 and 5 (P4 and 5).

What else?

The EBU helps by providing imaginatively designed materials and also offers appropriately-vetted volunteers from the ranks of local, affiliated clubs as classroom assistants.

Education secretary Michael Gove has said that he is concerned about the UK's position in international numeracy tables. Perhaps Minibridge could be part of the solution.

For details about Minibridge, contact Matt Betts at matt@ebu.co.uk.

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