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 Post subject: Wilson's School Launch
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:03 am 
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I got an email last night as I'm on the Chess Journalists list....

"Holloid Plastics are working in conjunction with English Chess Federation to
give away over the next school year 10 free chess sets to 10,000 schools.

This momentous project is beginning this Saturday, June 27th at Wilson's
School in Surrey. It is a trial launch to which we have invited 20 schools
and some local council members, Chris Majer, the chief executive of English
Chess Federation will be attending along with a representative of Holloid
Plastics. A small simultaneous chess tournament (1 experienced player
playing against 8-12 younger players at the same time) between students of
schools attending is also taking place.

The aim of the event is not just to give away the chess sets but to
encourage schools to start chess clubs, enter into leagues and inter school
competitions and to allow teachers to share ideas, best practices and
knowledge. Chess as an extra curricular activity is not just fun but
stimulating also, it allows someone to develop their mathematical skills and
encourages study, preparation and individual improvement. Chess develops
cognitive ability and logic along with many other fundamental building
blocks in life. Chess as a sport encourages team playing and strategy
planning, and is a sport that all can enjoy.

We would like to invite you to attend this event, and help us spread the
word that chess is fun. With a little over 1,000 spare places for schools to
apply for chess sets we would welcome any encouragement from the media. If
this becomes a successful project there is consideration to extend the
project until all schools in England have a chess club running.

The event is on Saturday June 27th 2009, at 2pm. It is expected to last 1
hour. There is ample parking on site and the address will follow:
Wilson's School
Mollison Drive
Wallington
Surrey
SM6 9JW

We are looking forward to meeting with yourself or a representative on your
behalf, and truly hope that you will be able to attend. If you find yourself
unable then perhaps you would be able to suggest someone else that might be
interested."

So this is good news, although I would prefer to have more than three days notice!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:34 am 
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Kevin,
I'm not convinced that this is really good news, in fact I am less optomistic than before I read it. Chris Majer said they were expecting 30 schools, then it was 20, now it says they have invited 20 Schools. Believe me with everything that is going on Schools at this time of year - report writing, sports days, plays, exchange trips etc. etc. If you have invited 20 schools there is a very good chance of you getting very few takers.
Finally, I agree that it is a shame that this has gone out three days before the event and I am slightly concerned by the last paragraph - if you cannot make it, invite a friend, it all leads to the impression that they need greater numbers.
I am not trying to be pessimistic, I am just interpretting what is in front of me. We need to wait until after Saturday to see how things have gone. With any project of this nature there will be teething problems and I'm sure whatever happens on Saturday lessons will be learnt and the event on July 8th will be even better.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:39 am 
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Kevin Thurlow wrote:
With a little over 1,000 spare places for schools to apply for chess sets we would welcome any encouragement from the media.

That would be marketing then would it :roll:

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:27 pm 
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Actually, "So this is good news" wasn't intended to imply, "Wow this is fantastic!", more, "Oh look, something's happening." It was more hope than expectation! There are a lot more than 20 schools within half an hour's drive of Wilson's, so I wonder how they have been selected.

Historical note for anyone who cares - the school is near the old Croydon Airport, hence Mollison Drive named after Jim Mollison the famous aviator, and maybe his wife Amy (originally Johnson).

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:40 pm 
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Kevin Thurlow wrote:
I got an email last night as I'm on the Chess Journalists list....
we would welcome any encouragement from the media.


Kevin,

As a member of the media (and I guess this applies also to Tim, Leonard, John, James, Justin and others) what encouragement do you envisage providing on behalf of Holloid Plastics?

I assume that the ECF Director of Marketing has been running the ECF side of things?

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:52 pm 
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Carl Hibbard wrote:
Kevin Thurlow wrote:
With a little over 1,000 spare places for schools to apply for chess sets we would welcome any encouragement from the media.

That would be marketing then would it :roll:


I confess I don't fully understand what is meant by "spare places" here. Does it simply mean "1,000 schools may apply for chess sets at this time"?

Despite my email address appearing in the current ECF Yearbook's list of chess journalists, I did not receive this mailing so this is the first I have seen of it. Perhaps it is only sent out to those on the ECF mailing list (which I am not on). Not that it matters particularly. Most of the chess journalism that I am involved in is inward-facing - I tend to "preach to the converted". For publicity purposes it would probably be better for the project publicists to focus on chess columns and outlets which target a more general audience (e.g. RDK's Times column) or schools themselves. Having said which, I shall put something up on Ceefax to see if that helps. As KJT says, it's a bit late in the day.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:58 pm 
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It still isn't on either the ECF or the Holloid site so I presume they are waiting for some publicity and photographs during the actual event?

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:01 pm 
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John Saunders wrote:
I confess I don't fully understand what is meant by "spare places" here. Does it simply mean "1,000 schools may apply for chess sets at this time"?

I believe 9,000 schools applied, so at 10 sets each that leaves 1,000 x 10 still up for grabs?

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:53 pm 
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Carl Hibbard wrote:
John Saunders wrote:
I confess I don't fully understand what is meant by "spare places" here. Does it simply mean "1,000 schools may apply for chess sets at this time"?

I believe 9,000 schools applied, so at 10 sets each that leaves 1,000 x 10 still up for grabs?


Ah, I see. it was the word "places" that threw me. So c.9,000 schools have already registered which leaves c.1,000 more who can apply at this stage. Thanks. Anyway, I've put something up on Ceefax which should appear on TV screens within the next hour or two. Hopefully my overlords at the Beeb will not interpret this as blatant advertising. Though I confess I remain a 'non-believer' in the prospective benefits of the project, let it not be said that I haven't done my bit for the CoE (Chess of England, that is).

Whilst on the subject of the CoE...

Belated message to Stewart: your comment that it would have been "utterly stupid" to appoint a project manager on the ECF side before the relaunch got underway was revealing. Though we had our suspicions, we didn't know it was a relaunch since nobody had officially admitted that the original project had stalled. Thank you for clearing that up.

Belated message to Chris: rather than putting vague and improbable words in my mouth, it would have been more helpful to indicate precisely where you think my inconsistency on the subject of CfS occurred.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:09 pm 
There is about a month to go before the new Certificate of Merit website is ready.The support package that the ECF intends to offer schools to help accompany the sets will then be all but complete.

As John Upham is building the site,along with Ken Coates, perhaps he could update us all on how it is going.

Andrew


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:37 pm 
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andrew martin wrote:

As John Upham is building the site,along with Ken Coates, perhaps he could update us all on how it is going.

Andrew


The question and answer database tables are being populated. We have settled on 100 questions per level which means 300 real questions plus at least 20 for the practise test and I have also created 60 questions for the fun test which I hope will proving amusing. :lol:

I am attempting to test the payment system and have asked the ECF Office to create an email alias (com@englischess.org.uk) to accept payments via PayPal. This is to ring-fence payments from CoM so as they are not assimilated into general ECF finances. This has yet to be set-up. It is important to measure every aspect of this scheme.

I have asked a couple of questions of the Manager of IT some weeks ago and have yet to receive a reply : I want the ECF web site to test payments for ECF goods including the CoM DVD. This has yet to happen.

I have asked the ECF Office to design a hard-copy certificate and have it approved : I have yet to hear if that has happened.

I have asked the ECF to decide the content and wording of the pack sent to students who have passed : I have yet to hear on this.

I have asked ditto for students who fail the test : I strongly feel that good comms with the students is essential.

Ken and I are progressing where we are not dependant on others, otherwise we are stalled.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:09 pm 
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I'm a chess journalist but, like John Saunders, I didn't receive the handout.....


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:18 pm 
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Do you actually want to push the publicity heavily in case nobody turns up though?

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:39 pm 
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My role has been to arrange the venue at Wilson's School.
20 schools have said they are sending representatives.
Other schools were invited but said they could not attend.

Unlike Millfield, state schools in this area still have 3 weeks of term left so clashes with school summer fairs are more likely to have been a problem than summer holidays.

ps I never realised about 'Mollison'. Most of the other road names are things like Spitfire Road, Dakota Close, Hurracane Rd. I'll check at school to see how many know the relevance of Mollison Drive


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:42 pm 
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Neill,
It is very good of you to provide a venue and I am sure it will be excellent. I hope the day goes well and I hope at the appropriate time you are able to post some comments here.
I do though think that of the pre-event information/publicity that is coming out looks a bit amateurish. Others have already highlighted this statement "With a little over 1,000 spare places for schools to apply for chess sets we would welcome any encouragement from the media". It is hard to know what this means, where should new schools apply?
I hope that after the event at Wilson's, the ECF and Holloid will smarten up the publicity. Things should be a lot clearer in two weeks' time.


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