Update on Project?

Discussions regarding the 70,000 Free Chess Sets for Schools in England.
Neill Cooper
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Neill Cooper » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:24 am

Nick Thomas wrote:Do you know how many of these 35 attended the events?
Good question: At the Wilson's launch about 4 collected their sets in the following week, and 4 were collected by parents of juniors playing in the simul.

The lack of attendance (schools saying they could not come, schools saying they could come and not attending) has caused a change in Holloid approach. Caroline Morris has emailed me to say: "I'm sorry I've not been in touch with you regarding a large launch at Wilson's School. At the moment, I don't believe there will be a large launch as we are likely to be distributing the boxes in another way, following the poor turnout at the small launches."

What that 'other way' is I do not know.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Update on Project?

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:41 am

You can't blame Holloid for their approach. I'm sure that its exactly why they went with the small scale launches that some on here were so critical of before.

However, many people have said here before that lack of chess sets is not the issue. Its a lack of interest (at the teaching / organisational level at least) that is the problem. The small number of those who had signed up for the project who actually turned up highlights that problem.

Nick Thomas
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Nick Thomas » Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:18 am

I end up with a sinking feeling once again when told by Holloid that: "50 schools attended the events and each received their free chess sets" and the truth appears to be that 35 have received sets and of those maybe half or less attended the events. In addition there are other inaccuracies pointed out by John Upham which altogether makes me unwilling to believe the rest of the press release. Oh and the chess board next to the press release still seems to be the wrong way round.....

Matthew Turner
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Matthew Turner » Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:42 am

Sean Hewitt wrote
"You can't blame Holloid for their approach"

I don't! I think starting small is a perfectly sensible idea and the launches at Wilson's and Yateley seemeed reasonably successful. However, if you saying Holloid needed to try out the launches at Wilson's and Yateley to see if a 'grand launch' with a thousand schools was feasible then I would say that this is incredily naive. Anybody with any connection to teaching would tell you this just isn't going to happen.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Update on Project?

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:19 am

Matthew Turner wrote:Sean Hewitt wrote
"You can't blame Holloid for their approach"

I don't! I think starting small is a perfectly sensible idea and the launches at Wilson's and Yateley seemeed reasonably successful. However, if you saying Holloid needed to try out the launches at Wilson's and Yateley to see if a 'grand launch' with a thousand schools was feasible then I would say that this is incredily naive. Anybody with any connection to teaching would tell you this just isn't going to happen.
Matthew - It doesn't appear that Holloid agree. They clearly thought that schools would attend launches to collect their sets. The facts seem to suggest that less than half of the schools who said they would attend to collect their sets actually did so. If I were Holloid I would deduce that the schools were not that bothered about the sets and that those who said that sets were not the problem were right all along.

Matthew Turner
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Matthew Turner » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:10 am

Sean,
I don't really disagree with you. What I meant in terms of successful, was that the small launches seemed to be enjoyed by all and they got the local MP to turn up etc. This seemed to have the possibility to get pretty good (local) publicity.
However, I don't know of any events that have 1,000 schools in attendance and to me the idea of a 'grand launch' just seems totally unrealistic. That means that there are three possibilities

1. I am simply wrong
2. Holloid are incredibly naive
3. Holloid are being economical with the truth and whilst they were talking about a grand launch, they did not expect it to happen.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Neill Cooper » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:42 am

Of the about 20 schools who received sets at the Wilson's launch very few (at most 4) did not already have their own chess sets. A couple of others will be able to have larger chess clubs, but most will just use the extra sets in peripheral activities (ours will be used in the year 7 and 6th form common rooms).

I estimate about 30 schools who had registered for free sets and did not have sets were invited to the Wilson's event, and only 3 turned up (mainly from within 2 miles).

So if schools do not already have chess sets they won't make an effort to get them. Holloid can try and get them to the schools, but if they won't make the effort to get them, will they bother with any extras the ECF offer? I doubt it - certainly they won't pay for any.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:59 am

The Holloid home page has changed to say this:

Holloid is manufacturing and distributing 100,000 free, quality chess sets to 10,000 schools by July 2010. We aim to reach the rest of the 25,000 schools in England by July 2012.
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:43 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:
Andrew Farthing wrote:Let's be realistic. I'm all in favour of open communication whenever possible, but it would hardly be professional of me to report on Monday's meeting without (a) briefing Chris Majer and (b) complying with whatever coordinated communications plans may be agreed with the project team. I hope people will understand why this has to be so.
It would be nice for me to know whether the large (up to 1000 schools) Surrey launch at Wilson's School, which I was told would be taking place in the early Autumn, will be happening or not.
Did you get an answer to your question then Neill as details are very sketchy on this project?
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

Neill Cooper
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Neill Cooper » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:44 pm

Carl Hibbard wrote:
Neill Cooper wrote: It would be nice for me to know whether the large (up to 1000 schools) Surrey launch at Wilson's School, which I was told would be taking place in the early Autumn, will be happening or not.
Did you get an answer to your question then Neill as details are very sketchy on this project?
Carl, Yes, Caroline made it clear that no big launches were planned.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:50 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:Carl, Yes, Caroline made it clear that no big launches were planned.
Ok thanks, that does go against the intention expressed by the CEO for September but there you go I suppose :(
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

Angus French
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Angus French » Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:18 pm

Wouldn’t it be the case that for most schools the value of the free chess sets is insufficient to warrant the cost of attendance at a launch event? I don’t think it follows that the schools that didn't attend aren’t interested in chess or the ECF package.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Neill Cooper » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:49 pm

Angus French wrote:Wouldn’t it be the case that for most schools the value of the free chess sets is insufficient to warrant the cost of attendance at a launch event? I don’t think it follows that the schools that didn't attend aren’t interested in chess or the ECF package.
I don't think driving 3 miles each way on a Saturday afternoon is a great cost. Obviously there is also a 'cost' of time, but would that person be willing to give up their lunchtime/after school to run a chess club?
But I would agree that the schools are probably still interested in chess.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Carl Hibbard » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:02 am

Neill Cooper wrote:
Angus French wrote:Wouldn’t it be the case that for most schools the value of the free chess sets is insufficient to warrant the cost of attendance at a launch event? I don’t think it follows that the schools that didn't attend aren’t interested in chess or the ECF package.
I don't think driving 3 miles each way on a Saturday afternoon is a great cost. Obviously there is also a 'cost' of time, but would that person be willing to give up their lunchtime/after school to run a chess club?

But I would agree that the schools are probably still interested in chess.
You need some sort of big event as this has now been dragging on for so long it is seen as nothing but a pipe dream :roll:
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

Laurie Roberts
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Re: Update on Project?

Post by Laurie Roberts » Sat Aug 29, 2009 9:42 am

Maybe an easier project would have been for schools to purchase sets themselves (from a designated supplier) and the ECF / supplier provide half the cost on receipt of an invoice from a school. That would have been cheaper and, quicker, and ensured only schools with an interest got a set.

The money from the ECF should really go into follow-up with schools (i.e. provide information on how to run a school club, how to register in leagues, etc etc) (something CJ mentioned in the Youtube clip)

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