Schools Bridge

Schools Bridge
Norma Irwin T:02890614177  

Norman Lacey T: 07825683434

NIBU Schools Project

NIBU believe that there is a need to develop playing Bridge in NI and increase the number of players across all age groups. The main project is the Schools Project.  The objective is to teach bridge starting in Primary Schools and providing the opportunity to continue playing at Post Primary schools and onto University. Norma Irwin and Norman Lacey have been tasked with running this project. They are making progress in all three areas and are encouraged by the excitement among young bridge players and the enthusiasm from their volunteer tutors.

Round the Schools

Primary Schools
Pupils involved are 10/11 year olds in their final year before moving into post primary education.
Eden Primary school
This school has a single P7 class of 32 pupils. They are taught during class time in 2 groups of 16 each.
Their dedicated NIBU volunteer tutors are Norma Irwin and Pat Braden. The year teacher, Alistair Purdy, is included in the classes. He sees the benefits of what his children are learning and wants to acquire sufficient knowledge to be involved in future years.
Greenisland Primary School
There are 2 P7 classes at this school totalling 64 pupils. Again they are sub divided into 4 groups of 16 and are taught in class time on Wednesday and Thursday. The NIBU team is Anne Hassen, Roberta Madill, Jamie Johnston, John Flynn, Ronnie Cromie, Margaret Bleakley, Kate Cassidy and Diane Greenwood.
Teaching in these schools started in January and has reached the stage where pupils are being taught to use bidding boxes and develop their card playing skills. The children and their teachers are extremely enthusiastic and teachers encourage them to practice playing bridge at other times of the week. The Vice Principal at Greenisland advised us that she had observed improvements in interpersonal skills and mental arithmetic of the children during the first 2 months.
St Mary’s Primary School
This school starts learning bridge this month. There are 2 P7 classes of 32 pupils each. We have changed the timing format and the school has allocated an afternoon of class time for teaching the 4 groups of 16 each. This allows us to reduce travelling time and the number of volunteer tutors is only 4 in total. Dan Mulholland, Hilary Adair, Rene Rodrigues and Michael McIlroy are involved at this school. The Vice Principal will also assist as she is already learning to play bridge.

Strandtown Primary School.
The format at this school involves 18 pupils playing at an after school club. Teaching started in January and improvements have already been noted in the children’s ability. Tutors are Suzi Jeffries, Ken Hammond, Liz Thomas and Marie Edwards.
Post Primary Schools
The 3 active Schools are Carrick Grammar, Bangor Grammar and Belfast Royal Academy (BRA).   The teachers involved, John, Andrew and Stuart, are playing a programme of regular, inter-school leagues and matches, in which all three schools take part. The schools were playing in the All Ireland Schools competition in Galway on the weekend of 1-3 March 2019. Parents contribute to the cost of the weekend and NIBU have also donated £500.
Volunteer tutors
We currently have over 20 volunteer tutors involved but we need more. We plan to involve more schools round Belfast in the next school year. We need help from people who play bridge regularly in a club. If you would be willing to teach or provide support to the teachers by helping children practise what they are being taught and with card play we would be delighted to talk to you. Contact Norma or Norman or email
Round Northern Ireland
If you would be interested in helping set up other groups round Northern Ireland please let us know. NIBU will support you by providing equipment and Norma and Norman will be delighted to help you get your group started. We are teaching over 200 children already and they are making excellent progress. We have identified young people who have the potential to progress to playing in Peggy Bayer and Junior Camrose competitions.