ECF Accredited Coaches Scheme announcement

A review has been conducted of the ECF Accredited Coaches Scheme. It was agreed by the Board that the Scheme had a number of issues –

  • The current requirements only provide a character reference, rather than any comments on people’s suitability as a coach.
  • A number of aspiring coaches would like a formal qualification, which at the moment is not on offer, although numerous other organisations provide these things.
  • It isn’t clear that the ECF should be responsible for DBS checking any coaches where coaches are providing their services in schools, on the grounds that the school is the employer and not the ECF.
  • The ECF does have an obligation to DBS check coaches who are going on junior trips with England teams. This obligation can be carried out independently of the Accredited Coaches scheme.
  • The current scheme has a credibility problem in that a number of well-known coaches do not engage with the system, because they have no particular need to in order to gain employment.

The ECF consulted a number of individuals, particularly Chess in Schools and Communities and the Secretary of the European Chess Union’s Chess in Education Commission. The ECF sought to establish best practice on how to run this scheme, while tailoring it to suit the particular requirements of coaches in England. As a result of those consultations, the Board agreed the following course of action –

1. Close the ECF Accredited Coaches Scheme with immediate effect.

2. Create a section of the ECF website which allows chess coaches to advertise their services, with a disclaimer that it is up to the person interested in seeking a coach that the ECF is not the employer, and thus it is the responsibility of the person seeking a coach to be satisfied that the coach is DBS checked if necessary. The current list of ECF Accredited Coaches will be invited to advertise themselves there. It is expected that this list will appear online by the end of January.

3. Publish a list of English coaches who have achieved a qualification from the FIDE Trainers Commission, with a caveat about DBS as in 2 above. This list will appear on the ECF website as soon as possible.

4. Work with Chess in Schools and Communities to provide a section on the ECF website about how to set up a school chess club, including things such as buying equipment. A list of courses will be provided for teachers and chessplayers who want to go on a training course; this would include the CSC Training Course and the ECU Chess in Education courses. It is expected that this advice will appear over the next few months.

The Board is confident that this new approach is an improvement on the Accredited Coaches scheme.

— Alex Holowczak, ECF Director of Junior Chess and Education | 1st January, 2019