June 24, 2008
Brockenhurst College in Hampshire is aiming to be named a Beacon centre for rugby this year, having already become one of the first three colleges nationally to receive the Rugby Football Union's Accredited College award.
Brockenhurst set up its sports academy two years ago and the rugby programme - which attracts players from clubs in a 30 mile radius, including Swanage and Wareham, Salisbury and the Isle of Wight - earned Accredited College status from the RFU in recognition of the commitment to the development of the game through local links and partnerships.
Colleges must meet standards in a wide range of criteria, which include academic courses, volunteer opportunities, coaching (including a Level 2 coach at the college), refereeing courses, community and club links, entering competitions, and facilities for training, playing and medical care.
Students selected for the Brockenhurst rugby team now have timetabled slots each day for training, and Jamie Sanders, the RFU's Hampshire rugby development officer (RDO), and Andy Headley, community rugby coach (CRC), will continue to work closely with Brockenhurst to obtain the higher-tier Beacon College accreditation.
The Beacon award encourages rugby in further education colleges and the promotion of best practice by setting minimum standards for the whole spectrum of rugby provision. Andy Headley will be leading coaching courses at Brockenhurst from September and has provided a clear development plan with the aim of achieving the award by Christmas 2008.
Brockenhurst College rugby coach Bryn Coslett said: "The quality of our rugby coaching at the college is reflected by the talent of our students and has been highlighted with Paul O'Brian making the national colleges squad this year.
"This new accreditation will help to further strengthen our status as a college serious about rugby."
Brockenhurst has excellent links with the clubs in the New Forest via the New Forest Rugby Development Group. The college joined this group to strengthen links with local clubs and provide more opportunities for its students to play an active role in sports coaching and officiating.
Jamie Sanders, Hampshire RDO, said: "Brockenhurst is well placed to achieve this new award and the next year will be an exciting time for the College on and off the field.
"The academy is working well, giving students a good grounding in rugby from curriculum based courses while also getting results on the field."
Andy Headley, Hampshire CRC, said: "We want to get students involved at the grass roots level to develop a continuous pathway where students can end up coaching after College and feed back into the rugby community."
For more information and to apply for the 2008-09 Brockenhurst Rugby Academy go to www.brock.ac.uk.