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RFU All Schools programme pays early dividends in Nottingham

04 January 2013

  • Nottingham players help in new RFU programme
  • Moderns feel benefits of All Schools initiative
Action from school match

Photo: Getty Images

The RFU’s All Schools programme is paying early dividends in introducing rugby to three inner city schools in Nottingham.

RFU staff have worked closely with RFU Championship club Nottingham’s City Rugby Programme to foster links between Djangoly City Academy, Bluecoat Academy and Emmanuel School and local clubs.

“The project has been invaluable to widen the appeal of Rugby Union to more of the inner-city schools of Nottingham, while linking the many players involved to Nottingham Moderns RFC who have bought into the programme with making the club available for training sessions and festivals,” said Pete Shaw, the former RFU Rugby Development Officer for Nottinghamshire and now the RFU Area Facilities Mananger.

“All three schools involved have either not played the game or have just started to introduce the sport through the curriculum or after-school.

“However this programme has allowed expert coaching to be utilised to support the teachers in the schools to sustain rugby for the future. This coaching has also been supported through the delivery of Teacher Education and signposting other members of staff to coaching courses to support their development.

“The programme has already seen great success with players joining Nottingham Moderns and all three schools involved with the established City Secondary Schools Leagues.”

Action from a youth match

Photo: Getty Images

The RFU All Schools programme is a new initiative aimed at introducing rugby into 400 non-rugby-playing schools before Rugby World Cup 2015 and up to 750 by 2019.

The All Schools project aims to offer opportunities to more than one million youngsters to play rugby by delivering a package of resources within schools who have been linked to a local club in clusters across England.

The initiative is being piloted across 100 city schools nationwide and provides the strongest support mechanism ever delivered by the RFU to schools needing help to give rugby a foothold.

Nottingham players Joe Munro, Matt Shields and Phil Eggleshaw have joined the Green and Whites community and first team manager Steve Smith and fellow coach Andy Tither in an afternoon coaching clinic with schools at Moderns’ Wilford headquarters.

“We have a fairly new junior section that is still only eight years old and it is great to have Nottingham Rugby help us target schools that are fairly local to us and give those children access to rugby and specialist coaching,” said Alastair Clark, Chairman of Moderns junior section.

“With Nottingham players going into schools provides that extra wow factor, that little something extra to inspire students to get involved.

“Through Nottingham’s involvement in schools, and coaching sessions here at the club, we are getting them more familiar with rugby and if they like the game then they are familiar with a club if they want to take it up.”

Dan Hutchinson, the assistant head of physical education at Bluecoat Academy, said the City Rugby Programme has sparked a new level of involvement and interest in the game.

“We are a school that is not very familiar with rugby which is certainly seen as a minority sport, but the chance to meet the first team and professional athletes has inspired the children to get involved," said Hutchinson.

“Of the 20 students that we have here, not one of them has played a competitive rugby game. The idea is that with the encouragement from Nottingham Rugby and links with the Moderns, some of the kids might now take an interest in joining training with the club and even go on to play with Moderns.

“We have targeted our year sevens for this because we are looking longer term, at having a side that can play in the County Cup and a few years after that go on to the National Cup. I guess the ultimate ambition from there is to see someone from the school play for Nottingham Rugby.”

Peter Elson, a history teacher at Emmanuel School, insists it is not just the students who are benefiting for Nottingham Rugby’s involvement.

“It is really positive to get good coaching advice, ideas that we can take back to school and get kids involved and excited,” said Elson.

“This programme is a great way to develop an interest, coaching and ways of taking rugby forward."