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FEATURE – Mclean backs All Schools in West Yorkshire

13 June 2014

  • All Schools making waves in West Yorkshire
  • Mclean praises “phenomenal standard” among girls

England Women’s captain Katy Mclean has given her backing to an initiative by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) which is producing a boom in girls playing the sport after watching youngsters in action in West Yorkshire.

Katy – who will be representing England at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in France this August – met staff and students from Brighouse High School as well as visiting players from nearby Whitcliffe Mount School. They are two of 200 secondary schools taking part in the RFU’s ambitious All Schools programme.

Katy Mclean listens in 

Photo: RFU Archive

All Schools was launched in 2012 by the RFU in partnership with the Rugby Football Foundation to create a step-change in the number of state secondary schools playing rugby union and give more young people opportunities to play. It forms one of the RFU’s seven legacy strands of the Rugby World Cup 2015 to deliver the greatest participation legacy for the game.

Katy saw first-hand how girls at the two schools have taken to rugby and the benefits that the programme is delivering. Through All Schools, the schools are receiving resource and funding over three years, including kit and equipment, as well as hands-on coaching support.

Girls rugby has been a particular success story at the two schools and, during her visit, Katy was able to see at close quarters. A group of around 50 pupils from Year 7 right through to Year 10 who have taken up the sport as a direct result of the All Schools programme. The partnership has proved so successful that a number of the girls are also turning out for local club Old Brodleians, allowing it to now run a girls team.

Competitive rugby union is currently played in around 1,500 state secondary schools. Through All Schools, the RFU aims to introduce the game into 750 non-rugby playing secondary schools by 2019.

After chatting to pupils and passing on a little of her wisdom, an impressed Katy said: “None of this was around when I was at school, and the fact that girls have the chance to do this is fantastic.

Girls enjoying the All Schools programme

Photo: RFU Archive

“The standard I’ve seen is phenomenal – their technical and contact skills are amazing and that is some of the hardest stuff to teach.”

Jim Summers, Head of PE at Brighouse High School, has been delighted to see the benefits that rugby union have brought to the school and admits it would not have been possible without the support of the RFU and the All Schools programme.

He said: “It’s been fantastic from day one to now. The development of the girls has been tremendous and the participation levels have been incredible. We’ve tried other sports but nothing has taken off as well as this. That’s down to a team effort; from the RFU, the staff and the pupils all working together.

“The girls loved having Katy here. The opportunity for us to have someone of her stature here to showcase girls’ rugby and demonstrate that the game really is for everyone was one that was too good to miss. It shows what opportunities there are out there for them if they are prepared to keep working hard