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Swindon MP supports All Schools programme

22 March 2014

  • Robert Buckland MP visits Dorcan Academy in Swindon, Wiltshire
  • Students proudly show off their new Canterbury rugby shirts
Dorcan Academy

Photo: RFU Archive

Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, has applauded an initiative by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) which aims to get over one million more schoolchildren actively involved in sport after watching youngsters in action in Swindon on Monday (March 17).

Mr Buckland met staff and students from Dorcan Academy, which is one of 200 secondary schools taking part in the Rugby Football Union’s All Schools programme. He saw first-hand how the students have taken to rugby and the benefits that the RFU project is delivering. Through All Schools Dorcan Academy will receive resource and funding over three years, including kit and equipment, as well as hands-on coaching support.

All Schools was launched in 2012 by the RFU 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.

Competitive rugby union is currently played in around 1,500 state secondary schools. Through All Schools, the RFU aims to introduce the game into 400 non-rugby playing secondary schools by 2015 and up to 750 by 2019.

After speaking with students and staff, Mr Buckland said: “It was great to come and see the All Schools programme in action at Dorcan Academy this morning. The values rugby teaches the children are extremely important and I could see that all the Year 7 children who were taking part had really taken to rugby.

“It’s really important to provide opportunities for young people to try different sports and I’m delighted to see the RFU is doing this through its All Schools programme, introducing more rugby to state secondary schools in England.”

During the visit, the students showed off their new Canterbury rugby shirts. As part of the All School programme, schools can take part in workshops run by Canterbury, official partner to All Schools, to design their own rugby shirts. Canterbury then turn these drawings into final bespoke designs to be proudly worn by the school’s rugby team.

Wendy Craig, Head of PE at Dorcan Academy, said: “The All Schools programme has been fantastic to be a part of, it’s really important that we give our students opportunities to try as many sports as possible and the RFU’s support has helped us to give children at The Dorcan Academy the chance to try rugby – and they have loved it.”

Steve Grainger, the RFU Rugby development Director, said: “Rugby union is a game for All Schools – all schools can play, all young people in the school can play and rugby has an impact on all of the school. We want to use the once-in-a-generation opportunity of the RWC to increase the amount of rugby in schools and encourage new players to join local clubs.”