The School of Rugby transforms participation in Dundee

The School of Rugby transforms participation in Dundee

A partnership between Active Schools Dundee, Scottish Rugby and Braeview Academy has introduced rugby to many young people in the local community for the first time. The "School of Rugby" initiative aims to grow and foster a love for rugby within the area and underscores the importance of introducing new individuals to the sport.

The partnership has been transformative and began with the school benefiting from the Cashback for Kids programme. The funds allocated from Cashback for Kids were earmarked to introduce rugby, and the Headteachers of the schools within the Braeview Academy cluster have enthusiastically embraced the concept.

The initiative has had a significant impact. The number of children and young people actively participating in rugby within the area has seen a substantial increase.

Many individuals who had never considered rugby before have now embraced the sport wholeheartedly. Additionally, there have been noticeable improvements in school attendance rates among certain pupils, indicative of the broader positive influence of sports participation on academic engagement and overall well-being.

James Fenna, Active Schools Manager at Leisure Culture Dundee said;

"It is every encouraging to see so many children and young people take an interest in rugby through school, and so many of them now transitioning to club rugby. The children and young people have been made very welcome at the club by everyone from players to coaches and beyond. But that is what Dundee Rugby is about. Being inclusive and trying to attract children and young people from all areas of the city and surrounding area. The project has been a massive success for us."

Sama'an Akel, Partnerships Projects Development Officer at Scottish Rugby emphasised the importance of the collaborative approach to the initiative's success;

"The collaborative approach significantly increased the participation of children and young people in rugby within the Dundee area. In so doing, the Development Officer has been in a position to nurture a growth in players of school rugby, and in turn building the confidence of our young people to then make the step to playing at the club."

"Beyond the development of rugby skills, the programme provides personal growth and character development. This underscores the broader societal impact of the programme, highlighting its role in not only nurturing talent but also fostering community and empowerment among participants."

Kenneth Clarkson, Depute Head teacher at Braeview Academy spoke about how integral the programme had become in some aspects of the pupil journey.

"It is a vital part of our curriculum that gives pupils the opportunity to develop a range of key skills that will allow them thrive during, and on leaving school."

"It has given our pupils the opportunity to develop skills that will allow them to thrive in and on leaving school, it has developed pupils confidence, resilience."

The programme engages participants from Primary 6 onwards. Children are first introduced to touch rugby during their physical education lessons, and they can attend voluntary additional sessions. The timing of these is deliberately coincided with the excitement of the annual 6 Nations Rugby tournament. This active timing choice allows participants to engage with the sport during a particularly exciting time of the sporting calendar.

As participants progress to Primary 7, they transition into extracurricular clubs held at lunchtimes and after school. Throughout the year, four additional Rugby festivals, competed within the cluster, offer opportunities for friendly competition, starting with touch rugby at the first festival and culminating in a form of full-contact match by the end of the year.

Following the festival at the end of Primary 7, pupils can officially enrol in the Secondary 1 (S1) "School of Rugby" programme at Braeview, facilitated by transition days that allow them to meet their new teammates prior to the school year commencing. Primary 7, pupils can officially enrol in the Secondary 1 "School of Rugby" programme at Braeview, facilitated by transition days that allow them to meet their new teammates prior to the school year commencing.

Throughout this, the partnership between the schools and Dundee Rugby Club remains strong. This allows for the transition from school to club rugby to remain as comfortable as possible for participants. This has been particularly successful thus far, especially among female players.

To find out more about the programme email

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