Written evidence submitted by the Rugby
Football Union |
The Education Committee has announced an inquiry
into the provision of services beyond the school/college day for
young people, primarily those aged 13-25.
1. The RFU believes in the power of sport to
change lives. All evidence suggests that participating in rugby
union and sport in general, produces happier, healthier and more
socially cohesive individuals. We see sport as both an end in
itself and as a means to nurture better citizens and build a stronger
society. Rugby in particular is an excellent vehicle to engage
young people and the RFU, through its 1,900 clubs, delivers a
provision that transcends localities across the country. Rugby
union provides opportunities for young people of all shapes and
sizes. The difference this makes to body image and all round confidence
is staggering and we have strong evidence suggesting that playing
rugby improves attitudes and behaviours across ages and socio-economic
backgrounds as well as improving academic attainment.
The data below shows that rugby makes the greatest
difference in the most deprived schools:
|Rugby Playing Index:
|1||No Rugby||% of pupils achieving 5+A*-C (and equivalent) including
|2||Curriculum time only
||English and maths GCSEs|
|3||Curriculum time and attend a festival
|4||7 weeks and some competitive fixtures
|5||14 weeks and weekly competitive fixtures
MOST DEPRIVED (20% + OF PUPILS ELIGIBLE FOR FREE
AVERAGE AFFLUENCE (10-20% OF PUPILS ELIGIBLE FOR
FREE SCHOOL MEALS)
MOST AFFLUENT (0-10% OF PUPILS ELIGIBLE FOR FREE
Schools data from Department of Education, rugby playing data
from RFU field staff. RFU research - November 2010 - Miranda Kauffman,
Sally Pettipher, Mark Saltmarsh
2. The RFU provides a universal provision to young people
beyond the school/college day through our 1,900 clubs based in
communities nationwide. The wide geographical range of our clubs
means that they are accessible to all and provide a true service
to young people living in the area. Clubs act to reinforce the
physical and social attitudes learnt at school by engaging this
sector of the population in meaningful exercise under structured
supervision. We aim to complement the school and college curriculum
by, for example, extending the amount of physical exercise offered
within the school day and developing young citizens through rugby's
core values. The core values of Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment,
Discipline and Sportsmanship have been placed at the centre of
the game as we aim to grow the sport and ensure a quality experience.
The RFU has recognised the value rugby can bring to young people
and has hence developed targeted programmes to retain people between
the ages of 16-24.
3. We have also recently developed the rugby union "All
Schools Plan" that aims to create better citizens and forge
school - club links in order to develop a universal provision
of rugby in every school and community. Recent research demonstrates
a clear correlation between playing rugby and GCSE results, with
the impact being greatest in the most deprived schools. Case studies
indicate that playing rugby is fun, driving attendance and teaches
aggression control, discipline and respect, improving behaviour
on and beyond the pitch.
4. The universal provision of clubs in the community is supported
by the RFU's 250 field staff and well over 40,000 volunteers.
This huge resource is there is be utilised and the RFU could deliver
many more programmes with matched Government funding.
5. The RFU currently delivers universal and targeted services
for young people at no cost to the Government and we have the
capacity to do more. We run a whole of host programmes, many in
partnership, aimed at particular groups including young offenders,
young people in inner city areas, young people with obesity and
those with special needs.
EXAMPLE 1: HITZ
6. HITZ uses the power of rugby union to improve the health,
attitude, behaviour, education and prospects of some of the most
disengaged young people in the heart of inner city London. It
reduces crime and anti-social behaviour and improves the lives
and environment of people across the capital. HITZ is a rugby
union programme, developed in conjunction with the Metropolitan
Police who have since seen a marked decrease in crime rates in
the targeted areas. HITZ started on the ground in six of the toughest
London Boroughs in January 2010. It costs £300,000 and will
reach 7,000 young people aged 11-19 every year.
7. Rugby has an inherent respect and discipline agenda which
fosters personal responsibility and a physicality that requires
aggression control on the pitch. Both help prevent violence off
the pitch. HITZ delivers formal training leading to qualifications,
offers voluntary and paid employment to trained participants,
and directs players through to established rugby clubs in order
to sustain the benefits of regular team sport and non-criminal
activity in the long term.
EXAMPLE 2: PRISON2PITCH
8. Rugby union is an ideal vehicle to engage with those young
people who have been excluded or are on the margins of society,
whether through poverty, lack of education, or through offending.
The RFU, often in collaboration with other partners, reaches hundreds
of disadvantaged young people each year working in prisons and
with Pupil Referral Units.
9. We have had 17 prisoners registered with prison2pitch since
its inception less than 12 months ago. Some of the prisoners have
been released and are now affiliated to clubs, while others are
awaiting release. We are currently looking at a project in West
Yorkshire where offenders do their voluntary work in clubs as
part of their community payback.
10. We are working in several prisons using local or RFU funding
but are currently attempting to get a large grant to deliver a
national programme which will build on the Try4Life pilot programme
of 2009. Try4Life delivered with 12 youth offending projects and
in 12 youth offending prisons. Two prisons have new 15-a-side
teams that now play in local leagues (all home games). One prison
even releases prisoners out to play in their local rugby union
team on Saturday afternoons.
11. We also run smaller projects working with 384 young offenders
and with 750 young people aged 14-16 who have been excluded from
school and currently attend Pupil Referral Unitsthe FairPlay
programme. The eight week non-residential programmes of rugby
and education in groups of 12-20 help with social interaction,
anger management, commitment to activity, attention span and physical
12. These schemes are an addition to the probation service
and give young offenders non criminal associates as well as access
to networks that will support them in employment and further education.
EXAMPLE 3: MEND AND
13. MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition
Do It!) is a social
enterprise dedicated to reducing levels of overweight and obese
young people. They help children and their families become fitter,
healthier and happier by offering free healthy living programmes
in the local community. We plan to roll out several projects in
rugby clubs across the country in the coming year.
How services for young people can meet the Government's priorities
for volunteering, including the role of National Citizen Service
14. Sports volunteers make up a large proportion of the volunteer
workforce in the UK. Our volunteering strategy and outcomes are
extensive and we have currently have a trained volunteer force
of 48,139 adults and 2,423 young people who support field staff
and clubs in developing and delivering coaching and community
engagement programmes. One of our main programmes with young people
is the v Rugby scheme that aims to create new opportunities for
young people aged 16-25 to volunteer in rugby union. Teams of
young volunteers take part in short-term "bite size projects"
that give them the opportunity to get involved at their local
rugby clubs using one of four themes;
Fun - plan, organise and deliver a fun rugby event that will encourage
others to take part in physical exercise eg girls "world
cup" in Yorkshire.
Cash - raise money for a project of your choice to benefit your
rugby club eg fundraising events for local charities in Ponteland,
Tyne and Wear.
Life - use rugby's ethos to run a session to educate young people
about healthy lifestyles eg healthy living training in Canterbury.
Force - make an improvement to your club facilities so that they
can be better used by the local community eg repainting community
facilities and litter picking days in Telford.
15. vRugby aimed to create 3,744 new volunteer
opportunties from 2008-11 for young people aged 16-25 of which
41% were 16-17. Previous research showed that sport ranks as the
top passion of young people. By using a "bite size project"
approach vRugby harnessed the existing passion, energy and enthusiasm
of young people for their sport to deliver projects with tangible
benefits for their local community. vRugby recruits from communities
rather than clubs, gathering a broad social mix.
16. The RFU, in conjunction with the Rugby Football
Foundation, are currently developing contingency plans, post Comprehensive
Spending Review, in order to continue the vRugby scheme. We are
currently unsure whether the programme will continue to receive
funding from v.
17. The National Citizens Service (NCS) and vRugby
are both targeted at a crucial age in the "sports cycle".
The age bracket of 16-24 year olds is well known to be the "post
drop school off" where young people move location or become
disengaged from sport without a structured, accessible environment
like school and college. The rugby club network can help curb
this drop off and ensure that young people are re-engaged whatever
their location. We have rugby Pathfinders, as part of the volunteer
network, that ensure that young people are enveloped back into
the game. We welcome and mentor over 20,000 boys and girls per
year between establishments to ease the transition from school
to college or for school leavers into community clubs.
Which young people access services, what they
want from those services and their role in shaping provision
18. Rugby union is heavily promoted as a sport
for all. Through our clubs and targeted programmes we engage with
young people of all ages, sexes, shapes and sizes. Rugby clubs
welcome anyone from whatever background and our principles are
embedded in the Core Values of the game. The RFU is extremely
conscious of delivering a service that suits the participant's
needs and we have therefore built up a range of alternative formats
and variations to the full contact game to attract a wider pool
of participants; tag, touch and conditioned formats, sevens and
19. We also place a definite emphasis on involving
young people in shaping provision. In season 2009-10 the RFU created
the National Youth Council. Its purpose is to provide a group
forum for listening to youth opinion and incorporating youth rugby
enthusiasts ideas and suggestions into the decision making process.
They are part of the Community Game Board work programme. We are
currently developing the National Youth Council at a regional
The relative roles of the voluntary, community,
statutory and private sectors in providing services for young
20. The RFU represents an organisation that transcends
each of the sectors outlined above. Rugby union is embedded in
the community sector through our clubs which provide local diversity
and flexibility in providing a service to their participants.
We represent the statutory sector as we are the national governing
body of rugby union and therefore have a responsibility to deliver
a quality service. As well as the central funding we receive,
via both exchequer and lottery sources, we also represent the
private sector operating as a commercial business. In summary,
the RFU is a major funder of community provision matching funds
from voluntary and statutory sources through our charity, the
Rugby Football Foundation.
The training and workforce needs of the sector
21. Sport as a sector is particularly dependent
on the workforce behind it. The RFU have 250 field based staff
and 40,000 volunteers to support the delivery of rugby across
the country. The proposed All Schools Plan (summary attached at
the end of this document) will be working with teachers to train
and upskill this sector of the workforce in order to leave these
skills behind. We work extremely hard to ensure that our workforce;
coaches, referees and volunteers are given sufficient training
The impact of public sector spending cuts on funding
and commissioning of services, including how available resources
can best be maximised, and whether payment by results is desirable
22. Sport, like every other sector of society,
must accept the recent spending cuts outlined in the Comprehensive
Spending Review (CSR). We do have some concerns around the effect
the cuts will have on the school sport partnerships and also the
volunteering strategy. However, we also see this impact as a potential
opportunity for the RFU to deliver rugby and associated strengthening
and conditioning programmes through our club structures. We have
the capacity and resources in place. We believe that this is an
opportunity for the education sector to commission services from
the RFU directly in order to maximise resources and use existing
capacity. There is a chance to really link up the education sector
and clubs/RFU staff. Payment by results is essential for accountability
but the results must be realistic and a true reflection of the
How local government structures and statutory
frameworks impact on service provision
23. We recognise that local government structures
and statutory frameworks are currently in a state of transition.
We will be working regionally to ensure that the sport and leisure
sectors are supported and that any economic burdens on our clubs
are managed effectively. We would like local government to recognise
the need to open up school facilities after school hours. This
would provide an excellent provision for sport and rugby clubs
to use after the school/college day maximising existing facilities.
We would like to see Headteachers encouraged to make links with
the clubs in the surrounding area to encourage out of school participation
and create a clear pathway to sport outside the school day. Teachers
should also be made aware of the targeted programmes provided
such as HITZ.
24. We also see possibilities around asset transfer
as local authorities are looking to transfer their assets post
CSR. Rugby clubs, with experience of managing playing fields could
have a large part to play in facility provision at a local level.
This would thereby reduce the asset and management burdens to
local authorities and increase the opportunity for sporting provision
to young people outside the school/college day.
How the value and effectiveness of services should
25. Our services to rugby are assessed both externally
and internally. We are centrally accountable to Sport England
for the exchequer and lottery funding we receive. Numerous reports
are produced to strict timescales to monitor areas where funding
money is being utilised. These reports show varying degrees of
detail dependent on the requirement and the recipient. As a national
governing body we have the responsibility to deliver and every
community provision must be held accountable for the money they
spend and the associated outcomes. Our targeted services have
their own key performance indicators (KPI) based on areas such
as crime prevention statistics, academic attainment and health
|Aim: ||To create better citizens of our teenagers for their own advancement and for the benefit of society.
|Method:||By introducing rugby union into all secondary schools in England as a vehicle for competitive sport and wider curriculum delivery, forging strong links with local rugby clubs for to sustain benefits beyond the school day and encouraging positive action in the community beyond the school gates.
|Rationale:||Recent research proves that, even when controlling for affluence/deprivation, young people in rugby playing schools achieve better exam results and have an improved attendance and discipline record than in non-rugby playing schools. Case studies give us a clear indication that playing rugby makes a positive difference to the attitude and behaviour of teenagers out of school too. Both lead to improved employment prospects and active engagement within the community. Rugby creates better citizens.
|Location:||National with targeting of inner cities and areas of rural deprivation.
|Numbers:||1,600 schools across England, reaching 2 million young people aged 13-18.
|Timing:||A four year plan leading up to the Rugby World Cup to be held in England in 2015.
1. THE RFU has 250 employed field staff and thousands of volunteer
coaches but this is insufficient to support delivery on this scale.
We will expand our workforce by recruiting young people from deprived
backgrounds for whom such a role will provide a career start and
injured servicemen who will benefit therapeutically and provide
role models to young people.
2. The project's aim is to create better citizens. It will
do this through activities that foster positive behaviour in the
community including crime prevention and reporting and community
volunteering in and beyond sport.
3. The project will link rugby clubs to schools to allow participation
beyond school, to provide a safe and supportive "'family"
to young people, many of whom have little parental support at
home, and to reduce "hanging around" creating fear of
crime in the community.
4. The project will provide kit and equipment to every school,
and arrange intra and inter school competitive games. It will
offer teacher training on technical skills, motivation and behaviour
change, online resources and in-school start-up training for an
5. By 2015 we will have reached 75% of the 1,600 schools and
will organise a Rugby World Cup celebration at Twickenham for
every participating school.