Wed 08 Aug 2018 15:06

Hertswood Academy Signs Up for RFU All Schools and School of Hard Knocks Programmes


We are delighted to inform the membership that, following a lengthy courtship, we have managed to cement a strong relationship with Hertswood Academy in Borehamwood. This has culminated in two very productive initiatives designed to benefit Tabard’s long term recruitment programme through effective schools’ liaison.


Firstly the RFU, after another long courtship, has committed to a six year All Schools programme of rugby in the school. Working closely with Tabard, the RFU will deliver a boys’ and girls’ rugby curriculum whilst also establishing after-school clubs for both. The key objective of this exercise is to ensure an automatic transition of players from school to club and to establish Tabard RFC as the school’s rugby club of choice. The programme will run from September to December in each school year and will be funded entirely by the RFU. Tabard and the RFU have already agreed dates in September and October for U12, U13, U14 & U15 boys’ festivals to be held at Cobden Hill, engaging other schools as well as Hertswood Academy.


Secondly, Hertswood Academy has embraced the School of Hard Knocks programme (SOHK) which will dovetail nicely with the RFU’s All Schools initiative. SOHK is a social inclusion charity and will work jointly with Tabard to deliver this unique opportunity to the school. The focus of SOHK is to support Hertswood Academy children who are at risk of exclusion or significantly under-performing in their academic achievements.


The programme takes twenty five “at risk” students and forms them into a rugby team. The programme includes at least one hour of rugby per week, 12 weeks of group mentoring sessions and weekly one-to-one mentoring sessions covering 38 weeks of the academic year. Key themes are related to a student’s identity, why they behave in the way they do and what their goals are – “Who Am I?”, “Why Am I?” and “Where am I Going?”.


The programme is supported by weekly feedback and direct input from the school staff related to their attendance, behaviour and any associated issues they may be facing in their lives. As a result, staff can help students change their behaviour both through rugby (e.g. emotional regulation) and also through direct mentoring. In order to reinforce positive behaviour the programme features rewards such as trips, games against other school teams and kit.


In the third year of the programme SOHK will provide qualified staff to support pupils with onward career progression, college applications and CV creation which aimed at supplementing any in-school careers advice.


It is not a short term initiative and will ideally last for three years starting in school year 9. The ultimate aim is for the programme to become part of the school curriculum.


I hope you will agree that the above activities constitute an exciting and innovative approach to promoting rugby in local schools and hopefully to the benefit of Tabard Rugby Club in the long term.


Ross Hopcroft

Tabard RFC, President

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