Press release

Rugby coaches to be drafted in to help build grit in pupils

Nicky Morgan announces funding for rugby coaches to build character and resilience in pupils.

Rugby coaches from premiership clubs will be drafted into schools to instil character and resilience in disaffected children, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced today (31 May 2015) as part of the government’s “core mission to deliver real social justice”.

In the year of England hosting the Rugby World Cup, the government is funding 14 professional clubs to design and deliver programmes to use the sport’s ethos of discipline and respect to build character and resilience in pupils. All 12 Aviva Premiership clubs plus Worcester Warriors and Bristol will work with local pupils through the scheme.

The scheme will reach more than 17,000 pupils in schools across the country, as well as providing an intensive 33-week training course for almost 500 young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The project, which will receive more than £500,000 is one of 14 that will receive funding through the Department for Education’s £3.5 million character grants scheme. The grants are designed to expand initiatives that successfully improve the character of young people.

The character grants scheme is expected to improve the lives of almost 150,000 children in more than 1,100 schools. It will also provide evidence on effective practice and resources that will be shared with all schools across the country.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

In the year of England hosting the Rugby World Cup we are funding the sport’s best coaches to transform the lives of thousands of our most disaffected and disadvantaged children.

This is part of our core mission to deliver real social justice by giving all children, regardless of background, the chance to fulfil their potential and achieve their high aspirations.

The values of rugby are those from which all young people should learn. Rugby teaches how to bounce back from setbacks, to show integrity in victory and defeat, and to respect others, especially your opponents.

The £3.5 million character grants announced today will go towards producing a nation of resilient and confident young people. It will mean our children will be more ready than ever before to lead tomorrow’s Britain.

Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive of Premiership Rugby said:

On and off the pitch, rugby’s core values of respect, teamwork, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship are at the heart of premiership rugby. Our work in the community before, during and after this year’s Rugby World Cup gives England’s professional rugby clubs a fantastic platform to use rugby’s core values to build character.

We are excited that this new Department for Education partnership will expand this promising community-based approach to reach primary and secondary school children.

Other projects receiving funding announced today include the St John Ambulance, which will receive £250,000 to work with 100,000 pupils to build a nation of resilient and confident young first aiders.

The PSHE Association will also receive £137,000 to develop and pilot a PSHE character curriculum to develop positive character traits in pupils. The materials will be distributed nationally via the 9,000 strong network of PSHE teachers, specifically targeted at schools new to character education.

The government’s plan for education includes a £5 million pledge to ensure that more pupils leave school prepared for the challenges of life in modern Britain, including £4 million to reward and spread the character work of school and charities, and £1 million to research the most effective approaches. An additional £5 million has also been awarded to life-changing projects run by former armed services personnel.

King’s Leadership Academy, a free school in Warrington, was awarded £35,000 in recognition of being the national leader in promoting positive character traits in pupils. The school has embedded character in every aspect of school life, while teaching all pupils fencing.

Notes to editors

Full details of the 14 grants announced today:

Premier Rugby Limited £556,494

The Rugby World Cup 2015 takes place in England. Using this as inspiration, Premier Rugby Limited and 14 professional rugby clubs will design and deliver new character-based programmes in primary and secondary schools across the country. Building on the core rugby values of respect, teamwork, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship, the programme will deliver classroom-based and physical activity character building programmes to 17,250 pupils. 480 16- to 18-year-olds NEET will also undergo an intensive 33-week tailored programme including character building activities, qualifications, work experience and employability skills through a complementary £660,000 programme funded by Premier Rugby and its partners. The programme will be evaluated and resources made available to all schools.

St John Ambulance £254,911

St John Ambulance will deliver a new programme to build a nation of young first aiders who are resilient, confident and motivated. The programme will also develop community spirit and the conscientiousness of young people and will help raise aspirations. 600 champions will be trained and 31,500 pupils selected for first aid training, supporting 100,000 pupils to be engaged overall. 100 new cadet clubs will also be set up. St John Ambulance will provide some staff time and promotional resources in kind. The programme will be independently evaluated and findings disseminated to all schools.

The Scout Association £302,299

Scouting by Doing is a pilot project led by the Scout Association in partnership with Demos. The pilot in 6 schools in the south-east and Midlands seeks to tackle the barriers to character education, specifically in deprived areas, by equipping schools to deliver school based scouting activities to children aged 8 to 10. The programme will develop robust evidence on the effectiveness of different approaches and produce a scalable framework and online toolkit that will be freely available to all schools. The resources will also be disseminated to the Scout Association’s 130,000 adult volunteers, who will approach schools and develop character traits in young people.

The University of Birmingham £201,895

With in-kind contributions and evaluation support from the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham, this programme will develop and pilot an innovative suite of teaching materials and methods that builds on existing research about how character education can be taught through established curriculum subjects. The teaching materials will be developed and piloted with subject experts from 28 schools, improving their knowledge and skills and inspiring them to make links between their subject and character education. The materials will then be disseminated to all state schools nationally.

The Challenge Network £315,734

Providing £475,000 in matched funding, the Challenge Network will upscale its flagship HeadStart programme to a further 1,900 16- to 18-year-olds across London and Birmingham. The programme helps develop a range of positive character traits and work readiness. It challenges young people to commit at least 16 volunteering hours in return for skills workshops and a guaranteed interview for a part-time job with major businesses, such as Lloyds and Bloomberg. The programme will be independently evaluated and findings shared with all schools and colleges.

Youth Sport Trust £95,527

My Personal Best (My PB) is a new programme that will develop PE lessons and resources to build in young people the essential character traits that help them succeed. The programme, to be evaluated by Loughborough University, will be run in 25 secondary schools, train 150 teachers and reach 9,000 young people. The resources developed will be made freely available to all schools. Youth Sport Trust will contribute an additional £31,963 to the project.

Floreat Education £124,002

Floreat will develop and pilot a character virtue development programme for reception, year 1 and year 2 in its 2 new free schools, from September. The project will include teacher training and the development of story-based teaching resources, supported by activities to build pupils’ character. Evaluation will be undertaken by a university-based researcher. The project will provide significant staff time and resources in kind, and will provide freely accessible materials and assessment tools for all schools.

PSHE Association £137,000

The PSHE Association will develop and pilot a PSHE character curriculum, from key stages 1 to 4 in 10 schools. The project will be independently evaluated to measure its impact on the development of positive character attributes through the curriculum. The materials developed will be disseminated nationally via the 9,000 strong PSHE network of teachers, and specifically targeted at schools new to character education. The PSHE Association will provide significant staff capacity as an in-kind contribution to the project.

CSN Community Interest Company £79,945

CSN Community Interest Company is working with mental health charities to expand the ‘summit programme’ aimed at building core character traits and resilience for 984 disadvantaged young people across 23 schools. The programme involves a targeted intervention programme, school workshops and intensive residential courses. The consortium partners will contribute an additional £30,000 to the project. The outcomes will be independently validated and the resources developed widely disseminated.

The Prince’s Trust £584,366

The Prince’s Trust XI programme will be expanded to 1,500 disadvantaged students in 150 schools across the country. The programme aims to increase motivation, confidence and resilience to support future success. It introduces timetabled activity in schools linked to wider curriculums covering volunteering, life skills and other character building projects such as extra-curricular sports, and outdoor activities. The programme will be independently evaluated.

City Year UK £334,206

City Year UK will provide 4 schools where more than half of pupils are eligible for the pupil premium with a team of full-time volunteer corps members aged 18 to 25 plus a full-time member of City Year staff. The team promotes a positive whole school culture and ethos by running breakfast clubs, supporting pupils in class, being a role model and a presence for inclusion and good behaviour at break times, eating meals with students, and offering a range of after-school activities, including homework clubs, debate clubs and social action projects. The corps members also provide intensive support to targeted students. City Year aims to improve attendance, behaviour, engagement and attainment through the intervention. Evaluation of the City Year UK programme is funded by Nesta and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.

The King’s School £193,784

The King’s School will work in a consortium with 4 secondary schools in Devon to pilot a character building programme, with a particular focus on disadvantaged children. The programme will focus on 4 key character traits of resilience, leadership, community and curiosity through a range of approaches including mentoring, volunteering and outdoor, enrichment and enterprise activities. The programme will train staff in effective approaches to building character and developing resilience. There will also be a strong focus on raising aspiration, particularly in STEM careers. Student progress will be tracked and rewarded through a bespoke award scheme. The programme aims to partner with local organisations and businesses, such as the Met Office and universities. The project is providing significant management capacity in kind, and will work closely with the Jurassic Coast Teaching Schools Alliance. The programme will be independently evaluated by Exeter University.

The Church of England Education Office £124,820

The Church of England Education Office will pilot ‘what-if learning’, a cross-curricular model developed by an international partnership of educators. It aims to equip teachers with a practical approach to promoting the development of positive virtues and character traits in the classroom, which lead to success in learning and increased engagement in community and voluntary activities. The model will be piloted in up to 20 schools across 4 dioceses. The approach will be independently evaluated and resources will be made available to teachers across the country.

Young Enterprise £162,495

Young Enterprise will support 200 15- to 18-year-olds with special educational needs or disabilities within 20 schools or centres with an intensive programme to develop the essential character traits needed for success in employment and life through practical experiences of work. Young people will work together to plan, set up and run a real company or social enterprise. They will take part in a number of challenging enterprising activities, supported by inspirational local volunteers from the world of work.

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