In September 2015, England will host the Rugby World Cup. Uniting the players from 20 nations, will be rugby's core values of respect, teamwork, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship. This inspirational sporting event offers a fantastic platform to take rugby's core values into schools as a way to build character.
With national coverage, 140 community staff reaching 310,000 participants in 2014 and the capacity to deliver before, during and after the World Cup, Premiership Rugby is positioned perfectly to convert this opportunity.
Premiership Rugby's newest community programme, On the Front Foot is funded by Department for Education and aims to bring together the World Cup moment with lessons we have learned from our successful HITZ programme. It uses Rugby's core values of Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship to develop positive character traits such as resilience, grit, tolerance and honesty in young people across the country.
The programme is the perfect way to create an even stronger legacy according to community director Wayne Morris.
"I think it's fundamental to instil these values in youngsters. I think what we see now is young people coming out of schools with good academic qualifications," he explained.
"But what we're starting to understand is that for them to really succeed in life, that they need more than that - they need the character traits to prepare them for further education, work and society as a whole.
"We think that rugby has got some very strong core values that we can take from the game and transfer that learning into the classroom and into practical activity for these young people.
"The profile of the sport has really grown and it's time to use that and use the influence and the core values to help benefit society as a whole."
The 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs, in addition to London Welsh and Bristol Rugby, will help deliver the programme nationwide come September.
From April 2015 - March 2016, On the Front Foot aims to:
· Work in partnership with the world renowned Jubilee Centre for character and virtues at the University of Birmingham to develop a suite of free to access educational resources. These will be hosted on our website in September 2015.
· Deliver a six-week programme for Year 5/6 children, readying them for secondary school. Teaching a core value each week, we use interactive games and tasks during an hour of classroom teaching and an hour of rugby themed activity. The programme culminates in a local tag rugby festival with other participating schools. At least one festival per club will coincide with the Rugby World Cup.
· Deliver a six-week programme for secondary school pupils,during PSHE curriculum time. The programme content will be flexible for Years 9, 10 and 11, dependent on the schools' needs. Six, one hour sessions will tackle each core value and integrate life skills including anger management, healthy relationships, money management and communication.
· Deliver a six week extra curricula programme for Year 9, 10 or 11s, particularly for those with at risk factors or who prefer kinaesthetic teaching. This will be a preventative intervention for becoming NEET.
· Deliver character education to NEETs, as part of their HITZ Study programme support to return to education, training or work.
· Work with behaviour change expert Prof Rosie Meek to monitor impact.
· Host a project wrap-up event to disseminate best practice.