April 05, 2024

Lionheart Schools Thrive with Rugby Partnership

The sports pitches at Lionheart schools have been a beacon of energy, tenacity and teamwork of late, with pupils participating in rugby sessions as part of our new community partnership with the premiership sporting institution, Leicester Tigers.

Only possible thanks to funding secured by Lionheart from both Active Together and Leicester Tigers, Hannah Faulds – Lionheart’s dedicated Tigers Rugby Development Officer – has so far coached pupils at Judgemeadow Community College, The Castle Rock School, Martin High School, Riverside Primary School and The Pioneers’ Centre, putting learners through their paces on the pitch.

Since January 2024, as part of PE lessons and extracurricular activity, pupils have received a basic introduction to the sport and improved their understanding of key elements of the game. As confidence has increased, pupils have begun participating in age-appropriate touch and tag rugby matches, ensuring the game is accessible for all while providing a taster for those with ambitions to advance to the full-contact game.

While there is lots more still to come, engagement so far has been incredibly positive. Pupils have been able to strengthen their physical fitness and learn more about the core values of rugby – Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship. Participation has allowed them to apply these values to comparable sports and has amplified their social and emotional maturity, building resilience inside and outside the classroom.

“The project has been both challenging and rewarding, but introducing the sport of rugby to school groups has been great.” explained Tigers Rugby Development Officer, Hannah.

“There has been a perceived attitude that it is an aggressive, rough, ‘old man’s sport!’

“It shows through the sessions I have led, though, that there is so much more to it,” she continued.

“Seeing participants enjoy the activity sessions, smile, laugh, have fun has been a huge reward.

“For me, if I can show that there are various formats to the game and that it is a game for all, then I have gone some way to achieving the objectives we have set out.”

Lionheart Educational Trust's Subject Lead for PE, Rebecca Ardley, added: 

"We are really excited about our partnership with Leicester Tigers, getting more young people playing and enjoying rugby.

“Pupils in both our primary and secondary schools, as well as people from the local communities, will be able to access a range of new playing and leadership opportunities, designed and led by experienced coaches. This partnership, with a successful club like Leicester Tigers, is a wonderful opportunity for our 14 Leicestershire schools."

The ongoing partnership will see Leicester Tigers community coaches work closely with all Lionheart schools, not only with pupils, but also with teaching staff to increase participation levels in rugby. Opportunities will also be created at Lionheart school sites for people in the local communities to engage in activities such as touch rugby, walking rugby and wheelchair rugby.

Working together, the aim is to provide a health and wellbeing provision that everyone can profit from whilst, simultaneously, raising the profile of rugby and highlighting the many transferable skills it can provide to our young people.