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Educational rugby programme has positive knock-on effects for city school children

Rugby is having a positive knock-on effect on children in Coventry after primary schools across the city took part in a day of tag rugby festivals.

Around 200 pupils from 13 schools got stuck in and competed in two festivals of tag rugby at Coventry Sport Foundation’s Centre AT7 in Bell Green Road.

The event was the final milestone for pupils who were finishing both Premiership Rugby’s On The Front Foot and Something to Chew On programmes.

Former England Winger and Wasps Ambassador, Paul Sackey, led sessions at the tag rugby festival and was on hand to provide expert advice to players.

As part of Wasps’ community development agenda, the programmes were delivered by Engage! Coventry for Wasps Premiership Rugby’s BreakThru campaign that aims to develop sustainable health, education and social change outcomes through rugby.

Five schools took part in the newly established On The Front Foot programme, which is designed to teach the core values of rugby such as teamwork, respect, discipline, sportsmanship and enjoyment.

Whereas eight schools participated in Something To Chew On, a programme funded by Public Health England which uses Premiership Rugby’s 12 clubs to tackle obesity by educating seven and eight year old children about healthy eating.

The project aims to inspire them to be more active and eat healthily through tag rugby and classroom-based exercises, and so far thirteen schools have taken part over the academic year - reaching over 750 schoolchildren throughout the six-week long programme.

To reward pupils for taking part, one of the participating schools – Courthouse Green Primary, on Sewall Highway – has been chosen at random to represent Wasps at the Aviva Premiership Finals Day on Saturday, May 28.

Tom Clift, programme manager of Engage!, said:

It was great for all the schoolchildren to be able to come together and put the skills they’ve learnt over the duration of both programmes to the test at the festival.

This is the fourth festival of rugby we have organised in the city and each time participation and popularity has grown – the schools have also been fantastic in their support..

Having Paul Sackey attend the tournament also helped the children to engage further with the game and learn the rules.

Combining his support and the core values of rugby taught in classroom sessions, we hope children utilise these skills which will help them be better equipped to handle situations in later life.

Engage! is a programme which uses the core values of rugby to provide social and educational benefits as a way of developing healthy, well-rounded, confident young people.

The programme also aims to work with partners to deliver rugby coaching to every child in the city over the coming years, as part of a new initiative which is working to establish Coventry as a leading City of Rugby.

Verity Brown, Wasps community development manager said:

Supporting and developing the confidence, health and well-being of schoolchildren through rugby is at the heart of Wasps’ community objectives.

We are therefore delighted that both programmes have again been a success across schools in Coventry, demonstrating the value of the game and its potential in creating healthy, active, skilled young people.

Schools taking part in the Something to Chew On programme were St Bartholomew's Church of England Primary, John Shelton Primary School, Henley Green Primary, Aldermans Green Community Primary, Edgewick Community Primary School, Stoke Heath Primary School, Moathouse Primary School and Little Heath Primary School.

On The Front Foot programme participants were; Manor Park Primary School, Pearl Hyde Community Primary, Whittle Academy, St Osburg's Catholic Primary School and Cannon Park Primary School.