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Wasps Rugby programme celebrates record participation

A programme that develops schoolchildren’s numeracy skills through rugby is celebrating record participation.

Over three years, nearly 3,000 children across 60 primary schools have taken part in the Aviva Tackling Numbers programme.

The programme was delivered in schools for Wasps by Engage! Coventry and is part of Premiership Rugby’s BreakThru campaign – which aims to develop sustainable health, education and social change outcomes through rugby.

During the six week programme, children’s understanding of numerical skills increased as classroom sessions and practical number-based tag rugby games were combined in an effort to inspire children to be more active both physically and in the classroom.

The primary schools rounded off the programme each year with a tag rugby festival at the Coventry Sport Foundation’s Centre AT7, hosted by former England international and Wasps player Paul Sackey.

Tom Clift is the Programme Manager of Engage!, a city-wide initiative which uses the core values of rugby to provide social and educational benefits as a way of developing healthy, well-rounded, confident young people. He said:

Engage! is aiming to work with partners to deliver rugby coaching to every child in Coventry over the coming years, so to see these sorts of numbers participating is brilliant news.

To have former England International and Wasps player Paul Sackey support the tag festivals through coaching, refereeing and a question and answer session, has also been inspirational for the children taking part throughout the programme.

More schools are becoming increasingly aware of the value that rugby can bring to their pupils, and that’s why Engage! has introduced its new Values Programme to carry on the good work that has been delivered by the Aviva Tackling Numbers Programme.

The new Engage! values programme will cover rugby’s five core values of teamwork, respect, integrity, enjoyment and discipline – all of which have multiple benefits both on and off the pitch since they can apply to real life situations as well.

The aim now is to promote the core values to children and through the sport, they will remember these experiences to go on and become involved in the game as they grow older, whether that’s as a player, official, volunteer or spectator.

As part of the programme, Moseley Primary School pupils will also be heading to Twickenham for the Aviva Premiership Finals on 27 May.

Ian Isham, Wasps community development manager, believes initiatives such as Aviva Tackling Numbers are key to the future of the sport. He said:

Wasps have engaged with over 50,000 children and adults over the last two years thanks to community programmes such as Aviva Tackling Numbers.

Participation in the sport is on the rise, and having grassroots programmes in place will ensure that interest in rugby develops across different generations.

For more information about Engage!, follow them on Twitter via @EngageCoventry, and to find out more about the Aviva Tackling Numbers programme, search #AvivaTacklingNumbers.