As the Ospreys Schools Programme approaches the end of its first academic year on target to reach 3,000 primary school pupils, one of the closest schools to the Liberty Stadium, Pentre'r Graig in Morr
As the Ospreys Schools Programme approaches the end of its first academic year on target to reach 3,000 primary school pupils, one of the closest schools to the Liberty Stadium, Pentre'r Graig in Morriston, has become the first to send children through the programme for a second time.
Located just a long Dan Biggar drop kick away from the home of the Ospreys, Pentre'r Graig pupils undertook the innovative education programme as part of a trial run 12 months ago, ahead of the formal launch of the scheme at the start of the current season and academic year.
Such was the impact on the participating Year 5 pupils that the school immediately signed up this year's batch to take part in the programme once it was confirmed as an ongoing initiative, making the school the first to have two separate years complete the scheme.
Mrs Lisa Roseblade is Year 5 teacher at Pentre'r Graig and she the programme had been a hit with her pupils.
"After taking part in the trial run last year there was never any doubt that we would be signing up to the Ospreys Schools Programme. The pupils who took part in the scheme have really found it worthwhile and have learned so much about a wide range of topics.
"The programme has certainly made them look at things like sustainability and the environment differently, while it's been fantastic to have Tom Sloane from the WRU coming in each week to teach basic rugby skills. Hopefully we've got a few future Ospreys in our ranks.
"The children obviously enjoyed visiting the Liberty Stadium at the end of the programme, learning in a fun environment and learning more about the history of the Ospreys. It's been a great experience for Year 5 and I know that the younger pupils are keen to take part next year."
The Ospreys Schools Programme was devised in partnership with RWE npower renewables, a leading renewable energy company in Wales, and supported by Sony UK Technology Centre and the WRU.
Officially launched by Leighton Andrews AM, Minster for Education and Skills, last September, the specially designed educational programme has been developed with education departments at the three unitary authorities in the region to ensure it satisfies National Curriculum objectives and assists in the development of key skills.
Issues covered off under the programme include personal welfare and self esteem, the benefits of teamwork and cooperation, collective global environmental responsibility and online safety, as well as promoting a healthy active lifestyle and, of course, rugby. Pupils participate in four classroom based sessions, completing a specially designed workbook, as well as receiving regular rugby sessions delivered by a WRU/Ospreys Participation Officer, before enjoying a tour of the Liberty Stadium and the chance to visit Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed.
Keith Collins, Ospreys Schools Coordinator, has been responsible for the development and delivery of the programme and he said he was delighted by Pentre'r Graig's commitment to the initiative.
"They were the first school to undertake the programme, as part of last year's trial run, so for them to immediately recommit and sign up for this year was a seal of approval for the Ospreys Schools Programme" said Collins.
"Year 5 have just completed the programme, rounded off with a visit to the Liberty, and all the children have thoroughly enjoyed it. We look forward welcoming next year's class into the programme as Pentre'r Graig participate for a third time.
"The aim of the programme is to create a lasting legacy in the community, helping to improve numeracy and literacy, create better understanding of healthy living and environmental issues in our children and to ensure stronger links between the Ospreys and our schools, increasing rugby participating playing wise and support wise. Ultimately, we want to create better Ospreylian citizens."