Network Rail sign up for Ospreys Schools Programme

The Ospreys are set to help improve rail safety knowledge among local schoolchildren after Network Rail became the latest business to team up with the region in support of its education initiative.


The Ospreys Schools Programme, which was publicly launched in September 2012 by the then Assembly Minister for Education & Skills, Leighton Andrews AM, is the first of it’s kind in Welsh sport.


Reaching 3,000 Year 5 and 6 pupils a year in Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea, the programme was created in conjunction with education departments at the three unitary authorities to ensure it satisfied National Curriculum criteria, and is already delivered in partnership with RWE npower renewables, a leading renewable energy company in Wales, and supported by Sony UK Technology Centre, Save Britain Money and the WRU.


Network Rail, which owns and operates the majority of the rail infrastructure in Great Britain, have now added their support to the successful initiative, and their involvement means that a railway safety module will be introduced to the six-week educational programme


According to Network Rail, Swansea, Neath/Port Talbot and Bridgend are currently areas with higher than usual levels of route crime on the railway. Incidents have included trespass, vandalism and train surfing.


Tracey Young, Network Rail Wales Route Community Safety Manager, said:


“We are pleased to be working with Ospreys Rugby on their schools programme. The inclusion of rail safety information in the workbook that the children use is very important to us at Network Rail. Safety is our number one priority, and having Ospreys Rugby help to spread the rail safety message will promote safety on and around the railway among young people.”


The Ospreys Schools Programme covers a wide range of issues, including 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. The content of the programme will aid development in pupils of oracy, receptive and expressive language, and numeracy. Topics covered in the new module cr


Speaking on behalf of the Ospreys, Wayne Hall, Sales Manager, said:


“We are delighted to welcome Network Rail on board the Ospreys Schools Programme and we look forward to working closely with them to help improve rail safety awareness among Ospreylian schoolchildren.


“It’s important to engage with young people in the local area and deliver a credible rail safety message and Network Rail have identified our schools education programme as an appropriate way of doing so. The Ospreys Schools Programme has established itself over the last 18 months as a powerful tool for education, rugby and the development of better citizens, and we are grateful to the support of all our partners for making it such a resounding success. 


“With Network Rail now part of the programme, we are able to provide an enhanced offering that will engage with Year 5 and 6 pupils at many different levels.”


Teachers at participating schools receive a handbook allowing them to deliver four tailored classroom sessions, while the pupils will have their own handbook that will serve as a permanent reminder of their experience. Each session includes a school visit from a WRU/Ospreys Particpation Officer or Community Coach who will deliver rugby FUNdamentals sessions, with Ospreys players joining them in class for one of the sessions. 


That will be followed by a specially designed interactive Liberty Stadium Tour that will see every pupil taken behind the scenes at the home of the Ospreys, the undisputed highlight being a special audio/visual experience in the home changing room that replicates the match day environment. In addition, all participating schools have the opportunity to visit Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed or Save Britain Money in Swansea for similar behind the scenes tours.


A rugby festival day between cluster schools will then round off the programme.