New Ospreys Schools Programme officially

Leighton Andrews AM, Minster for Education and Skills was at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday afternoon to help launch the Ospreys Schools Programme, an exciting and groundbreaking initiative that will see the region growing ever-closer links with primary schools in the region.

The Minister was joined for the launch by AM’s from across Ospreylia, plus representatives from the WRU and Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend Council’s as the Ospreys unveiled the new programme that has been twelve months in the making.

The Ospreys Schools Programme was devised in partnership with RWE npower renewables, a leading renewable energy company in Wales, and supported by Sony Technology Centre and the WRU will bring 3,000 year five and six pupils in direct contact with the Ospreys over the course of the academic year.

The Minister said:

“I would like to congratulate the Ospreys and all the partners involved in developing this Schools Programme.

“As well as promoting the importance of physical activity and interpersonal and communication skills, this programme also places a very important emphasis on developing literacy and numeracy skills - two of my key priorities for schools in Wales and the focus of our National Literacy Programme, launched in May, and National Numeracy Programme, which will be launched in the coming weeks.

“I am sure that the programme will make a real and tangible difference to all of the schools and communities involved. I wish you all every success.”

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.

Ospreys Schools Coordinator Keith Collins, a retired teacher with 34 years experience in schools across the region, has been particularly instrumental in building the unique programme, which covers a wide range of issues. These 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.

The content of the programme will aid development in pupils of oracy, receptive and expressive language, while in terms of mathematical development, considerable emphasis is placed on the application of the four operations of number to solve real life problems relating to the scoring method within the game of rugby union and to the league in which the Ospreys compete.

Speaking about the programme Andrew Hore, Ospreys Chief Operations Officer, commented:

“It gives us enormous pleasure to be able to launch the new Ospreys Schools Programme. It has been a huge collaborative effort from everyone involved over the last 12 months to get the project to the stage where we are able to take it out to primary schools in Ospreylia, and the target is to reach 3,000 year five and six pupils this academic year.

“The programme will be delivered in collaboration between the Ospreys and the WRU, with Participation Officers from the Union working alongside Ospreys staff to help drive home the key messages. The programme aims to leave a lasting community legacy - helping improve not only rugby participation numbers but also numeracy and literacy, understanding healthy living, and how to look after the planet – and we are incredibly excited about the impact that this programme will have in the communities of Ospreylia.”

RWE npower renewables Managing Director Julia Lynch Williams said:

“We have worked long and hard with the Ospreys to make sure our sponsorship investments are specifically tailored to support Welsh communities now and into the future.

“The Ospreys Schools Programme lies at the heart of our sponsorship, and will engage with over 3,000 children across 60 schools in the region.

“The renewables element of the programme aims to teach children about energy efficiency and renewable energy, what they can do to help the environment now and in the future, and encourages them to have lots of fun!

“We hope the whole programme will provide a real, lasting legacy for Wales’ communities, by helping support better educated, more confident, and healthy young people as the lifeblood of sustainable communities - looking after themselves and the planet!”

Jason Lewis, WRU National Rugby Development Manager, said:

“Rugby is a part of school life in most schools in Wales. We recognise the enormous benefits rugby can have to the social and physical wellbeing of children in Wales. This programme demonstrates that rugby can also make a positive contribution to the academic achievement of young people.

“The Ospreys Schools programme is a great example of a region reaching out to the community to make a difference. The programme is also an example of the partnership work that can be achieved between the regions and the WRU.”

Steve Dalton, Managing Director, Sony UK Technology Centre, said:

“Sony UK Technology Centre are delighted to support the Ospreys Schools Programme. This is a fantastic initiative to involve so many school children across such a wide regional reach.

“This is also a great opportunity for Sony in Wales to be able to open our doors and be able to promote, assist and support the learning of the next generation with life long skills and knowledge that are vital into today’s competitive world. It will enable us a direct link to hear first hand the views of young people as we continue to design and develop media solutions to improve and enhance the learning process.”

Teachers at participating schools will receive a handbook allowing them to deliver four 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, Ospreys players joining them 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. A rugby festival day between cluster schools will then round off the programme.