Joe Bearman and Scott Baldwin spent the morning in Newton Primary School in Porthcawl recently as part of the Ospreys Schools Programme.
The duo enjoyed some quality time with Year Five and Six pupils, taking part in a Q&A session where they fielded questions about their life as rugby players from the children, before stepping out into the playground to lead a practical skills session.
The visit was led by Mikey Williams, WRU/Ospreys Participation Officer for the Bridgend District, who said that the Schools Programme was allowing the region to build stronger ties with the local community.
“Without a doubt, since we introduced the Schools Programme at the start of this academic year, our school visits and the interaction between the Ospreys and local schools have grown more meaningful.
“The content of the programme ties in with the national curriculum and deals with important issues and key messages, helping the children to be better citizens of Ospreylia.
“The rugby element of the Programme allows us to address one of the biggest concerns facing the game in Wales, player numbers, and by introducing young children to rugby we can help to sustain the Ospreys over the longer term as the children we engage with are the future players, coaches supporters and administrators.”
The Ospreys Schools Programme was launched in September by Leighton Andrews AM, Minster for Education and Skills, after 12 months in the planning process, with the support of commercial partners RWE npower renewables and SONY UK Technology Centre, along with Neath Port Talbot College, the three unitary authorities within Ospreylia and the WRU.
The first programme of its kind within professional rugby in the UK, Schools Coordinator Keith Collins put together the unique programme which will aid the pupils oracy and numeracy development, with 3,000 Year Five and Six pupils targeted in the first year of operation.
Ospreys player Scott Baldwin, from the Bridgend district himself, said that the players were all behind the Schools Programme.
“It’s really important that we use our privileged positions to benefit the community, and this programme is doing that. It’s not just about turning up and throwing a few rugby balls around, there are four weeks of classroom work that goes into this before they see the players, and there is a tour of the Liberty and the Sony plant in Pencoed to finish it off.
“We really enjoy playing out part in the programme as players, and from what we can see, the children are really enjoying undertaking the programme.”