An innovative new schools programme launched by the Ospreys just six months ago is on target to reach its goal of bringing the region into direct contact with 3,000 primary school children over the course of the Academic Year.
The Ospreys Schools Programme was formerly launched at the Liberty Stadium by Leighton Andrews AM, Minster for Education and Skills, at an event attended by representatives of the WRU and Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend Councils, the culmination of 12 months preparation by the Ospreys.
The specially designed educational programme was developed by Ospreys Schools Coordinator Keith Collins, a retired teacher with 34 years experience in schools across the region, in conjunction 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.
Supported by RWE npower renewables, a leading renewable energy company in Wales,Sony UK Technology Centre and the WRU, to date 62 primary schools from across Ospreylia have gone through the programme, with 2,585 Year Five and Six pupils already undertaking the specially created workbook.
Andrew Hore, Chief Operations Officer at the Ospreys, said:
“Where as the launch the of the programme last September was very much the end of phase one in terms of the development of the initiative, it’s safe to say that phase two is well underway with the target of 3,000 children going through the programme almost reached with more than three months still remaining in the academic year.
“There has been a huge investment into the Ospreys Schools Programme from all parties involved, as we understand not only the value in building a strong relationship with local schools, but also the value to society in working together to create better citizens.
“When we created this programme in collaboration with our partners, the aim was to leave a lasting community legacy, and that has certainly been the case. It’s not just about improving rugby participation numbers; it’s about improving numeracy and literacy levels in the community, understanding healthy living and how to look after the planet.
“The Ospreys Schools Programme is about providing a real, lasting legacy for the communities of Ospreylia, demonstrating that rugby can also make a positive contribution to the academic achievements of young people.”
The unique programme, a first in UK rugby, 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, while in terms of mathematical development, considerable emphasis is placed on the use of maths 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.
There are four classroom sessions, with each one including a school visit from a WRU/Ospreys Particpation Officer or Community Coach who delivers rugby FUNdamentals sessions, Ospreys players joining them for one of the sessions.
To round off the programme, pupils take part in a specially designed interactive Liberty Stadium tour, going behind the scenes at the home of the Ospreys with the undisputed highlight being a special audio/visual experience in the home changing room that replicates the match day environment.
Andrew Hore added:
“More than half of the participants, 1,630, have already been through the Liberty Stadium tour, bringing them right into the heart of the Ospreys. It gives them an experience to remember, creating special memories that will live with them forever and bring them closer to their region.”