Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, attended a practice session played by Year 8 students – most of them brand new to rugby this season - at Barnwell School in Stevenage, which is one of 100 establishments around England participating in the RFU’s flagship All Schools programme which is aiming to get one million school students actively involved in sport.
Taking the opportunity of a fine winter’s day to run, catch and pass with a rugby ball himself, the Stevenage MP found out first-hand the positive effect rugby is having on students at Barnwell, in an area traditionally associated with playing and watching football.
Stephen commented, “Rugby is well known for its values of respect and teamwork, and talking to the staff at Barnwell they have noticed the change in behaviour in students taking the game up. My primary focus in Parliament is education and giving kids a chance in life. Rugby is great for teamwork and fun and that also makes it a great preparation for the workplace. This RFU programme is giving more youngsters in state secondary schools the opportunity to try rugby, to see if it’s the sport for them."
Barnwell School will receive resource and funding over three years, including kit and equipment, as well as hands-on coaching support. All Schools has been launched by the RFU to create a step-change in the number of secondary schools playing rugby union. It forms one of the RFU’s seven legacy strands of theWorld Cup 2015 to deliver the greatest participation legacy for the game.