Bristol Schools - State School Development Programme
Building on the success of the 2018 Programme, Bristol Schools has once again run its development Programme with its 8 partner schools. Recognising the commitment and hard work of the PE teachers at these schools, to have a meaningful rugby programme, Bristol Schools provide an administrative function to support a competitive set of fixtures run over Term 1 & 2. With the decline of the level of competitive fixtures being played, amongst the state schools of Bristol and its surrounding areas, the 8 schools have shown a commitment to provide their pupils with the opportunity to play rugby against likeminded schools.
This year saw the expansion of the Programme to Y10 as well as Y9 teams. The fixtures were given to the schools at the beginning of Term 1, playing two pools of 4 schools each, with results recorded in a league format. The top two teams from each pool were then invited to play each other in one set of fixtures and, likewise, for the bottom four teams of the two pools. With support from GRFU and GSRFU, the Programme was able to use the facilities of Bristol Combination at Lockleaze Sports Centre and the RFU pitch at North Bristol RFC.
The standard of rugby throughout the Programme was good quality, matched by the enthusiasm and commitment of all the players involved. The Core Values of the game were strongly supported by all players and schools, with exemplary behaviour shown throughout the Programme. It is very pleasing to see that, when offered the opportunity, state schools in the city want to engage in our sport and want to play meaningful and competitive fixtures. Bristol Schools, with the support of the GSRFU and the GRFU, has already begun planning for the 2020 Programme, with the strong commitment from 10 schools to work together. Bristol Brunel Academy and Oasis Brislington have been added to the 8 schools following a pilot scheme run at Y8 this year.
The success of this Programme is only possible due to the commitment of the teachers at the partner schools – Steve Bailey, Redland Green School; Tom Luke, St Bede’s Catholic College; Neil Moon and James Redmond, Ashton Park School; Joe Toleman, Bristol Free School; Wayne Underwood, Castle School; James Frost, Bristol Cathedral Choir School; Tom Thie, Oasis Brightstowe; Sam Whitfield and Andrew Hall, St Mary Redcliffe School; Geraint O’Driscoll, Bristol Brunel Academy; James Roberts, Oasis Brislington.
Bristol Schools would also like to thank Keith Gee and Eric Blackman for the support from the County and the Schools County Union. The Programme is also supported by Bristol Bears Rugby and thanks go to Gary Townsend, Junior Academy Manager, Nick Fenton-Wells, Senior Team Manager and Joe Batley and Tiff Eden for visiting the schools. Finally, Bristol Schools would like to thank the Bristol Referees Society for its ongoing support of the Programme.