Simply put, a club link is an agreement between a school, school sport partnership, college or university and a club to work together.
The fundamental aim of a Club Education Link is to develop the very best level of quality and opportunity for young people in sport both in and out of education.
Ultimately we all want young people to get the very most out of rugby union, supporting the school, college and university part of the “Rugby Journey” underpins the largest catalyst leading to a lifelong involvement in a safe, healthy and fun game whether it is through playing, coaching, officiating or volunteering.
Why make an Educational Link
Introducing young people to the values of rugby union will provide a mindset that will stretch beyond participation in the sport. Much of the behaviour and attitudes that have defined rugby union are highly regarded both within and outside the sport. Regardless of any adverse changes in society, the RFU works hard to protect and promote the game’s fundamental elements for the next generation. These are: Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline, Sportsmanship.
What will you get from an Educational Link
With a quality and effective link your club can benefit in the following ways:
•By setting up a club link you will have fulfilled the community links criteria in the RFU Mini and Youth Seal of Approval programme. By gaining RFU accreditation you can demonstrate the high quality, fun environment that young people and parents can expect from our clubs and educational establishments
•Widening the number of young people participating in rugby union by giving them more opportunities to play the game, out of curriculum hours. Growing your membership numbers and gaining adult players once they have left university or education
•By improving coach / teacher education and development you will have the opportunity to share and develop approaches and expertise that will benefit the club
•Improve your club safety including child protection and risk management.
•Improve succession planning, gaining better developed players and coaches that will stay beyond student leaving age
•Opportunity to grow your volunteer base through involvement of young leaders, students, parents or teachers
•Competition – supported and organised competition within and / or between schools or student teams at your facilities or the school/ college or university facilities.
•Sustaining the clubs resources and funds by sharing or pooling resources. By utilising your partner’s facilities, coaching staff or sharing equipment and resources you make funds available for other initiatives
•Engaging with the wider community and forging local links through the education sector. Publicity and promotion of your club and programmes within the school, college or university
What’s in it for your youth members
With a quality and effective link your young club members will benefit in the following ways:
•Enjoying and regularly participating in club sessions provides new and varied benefits for young people whether they want to get involved
•Getting involved and showing commitment in club activities, it’s not a chore when you have fun whilst working hard. Young people seeing consistency in what they learn in the club and what they learn in education, this can be reinforced across several areas as a young leader or coach, elite performer or as a club officer
•Help youth members to realise their ambitions in rugby union by providing pathways for them to follow. Having a clear vision of what they want to achieve, setting goals means taking some responsibility for their own progress along a performance pathway
•Taking greater initiative for fulfilling their potential and using the values rugby union promotes to become skilful and confident. Continually improving their performance whilst understanding the important contribution others make to this process ie. Coaches, club Committees
•Understanding and valuing the contribution of club life to a healthy, active lifestyle. By balancing their involvement, planning their training and performance commitments, rugby union can provide a great way of feeling good and getting fit
•Feeling a strong sense of belonging in the club community and seeing it as a central part of their life. This can lead to holding positions of responsibility or helping to organise events/leading coaching groups. You will cultivate young members who will have the confidence to try different activities such as taking on volunteering roles and beginning to lead club activities or coaching