Haverhill: Schools get cash boost for extra rugby gear

BUDDING rugby players at two Haverhill schools are set to benefit from investment in the sport.

Castle Manor Academy in Haverhill has been selected to join a programme which will enhance rugby development for students there as well as at Place Farm Primary Academy in the town. Both the schools are part of the Castle Partnership Academy Trust.

The three-year scheme called the All Schools Project begins this year with an initial investment of �7,500 towards providing a Rugby Football Union coach to work alongside the PE team to benefit students across both schools. There is also an investment of �2,500 for new equipment including balls, tackle shields and other training aids.

The rugby teams will also have the opportunity to design their own kit through a workshop with the team that designed Canterbury RFC’s kit. The 20 kits will be designed, manufactured and eventually presented to students at half-time during the England versus Italy Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium, London, in March.

Castle Manor PE teacher Graham Ellis, who is an ex-Scottish international rugby player, said: “We already have five or six teams of all ages, for both boys and girls of all abilities.

Mr Ellis, who has been at the school for just over two years, said: “This will be a real boost and means students can receive even more training and develop a deeper passion for the sport.”

He added: “We believe the core values of rugby play an integral part to education and form an essential basis in sport, education and life.”

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Madeleine Vigar, principal of the Castle Partnership Academy Trust, said: “We believe that sport is a powerful motivator for young people.

“Appointing an ex-international rugby player to our PE team was an excellent way of raising the profile of sport within our partnership and is reflected throughout the extremely capable and passionate team.”

The All Schools Project is funded by a �500,000 investment from Comic Relief cash.

Students at the academy already take part in rugby as part of their core PE curriculum and can get additional training through after-school activities, but the project will ensure that even more young people can access the sport.

It is also hoped the scheme will benefit other schools in the area through the work of academy trust staff.