Founded by Lawrence Dallaglio OBE, former England Rugby and Wasps Captain. 'RugbyWorks is an intensive, long-term skills development programme based on the values of rugby, through which we aim to get teenagers outside of mainstream education into sustained education, employment or training.' Having experienced a troubled time in his youth after the death of his sister, Lawrence found rugby which he credits for helping overcome a very turbulent time in his life. Lawrence recognised the power that rugby had in transforming his attitude, behaviour and aspirations and channeled that power into the development of RugbyWorks.
Each year on average 2,720 young people between the ages of 14-16 are excluded from mainstream education in the UK. That's 14 exclusions every school day. Excluded children are the most vulnerable; twice as likely to be in the care of the state, four times more likely to have grown up in poverty, seven times more likely to have a special educational need and ten times more likely to suffer recognised mental health problems.
Most have no hope of getting out of a system they fell in often through no fault of their own. They will go on to cost the state £763m in extra health, criminal justice, welfare and education costs in their lifetime. 63% of the prison population were excluded from school at some stage in their lives.
Is this right? Some say it's about giving them a second chance, but with our young people, it's often their first chance.
At Dallaglio Rugby Works, we get to work right at the heart of the system. We place our coaches in local Alternative Provision, where we work hand in hand with local teaching staff, using the values of rugby to help develop a wide range of essential skills for these permanently excluded teenagers. We provide structure and support, and a pathway to the future.
Why do we do this? Because we know there are a huge range of factors leading to students being excluded from mainstream education. And, for whatever that reason, we don't believe that should signal exclusion from mainstream society too.
RugbyWorks coaches currently work nationally in over 70 Alternative Provision Schools (AP). Each pair of RugbyWorks coaches leads small groups of 8-10 young people, establishing the trust and support that's vital to their mentorship. We commit to a free weekly session, across 30 weeks per year for a full two years –Year's 10 & 11 - building longer-term relationships.
We use rugby as a hook, but the sessions help develop their soft skills, increasing their engagement with the school, developing their communication, discipline and guiding them onto a suitable career path. We also ensure that all RugbyWorks participants are exposed to essential workplace experience – employability taster days, workshops and placements – that lets them aspire to positive, productive futures. These include partnerships with Halfords, Bidvest, McGee, Burberry, Premier Group amongst others.
Our third year of the programme switches to a mentoring one-to-one basis, as we support their difficult, enforced transition out of Alternative Provision and back into the mainstream system. By continuing our relationship, we help at-risk youngsters sustain further education, employment or traineeship for the longer-term.
Our young people's three stage journey focuses on the following areas:
Year 1 - 'Engagement' — minimising the impact of their past
Year 2 - 'Integration' — making better decisions in the present, and
Year 3 - 'Achievement' — planning to ensure a long term successful future
We measure the impact over this three-year period in two distinct ways:
- We 'track behavior' - supporting each and every young person, we track each individually and our short-term outcome matrix helps with this process. These include key areas identified by our corporate partners needed in a workforce, around autonomy, attitude, communication, core thinking skills and reliability. We work with the school teachers and our coaches to asses each and every student.
- We also 'track employability' - inspired on evidence by Dr. Anthony Mann, highlighting a direct link between exposure to employers and 14-17 year olds life prospects. Work experience and work-related talks help increase confidence in career goals. We aim to have each of our young people attend at least four taster days and skills workshops per year to help breakdown those barriers to work.
The results of our assessments are compared, calibrated and used to tailor our coaching appropriately throughout the programme. Each young person is encouraged to develop based on our interactions in a much more targeted way.
We are achieving consistent improvements in all areas of tracked behaviour across the programme. We can report improved behaviour correlates with increased participation in our programme. Our key results for the last academic year include:
- 9% of our young people on the programme achieved Level 2 English and Maths compared to 3% national Alternative Provision, that's 3 times more success.
- 88% of our young people are still in education, employment or training 12 months after leaving school, compared to 50% national Alternative Provision after 6 months
These results are encouraging and the impact we exist for — to remove at-risk young people from the cycle of unemployment and its associated outcomes. If maintained, this sustained education, employment or training has significant benefits for these young people, the next generation and society as a whole.
Now, in the current academic year, we are working with 560 young people in 70 Alternative Provision sites across the country.