- Show a commitment to the development of rugby within the school through more fixtures, teams, playing and coaching opportunities
- Display an ambition to compete in the WRU Colleges League or equivalent
- Are committed to delivering rugby leadership qualifications as part of the Welsh Baccalaureate
- Employ a member of staff with dedicated responsibility for rugby
- Support the provision of rugby opportunities at its feeder primary schools
- Support the delivery of rugby in the wider community
- Create sustainable structures in the school to support rugby in the long term
Cowbridge Comprehensive is the first school in Wales to be recognised by the WRU in this way, and become a 'WRU School of Rugby', as a result of its hugely innovative approach and vision in developing of rugby within its organisation.
The school has employed WRU development officer, former Wales B international Matt Silva on a full time basis for two years as director of rugby, running physical, tactical and technical programmes; it has shown a commitment to all of the above criteria, and is investing in its gym and facilities so that any player selected as part of the WRU player development systems in the Blues region can follow a strength and conditioning and skills programme at school rather than having to undergo extensive regular travel to another appropriate training centre.
WRU national development manager Jason Lewis said, "Schools fulfil a vital role in introducing young people to rugby and we want to support them in that work. We want schools to provide playing opportunities to as many pupils as possible. We understand that workloads for teachers are increasing so we want to support teachers in innovative ways to deliver rugby. The rugby leadership awards we are developing and piloting in Cowbridge are a great example of this in action.
"Cowbridge Comprehensive is a fantastic example of what can be done within a school structure when there is a willingness to look for solutions to the challenges of marrying academic achievement with a commitment to providing top quality curricular and extra-curricular sports provision. The effects of this initiative will not only benefit the school itself, but the wider community".
Cowbridge Comprehensive head teacher Mrs Debra Thomas said, "We believe that pupils will greatly benefit from being able to develop high level rugby skills whilst continuing to pursue academic excellence under one roof. We are committed to developing further our 14-19 provision and facilities over the next few years and the partnership will help to assist us in this journey."
Ollie Hitchings, a Cowbridge Comprehensive Year 13 pupil, Wales Under 18 international and WRU Blues academy member was part of the panel that presented to the school's board of governors. He said: "This partnership will be of great benefit to the boys coming through the school. I have spent a lot of time travelling to training before and after school, at times missing some of my academic lessons as a result. That will now be a thing of the past so pupils will have a better chance of excelling both academically and in their rugby."
Schools fulfilling the above criteria can still apply for WRU accredited school status. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. Closing date is March 31 2013.