Sharing community resources creates great sporting opportunities for young people
Having sufficient facilities to cater for all sporting interests and needs in a school can be a logistical challenge, but youngsters at a Bath school are proving that with a little imagination and some great community links, everything is possible.
St Mark’s School is located in the vibrant community of Larkhall and plays host to a number of community-based sports clubs who wish to use their all-weather, floodlit pitch facilities. However, when it comes to rugby, the school do not have suitable playing facilities on site. A new partnership with local club, Avon Rugby Club, is set to change all of that as Year 7 students at St Mark’s and Year 6 pupils at St Saviour’s Junior School recently discovered.
Last Thursday, Year 7 students from St Mark’s were joined by Year 6 from St Saviour’s Juniors for a touch rugby festival. 70 students in total enjoyed the afternoon’s event, led by St Mark’s Young Leaders from Year 10, who have all received specialised training in running rugby events such as this.
This event followed a successful win for the lower school rugby team on Tuesday against Broadlands in their first home fixture at Avon Rugby Club. Despite a tough first half for St Mark’s, the vigour and intensity of the match increased during the second half to see St Mark’s win 12-10.
“Sporting teams, both school based and locally based have utilised the facilities at St Mark’s well in recent years, but unfortunately they are not suitable for rugby fixtures and this has been disappointing for our school teams,” said Steve Leonard, Head of PE at St Mark’s School.
“Being based on a hill makes for great physical training for our rugby players, but sadly means that until now our fixtures have all had to be away. We are really pleased that this is no longer an issue for our sports men and women and everyone is really excited to have our own ‘home’ facility.”
The school have been working with Ian Smith who represents development rugby in the South West of England and the committee at Avon Rugby Club to formalise the partnership between club and school to provide a permanent home for St Mark’s rugby teams.
“We are delighted at the support that we have received from Avon Rugby Club. The club are keen to develop their youth squads over the coming seasons and so the partnership will hopefully benefit all parties.”
Head of School, Chris Ryan, commented, “It is through working with local organisations and clubs like this that St Mark’s are able to offer students opportunities that they would never get in a larger institution.”
“Partnerships such as this one, provides students with enhanced experiences and gives them a chance to work with professionals and local community members in a real, hands-on setting. We are incredibly grateful to Avon Rugby Club for their support and look forward to the partnership developing even further in the coming years.”
“We are pleased that our success in rugby is not just restricted to the boys. This year we are joined by Rugby Football Union coach and Divisional Talent Development Officer for the RFU, Kevin Moggridge, who will be coach for our girls’ rugby team.”