ENGLAND and Bath rugby player Dave Attwood swapped the training pitch for the classroom yesterday as he visited pupils at Haydon Wick Primary School.
The rugby star helped children with their Stickability Literacy programme, which is run by the Bath Rugby Foundation and has reached more than 2,400 children across Swindon, Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset.
The programme looks to combine classroom-based literacy sessions with active tag rugby sport sessions, and reinforce five core learning skills ranging from teamwork and collaboration to problem solving and perseverance.
“I come from a background in teaching – my parents have 70 years between them so doing this was something I was interested in,” said Attwood, who has been with Bath Rugby since 2011.
“We want the children to see that it isn’t about being the biggest, the strongest, the best – it’s about how you approach the task.”
“If we can reinforce this message early on, we set these young people up for success in the future.”
“You can see their confidence growing as they progress through the programme.”
“The programme works very well and it’s great to see because it makes such a big difference.”
The day consisted of Attwood facing fierce questions ranging from “why did England not win the World Cup?” to “have you ever bumped your head on the roof because you’re so tall?”.
He then joined in classroom workshops where children took part in a variety of activities, learning about the differences between words and watching a video clip of Bath Rugby.
Attwood then held a tag rugby session for the youngsters at the school located on The Brow.
The programme is designed for youngsters aged nine to 10 and funded by The Consortium and its parent company Connect Group PLC, whose head office is in Swindon. Each school involved receives two hours of provision each week for six weeks, and children receive stickers and are encouraged to stick at something when encountering a problem.
Last year the programme was recognised by the Department for Education, which awarded the Foundation with a Character Award.
School principal Aine Gale said: “It’s about trying to get them to understand they can grow their intelligence if they put the hard work in. I think what it’s really trying to get them to do is stick to things when they get tough.
“Absolutely this can only be a good thing, a positive thing that will academically grow them.”