On the day the Wales squad headed to Japan to represent the nation at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the Welsh Rugby Union were in the Cardiff Blues region to launch an initiative to inspire a whole generation of primary school children to learn through rugby, in conjunction with teachers around Wales,
WRU community director Geraint John said, “While Wales are flying the flag for the nation in Japan, Dosbarth Digidol WRU is a hugely exciting initiative which aims to leave a lasting legacy for the future health, well-being and cultural heritage of our nation. We know the positive power rugby can harness and we want to share that with a whole generation of children, whether they go on to play, volunteer or support our game in the future.”
More than 250 pupils at Ysgol Santes Tudful, Merthyr, performed a passionate send-off for the team with a rousing rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau and a heart-felt team-talk from one year six pupil.
The school were responding to a plea from the Wales team, delivered in person by Wales’ last Rugby World Cup captain, Sam Warburton, for creative messages of support from all schools signed up to the project. This could be anything from a song, poem, speech, creative artwork or imaginative video.
The team will engage with some of the schools that send good luck messages and one lucky class will win tickets to watch Wales’ men and women face the Barbarians at Principality Stadium on November 30. All participating schools will receive packs to help show their support for Wales this autumn.
Warburton, who is an ambassador for the Cardiff Blues Community Foundation, said, “Anyone who’s involved in rugby understands the physical, mental, social and cultural benefits rugby can impart to people of all ages. It’s clear that this programme can take those benefits to thousands of new participants and also help them to reach their potential in and out of the classroom.
“It was fantastic to see the pupils perform their messages of support for the Wales team. I vividly remember how much it means to get good luck messages from Wales while you’re far from home during a Rugby World Cup, so I know how much the players will appreciate hearing from our next generation of players, coaches, supporters and volunteers as they bid for success on the world stage.”
More than 250 primary schools around Wales have already signed up to Dosbarth Digidol WRU (WRU Digital Classroom) which is a series of multi-layered ‘rich tasks’ written by primary school teachers – in Welsh first – with the four purposes of the Welsh Government’s new curriculum at front and centre.*
The online learning platform uses inspirational, rugby-based resources to make the six areas of learning* fun and engaging for all pupils. As part of the resource, classes can watch video clips of Wales players enlisting the help of pupils on various tasks including: designing a new rugby shirt, creating a healthy eating plan and managing Principality Stadium for a day.
At Santes Tudful, Year 6 pupils carried out a range of Rugby World Cup themed numeracy tasks including a symmetry task based on the flags participating teams; a Year 5 class used a rugby ball to help fulfill a pupil well-being and communication session and Year 2 pupils worked together away from the classroom to devise rugby-themed games, increasing physical activity in an inclusive format.
Lynne Rose-Jones, Deputy Head at Ysgol Santes Tudful said, “As part of a great team of teachers and educators on this project, we had one focus - to bring Welsh rugby into the classroom. The benefits of rugby exist far beyond the game, whether you play or spectate, and we wanted to provide stimulating, interesting and exciting material for the classroom that demonstrated this. The project focuses on history, tradition, heart and integrity, coupled with the growth of inclusive rugby, on the field and beyond. The project is unique in that it originated in the Welsh language."
She added, “We saw great benefits as soon as we piloted some of the rich tasks last year. Children who thought they were indifferent to Welsh rugby became captivated. Children, mainly boys, who were usually shy and withdrawn during debates in class and during collaborative work, were now offering ideas and becoming leaders. Children felt that there was a purpose to their work. Girls wanted to form a girls’ rugby team at school and teachers who thought they couldn't teach about rugby, were doing so with ease and confidence. We have now embarked on the world cup themed rich tasks, and so far, the children seem to be enjoying the topic and are eager to follow the Welsh team's journey.”
One school, Ysgol Bro Allta in Ystrad Mynach has devoted a member of its teaching staff, Mr Morgan Griffiths, to the delivery of the programme on a full-time basis throughout the school.
Head teacher Mrs Delyth Williams said: "After attending the headteacher conference back in April, I was extremely excited to see the opportunity for rugby to become a game which is inclusive for all. This programme provides opportunities to develop the six areas of learning throughout the school. The programme has been planned carefully to consider the Four Core Principles of Learning and as a school we believe that we will benefit from the decision of giving Mr Griffiths the opportunity to access all areas of the curriculum and to provide memorable experiences to our pupils."
Bethan Davies, Welsh Language Charter Officer for the Central South Education Consortium added,
“This Welsh Rugby Union’s resource realises Central South Consortium’s vision of empowering schools to improve outcomes for all learners. As we work towards a million Welsh speakers by 2050 this invaluable resource, that brings rugby into the classroom, will lead to pride and identity in our pupils and therefore ensure a prosperous future for our language.”
In order to participate in the competition to win tickets for the Barbarians double-header, good luck messages should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com. Terms and conditions for the competition can be found on the Dosbarth Digidol WRU online platform.
All schools and supporters generally are encouraged to share their good luck messages to the team via social media using the hashtag #PobLwcCymru and @WelshRugbyUnion
Primary schools can still sign up to be part of Dosbarth Digidol WRU – go to signup.wrudigitalclassroom.co.uk
* Four purposes and six areas of learning
The proposed new Curriculum for Wales 2022 is designed to help all learners become
- ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives
- enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
- ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
- healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.
Each purpose is more than a headline; it is also described in terms of key characteristics. In their entirety they should underpin all teaching and learning in Wales.
Six areas of learning and experience
Curriculum for Wales 2022 organises learning around six areas of learning and experience:
- Expressive arts
- Health and well-being
- Languages, literacy and communication
- mathematics and numeracy
- Science and technology