All Schools presents a great opportunity for England Rugby to bring the sport to new audiences and revolutionise participation at secondary school level. Looking to promote equality and diversity in sport, at CBRE we are proud to support the programme’s efforts to encourage more girls and children from non-traditional rugby playing backgrounds to engage with the game.
For the 2014-2015 season, of the 130,000 school children that took part in rugby through All Schools, 43,000 are girls, and 60% of participating schools are currently running a mixed or girls-only programme. Across the first three phases of programme delivery, girls accounted on average for 22.25% of those students participating in extra-curricular rugby, and anecdotally England Rugby has seen a strong desire among girl players to transition from tag to full-contact.
Women’s rugby in England is flourishing, following the success of the England women’s rugby team at the World Cup in 2014 and the England Women’s Sevens players becoming professional athletes after signing full-time contracts with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) for the 2015-2016 season. This positive move, combined with the fact that women’s Rugby Sevens will feature at the Rio Olympics 2016, means there is a fantastic opportunity to capitalise on the growing popularity of rugby among school girls.
Through All Schools, CBRE and England Rugby are also promoting diversity in sport by reaching out to school children from mixed cultures and backgrounds who have not previously been exposed to rugby.