Foundation partners with Sportable and Sage Foundation

Foundation partners with Sportable and Sage Foundation

Thursday 07 March 2024 Written by:

Newcastle Rugby Foundation’s Tackling Insight programme relaunched last week as it enters its second year.

Since its launch in 2023 the initiative has doubled in size and is now benefiting over 1,200 school children, aiming to inspire them to consider careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

Partnering with Sage (official insights partner of Six Nations Rugby) and Sportable, they aim to make STEM subjects more engaging for young people, particularly girls, using rugby and their core values as a tool to inspire and develop learning through innovation, data and insight.

The relaunch event took place at The Walker Activity Dome where students and teachers from Byker Primary School were invited to participate and join in with the sessions. International rugby legends Rory Best and Sarah Hunter, along with current Newcastle Falcons players James Elliott and Michael van Vuuren, attended the event with Newcastle Rugby Foundation staff, Sage, Sportable and Sage Foundation volunteers.

Newcastle Rugby Foundation staff designed and will deliver classroom and practical sessions alongside Sage Foundation volunteers. They will also receive support from Sportable, a global data collection and analytics platform that designed the smart ball technology throughout the delivery. The programme will demonstrate how technology is being used in sports to bring better insights into the game, helping teams make better tactical game-winning decisions.

The initiative will involve a range of fun and interactive activities including passing and relay races using smart ball technology to measure the speed of the pass, and rugby-based games to educate students on how coding is used in a sporting setting.

At the end of the project participating schools will be invited to a tag rugby festival at Kingston Park Stadium. Selected students will attend a Premiership fixture at Kingston Park, showing their learning in action.

Melanie Magee, head of Newcastle Rugby Foundation, said: “We are thrilled to expand our partnership with Sage Foundation for a second year. 

“Children in deprived areas in the North East now have an incredible opportunity to explore real-world applications of STEM skills, including sessions using the Sportable technology and insights into the significance of data for professional rugby players.”

Mr Watson, deputy headteacher at Byker Primary School, said: “I think the Tackling Insights programme is a fantastic initiative which allows for cross-curricular learning to take place whilst allowing children to develop essential life and personal skills.

“Through the amazing partnership between Newcastle Rugby Foundation and Sage Foundation, our pupils have been able to experience and witness this whilst embedding sports with science and technology. I highly recommend for other schools to get involved with this amazing project.”

Cadence Willis, VP of Sage Foundation, said: “The North East is a melting pot of talent, but sadly not every young person believes a career in STEM is achievable for them. 

“Our goal is to address this heads-on with Newcastle Rugby Foundation and Sportable by making STEM learning fun and interactive, and to show the diverse careers available, with a particular focus on providing support to those encountering obstacles to both learning and participating in sports.”