West Norfolk schools not pulling back from contact rugby

Former King Edward VII student Hannah Hodges received the Prestigious Gold Award during a audience with the Queen at Sandringham. Hannah Hodges with medal.Craig Morrison ( Head Teacher ) ANL-160124-140539009

Former King Edward VII student Hannah Hodges received the Prestigious Gold Award during a audience with the Queen at Sandringham. Hannah Hodges with medal.Craig Morrison ( Head Teacher ) ANL-160124-140539009

KES and KLA principal Craig

Morrison

Chief medical officers and children’s commissioners in the UK have written a open letter calling for touch and non-contact rugby to be played in schools until the age of 18 due to injury fears.

But schools in West Norfolk are not looking at pulling back from tackling as training is given.

Rugby is played at King Edward VII and King’s Lynn Academy to a high level.

Principal Craig Morrison said: “As long as lots of training is given to staff and students, which we have in place, it would be a shame to get rid of tackling completely.

“At KES we do very well in national finals and we want to compete at the highest levels. Some of our students will go onto perform well in major teams.

“And 18 seems a very high age to begin full rugby.”

Mr Morrison said pupils are taught tackling safely in a small groups.

He added: “Rugby gives a fantastic sense of discipline and team work.”

Rugby is also played at St Clements High School.

Headteacher Nigel Williams said: “We teach rugby depending on the experience of the children. I think we would have to look at any advice very carefully.”

Fakenham Academy are currently the Year 11 county champions.

Principal Matthew Parr-Burnham said that tackling and scrums are introduced to pupils in a calm and measured way. Pupils also have the option of not tackling.

Mr Parr-Burnham said: “Rugby is a fantastic game and is built on team spirit and discipline. It would be a massive shame in my view if schools stopped playing rugby.

“I am not a rugby specialist but those I have spoken to say tackling is an essential part of the game.

“When I played in the 1970s people tackled around the legs to stop the person running. But now if you watch rugby now, they tackle at the top half of the body. Players are much stronger and athletic then they used to be.”