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Devon Schools' Rugby 2020-21

21 Oct 2020 21:09 | Devon RFU

Devon Schools’ Rugby 2020-21

As schools come towards the end of the first half-term under Covid-19 conditions I am sending an update on where we stand in terms of schools rugby.

As you will be aware, the challenge of the pandemic has led to major upheaval within the RFU at national and local level in both the administration and playing of the game.

For over a year now Devon RFU has effectively assumed the role of the County Schools’ Union.

Mark Goodman the Devon RFU Treasurer is safeguarding Devon Schools’ current finances as referred to below.

Nigel Middleton, Chair of the Devon Junior and Mini committee, oversees age grade rugby in the clubs and is also our GMS guru (see below). As the architect of Devon’s Age Grade Calendar, he is keen to see a real dialogue between schools and clubs.

Many of you will have seen the Return to Rugby Roadmap agreed with government and we remain firmly at stage D of that plan. A summary of the restrictions and opportunities has been produced in the form of a “kitbag” for the education sector, the link to which is: https://www.englandrugby.com/dxdam/2e/2e293a86-4254-4b48-a4cf-37ff08bf5407/KItBag%20Final%20UPDATED2.pdf

Another significant change is that membership of the England Rugby Football Schools’ Union will henceforth be FREE as long as schools renew or register their membership each year via the RFU Game Management System.

Membership brings with it, in normal circumstances, access to a ballot for international tickets and eligibility for entry to national and local competitions but does require an acceptance of all age grade rugby Safeguarding, Rugby Safe and Codes of Practice. To sign up your school, complete the type form below by clicking on register.

England Schools’ membership 2020-21 season

England Rugby Football Schools’ Union has removed the need to pay for membership from the start of the 2020-21 season. Instead, schools can now register their membership below, where they need to complete their contact details, as well as pledging to follow RFU Regulations and guidance. If you have not done so, please register your school using this easy process now. REGISTER HERE

At local level the County Schools’ Unions will still be able to charge fees for competition entries and administrative costs. In Devon I am pleased to say that we hold sufficient ring fenced monies from the former Devon CSU account to make that unnecessary for the current season at the very least.

However, if we are to provide a more satisfactory support and information service, it is essential that we have accurate contact data so I would be grateful if you could confirm your school’s preferred contact email address to me at geoffrfu@gmail.com .

With its reduced field force, the RFU is talking about new ways of working which we all know means the volunteers will do more. I hope that schools and their local clubs can set up links that will provide mutual support and a common sense of purpose.

I hope that the “zoom” meetings we have all become used to will encourage the revival of the network of rugby keen teachers across the county when half an hour on screen replaces what might have been a much longer commitment to a physical gathering. If you would like to have a wider role in your area or county wide, please let me know.

As for the future playing landscape for this season and beyond, we will have to await developments, frustrating as that can be.

The ERFSU is not supporting competitive matches in any format this season. All sorts of ideas are in the melting pot from adapted laws to a much more local cluster approach but ultimately we can only do what is approved by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with which the RFU is in regular contact.

Thank you to all of you who have managed to provide some rugby activity in these challenging times. Keep well and stay safe

Geoff Simpson, Chair, Devon RFU and President, ERFSU.