New scheme boosts attendance at St Albans school

PUBLISHED: 20:00 10 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:19 06 May 2010

The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project

STUDENTS at a St Albans secondary school have been improving their attendance thanks to a pilot scheme which teaches them rugby and cheerleading skills. During the 10-week Phoenix Project, run jointly by Herts Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) and Saracens R

STUDENTS at a St Albans secondary school have been improving their attendance thanks to a pilot scheme which teaches them rugby and cheerleading skills.

During the 10-week Phoenix Project, run jointly by Herts Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) and Saracens Rugby Club, 13 out of the selected 17 pupils from Francis Bacon School in Drakes Drive showed improved attendance, with one student's record rocketing from 69 per cent to 96 per cent.

Students received access to professional rugby and cheerleader training sessions led by Saracens coach, James Coles, and Saracens lead-c

heerleader, Amy Elms, aided by 15 fire service staff who volunteered as assistant coaches.

The youngsters chosen to take part in the scheme had attendance figures of around 80 per cent because of various issues including lack of confidence, bullying and difficult home circumstances.

Dave Gould, youth engagement manager, said: "The project uses Fire Service personnel and the Saracens Rugby coaches as positive role models. The rugby training instils rules and boundaries, with the use of controlled aggressive behaviour during the game showing them how to better control their own anger."

Mr Gould said he hoped to build on the project's success by rolling it out to other schools.

The seven girls who chose cheerleading were entered into the Saracens Community Dance Festival and finished joint fourth out of 15 teams.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Herts Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Herts Advertiser