Preston Manor Academy head of PE Kevin McCrann has relished seeing pupils at the school embrace rugby following its introduction to the curriculum.

Teachers at the Wembley school had never previously coached the game, which was unfamiliar to many pupils from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds, with English spoken as a second language.

But support from Saracens Foundation coaches saw members of Preston Manor’s PE department observe Project Rugby sessions as part of the programme delivered in conjunction with Gallagher, title sponsor of Premiership Rugby, and the RFU which is designed to introduce as many people as possible to the benefits of rugby. 

James, who is among the inspirational individuals being celebrated during Community 

And the overwhelmingly positive feedback has seen rugby become firmly established as part of the KS3 curriculum for both boys and girls at Preston Manor. 

The school plans to attend all Project Rugby festivals, send staff on training courses, establish an after-school club and organise friendly matches with other local schools.

McCrann said: “Students who normally aren't exposed to rugby really enjoyed the chance to learn the rules and skills of a new sport. They are excited when rugby appears on their timetable. 

“We have managed to create a year 11 team of 15 players who train after school every Thursday and some students have now started playing for clubs outside of school.”

Preston Manor School is just one inspirational story being celebrated during Community Weekend in Round 14 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby (March 29-31), when all games will be dedicated to the award-winning community programmes run by Premiership Rugby in collaboration with its shareholder Clubs and Club Foundations.

Wayne Morris, Community & CSR Director, Premiership Rugby said: “Project Rugby was developed to increase opportunities to play rugby for those from diverse ethnic and low socio-economic backgrounds and Preston Manor epitomises this. 

“Hats off to the team at Saracens for persevering, and building trust in the face of scepticism. 

“Passing on their knowledge, expertise and passion for the game has resulted in it becoming embedded in the curriculum in a school environment that traditionally would never have played the game. Rugby is a sport for all, many just need the opportunity to try it.”

Since its inception in 2017, over 100,000 people have participated in Project Rugby sessions held at over 200 different locations across England and Simon Waine, Regional Managing Director for London and the South East at title partner Gallagher, said: “We are passionate about Project Rugby and how it opens the door for many diverse groups to experience rugby for the first time.

“It is clear the pupils at Preston Manor have not only benefited from the physical aspects of the game but have also embraced the sense of team playing brings.

“To hear how the programme has been taken from a small initial session through to having secured a place on curriculum is exciting and going forward, it means more young people will be able to experience the power of rugby and the rewards of playing this great sport.”

To find your nearest Project Rugby session visit: