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Saracens School opening today and great pr on Gov uk web site now updated
AB (IP Logged)
04 September, 2018 08:43
Good to see us being mentioned on Gov.uk website and yet another example of our pioneering work for the community.

Make you really proud to be a Sarries supporter.

[www.gov.uk]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2018 12:04 by AB.

 
Re: Saracens School opening today and great pr on Gov uk web site
derbyshire fan (IP Logged)
04 September, 2018 11:06
I think the new pupils don’t arrive until Friday morning - on the basis that it is a brand new school, and the teachers and other staff need to get everything sorted before the children arrive; but I agree that this is a wonderful initiative (disclosure of interest - my wife is very involved in the creation of the school!)

 
Re: Saracens School opening today and great pr on Gov uk web site
Innings (IP Logged)
04 September, 2018 11:07
It seems unlikely that Maro's part in this suggests that he's going anywhere anytime soon.

But seriously, what an amazing new twist on NW's desire to put back into the community. It makes the local councillors, many of whom wanted no part of Sarries, look ever less in touch with what Sarries had in mind.



Innings

Points win matches: tries win hearts and minds.

 
Re: Saracens School opening today and great pr on Gov uk web site
Wayoutwest (IP Logged)
04 September, 2018 13:54
A fantastic initiative to put back into the community

 
Re: Saracens School opening today and great pr on Gov uk web site
primavesi (IP Logged)
07 September, 2018 15:37
1st day for the students today.

If you were wondering in 2008 where we might be in 10 years time, and someone said 4 premierships, 2 european cups, our own stadium and a school, you would have a nervous giggle and then slowly back away from them.

Incredible the progress the club has made in such a small amount of time..

Now if they could just sort out the website...

 
Re: Saracens School opening today and great pr on Gov uk web site
NickL (IP Logged)
07 September, 2018 18:39
Anybody else hear the item about the school opening on Radio 4 Today this morning just before 9:00? Someone from the Foundation (sorry I didn't catch the name) doing some great PR for the club. Sean Maitland perhaps being a little overwhelmed by being on a serious news programme, but managed to get in a "something special going on and I wanted to be part of it"!

 
Re: Saracens School opening today and great pr on Gov uk web site
AB (IP Logged)
08 September, 2018 11:48
Further updates and great Telegraph article

Hope its not firewalled?

[www.telegraph.co.uk]

 
Re: Saracens School opening today and great pr on Gov uk web site now updated
TonyTaff (IP Logged)
13 September, 2018 17:08
I don't wish to pour cold water, however, the notion that this is the first time that a sports club has opened a Free School is tripe!

Bolton Wanderers did so in 2014. It closed last year.

I wish the Sarries School well. If it works, it will be a great social asset. The challenges are substantial, even if the head's name resembles that of an accomplished drug user winking smiley



£676.97 (*) donated to the Saracens Foundation due to visits to the Sarries frontpage [www.rugbynetwork.net]

Please read and submit articles for publication. (*) As at October 31, 2017.

 
Re: Saracens School opening today and great pr on Gov uk web site
maynas (IP Logged)
15 September, 2018 07:38
Quote:
AB
Further updates and great Telegraph article
Hope its not firewalled?

[www.telegraph.co.uk]

Yes its firewalled

 
Re: Saracens School opening today and great pr on Gov uk web site now updated
TonyTaff (IP Logged)
15 September, 2018 12:05
You can register and read 3 Torygraph Premium articles a week.



£676.97 (*) donated to the Saracens Foundation due to visits to the Sarries frontpage [www.rugbynetwork.net]

Please read and submit articles for publication. (*) As at October 31, 2017.

 
Re: Saracens School opening today and great pr on Gov uk web site now updated
AB (IP Logged)
16 September, 2018 22:15
in full now:

In his 23 years of owning Saracens, Nigel Wray has signed countless superstars, moved stadiums and filled several cabinets with trophies. This week, however, marked the start of his most exciting project yet.

On Thursday morning 156 children walked through the doors of Saracens High School in Colindale, one of the most deprived communities within the borough of Barnet. This is not an academy or another form of rugby pipeline, but an actual bricks and mortar secondary school, the first launched by a professional sports club in the UK.

A further 156 Year 7 pupils will enrol next year and then 180 in 2020 when they move to a new facility, which eventually will host 1130 students. Barnet Council have indicated that they would like Saracens to eventually run several schools taking up to 3,500 children.

“It started having a life of its own and then suddenly you are there and thinking ‘Oh my God, we have to do it now,” Wray told The Daily Telegraph.

“I am a middle class child myself so I don’t mind if it is good middle class kids getting a good education but that’s not the object. The goal is to give children from a deprived neighbourhood a better opportunity founded in part on the values of that we try to live up to here: honesty, humility, hard work, discipline.”

Eddie Mulholland Saracens rugby opening a high school. PIC: Former player Will Fraser, School Principal Matthew Stevens and Saracens owner Nigel Wray.
Saracens have set up their first school in Barnet CREDIT: EDDIE MULHOLLAND
The idea first occurred to Gordon Banks, Saracens’ chief community officer, around the time that then-Prime Minister David Cameron launched his Free Schools initiative. He sent an email to the club hierarchy, the proposal was briefly discussed and then quietly forgotten until Wray came back to him a couple of years later asking two questions: is this needed and is it feasible?

What Banks found was that there was a desperate lack of secondary schools in the borough of Barnet. In Colindale, which is less than a mile and a half away from Saracens’ home of Allianz Park, children were having to take two or three buses to attend schools in Edgware or Hendon.

It is also an area blighted by crime. Last year two members of a gang operating out of Grahame Park Estate, directly opposite the school, were jailed for life for murdering a teenager with a ‘Rambo-style knife’.

“It is an area of high social deprivation,” Banks said. “The Grahame Park Estate has been a really troubled community through the 1980s and 1990s. You don’t walk through the Concourse at night, even now. There’s a fair amount of gang activity. There are a lot of challenges, yet in our experience we have found families who are really aspirational and who really value education, but have nothing on their doorstep in terms of secondary schools.”

Consultations with Barnet Council, the Department of Education and local primary schools all returned a green light. “I spoke to Nigel and the others at length to say ‘guys we all need to be really aware of what we are getting into here. People’s lives and futures are on the line here’,” Banks said.

“We are very aware that there is no greater responsibility than educating children.” So what business does a rugby club have in running a school? For Wray, the core values of honesty, discipline, work rate and humility that Brendan Venter introduced to Saracens in 2009 apply just as much to a school or a business as they do to a rugby club.

Will Fraser, who played in Saracens 2016 double-winning side before retiring the following year, now leads The Saracens Way and explained to the school’s teachers how these principles can be introduced to organisations as varied as a FTSE listed company to Feltham Young Offenders Institution.

Wiil Fraser who is retiring as a Saracens Rugby player at the Allianz Park
Will Fraser, who retired from rugby in 2017, now leads The Saracens Way CREDIT: PAUL GROVER
Over the course of a couple of hours, the teachers were left to create their own behaviours to match the values. Examples included treating everybody with the same respect, from the dinner ladies to the principal - under humility - and being brave enough to ask for help - under honesty.

These are the principles around which the school will run. The next task for Wray was to select the principal. “One of the main things I have learnt in business is that the fish stinks from the head,” Wray said.

“With a school, you have to get the headmaster right. It is the same philosophy as choosing a coach. You can have the best players in the world, but if the coach cannot relate to them then he cannot the best out of them.”

He chose Matthew Stevens, a former sports psychologist for Watford Football Club who has worked in schools in some of the most deprived parts of London. He also possesses next to no interest in rugby.

However, the values that Saracens intended to instill fully resonated with his own experiences in secondary education. “A lot of schools don’t start with the culture or character of the students, but are very focused on the exam results,” Stevens said.

“I understand that pressure. We have got the opportunity because we are starting afresh of being able to focus on the culture. If we get those parts right we will not need to worry about exam results because our wonderful children and our wonderful staff will have high aspirations, will be driven to work hard and will achieve. It is a really unique opportunity.”

Stevens in turn recruited his teachers on the basis of how well they understood the values rather than the length of their CVs. His passion is infectious and his belief in the potential of the project absolute, although he is at pains to say they are not under instructions to unearth the next Maro Itoje.

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“It would be nice if one of them became a professional rugby player but that’s not the goal,” Stevens said. “We want children to aspire but they are not all going to be Premiership rugby players. How do you encourage an aspiration which is an achievable one? They can’t all be dancers, sports professionals or singers. How do they see other routes? We want children from here to be able to compete in every field and believe they can compete with anybody.”

It is easy to be cynical about Saracens’ intentions, particularly at a time in which Nike are attempting to appropriate social activism for the purpose of selling more trainers. Yet as Banks says, “if we wanted to sell more season tickets we would not be going to Grahame Park estate. We would be opening a school in Hampstead.”

There is always a balance between altruistic and commercial intentions, but when so many clubs talk earnestly of engaging with their community it is hard to fault Saracens for taking that to the next level.

“We have been nomadic,” Banks said. “We want to embed true roots in this community and this is one way in which we can try to do that and make a real difference. It does not matter whether they come to watch the club as long as people here think that Saracens are a force for good. We want them to be proud of the club, but that is something that can only be earned.”

 
Re: Saracens School opening today and great pr on Gov uk web site
BarnetSarrie (IP Logged)
16 September, 2018 23:04
It was Gordon Banks on Radio 4 - he told me, though I missed the interview.


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