Academics call to scrap school rugby tackling and scrums

By Holly Hume

Academics are calling for tackling and scrums to be banned in school rugby after publishing staggering concussion statistics.

Dr Allyson Pollock and Graham Kirkwood’s report, ‘Tackle and scrum should be banned in school rugby,’ has focused attention on the contact sport being taught by compulsion in the UK.

They explained a New Zealand study which found that playing one game of rugby every three weeks was 460 – 530 times more dangerous than a half an hour cycling trip.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Schools have the flexibility to offer a diverse PE curriculum which suits the needs of their students.

“We expect schools to be aware of all of the risks associated with sporting activities and to provide a safe environment for pupils.”

Ben Robinson, 14, from Ireland, died from ‘second impact syndrome’ two days after a match in 2011.

Ben’s father, Peter, has since campaigned for safer laws to govern rugby and recently criticised Piers Morgan for “trivialising” the issue when he interviewed Dr Pollock on Good Morning Britain.

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Piers said banning tackling would “kill the sport” and compared it to banning punching in boxing or tackling in football.

Dr Pollock and Mr Kirkwood wrote: “Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 19) governments have a duty to protect children from risks of injury and to ensure the safety of children, which is why we are calling on CMOs to act now.”

Many rugby pundits disagree with the academics. Former Leicester Tigers player Austin Healey wrote in the Telegraph: “A lot of the injuries we are seeing, particularly concussions, are the result of poor tackle technique and poor decision making.”

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Mr Healey added: “Technique also plays a large part in this which is why the recent calls for no tackling in schools is so dangerous.

“All you would be doing is shifting the risk to kids when they get to 16-17. The injury levels would go up through the roof.”

The Department for Education spokesperson added: “There is expert advice available for schools on how to manage activities safely and reduce the risk of injuries and accidents.

“On top of this, staff should be given the information and training they need to manage risks effectively.”


History fans celebrate the 600th anniversary of Agincourt

By Lily Thake

History fanatics gathered to celebrate the 600th CRISPINanniversary of the battle of Agincourt this Sunday.

The free event took place at Leicester’s Jewry Wall Museum from 11.30pm to 3.30pm on October 25.

It was set-up to commemorate Henry V’s victory in battle over the French in Agincourt on October 25 1415.

Sharon Collins, committee member of ‘Friends of Jewry Wall Museum’ and fellow re-enactor, said: “This event is vital to maintaining and keeping the museum alive. We hope it will encourage more people to visit.”

Guests eagerly queued at the lunch stand for their free samples of a selection of Ploughman’s lunch.

They were also invited to take part in activities for a small charge, such as holding birds of prey and having a go at archery.

The experience included free demonstrations on medieval armor, gruesome surgery and combat techniques.

The museum is run by Leicester City Council and since proposals of cuts, ‘Friends of Jewry Wall Museum’ have been actively promoting it.

Mrs Collins said: “Our aim as a committee is to keep Jewry Wall open and renovated. We hold events three or four times a year roughly.

“I helped with the food today, we had to create authentic recipes for the Ploughman’s in a modern kitchen, which was insightful.”

Several reenactors were dressed in medieval clothing and on location to offer their expertise on specific aspects of history.

Matthew Heaver, a recent graduate of Wolverhampton University and avid history fan, came dressed as a medieval knight.

Mr Heaver said: “The group of reenactors here have taken part in the film Fake Heart, which is a low budget film. I featured in Born of Hope, a fan made Lord of The Rings prequel. We have all had our own share of experiences.”

To close the event, the battle of Agincourt was re-enacted and the brutal hand-to-hand tactics of medieval battle were revealed.

Tom Simon, a local visitor said: “I love history and my son loves birds. There is free food, a nice variety of activities and I think it is a good chance for a decent day out for the whole family.”

DMU Square Mile creates magazine club for secondary school kids in Leicester

By Natasha Stapleton

Volunteer students have teamed up with De Montfort University’s project group to create magazine clubs across two schools in Leicester.

The students will work with secondary school pupils at New College and The Lancaster School once a week for an hour after school.

Volunteer and Third Year English Literature student Lauren Marston, 20, said: “I am really enthusiastic to start this project because I would love to work with children who are equally passionate for journalism and writing”

The volunteers are expected to aid pupils in specific areas such as creative writing and magazine designs, and running some sessions on how to improve their writing skills and learn about layouts.

It is the responsibility for the volunteer students to organise how they magazine club will run, and meet with the pupils to plan what will happen with the school magazine.

Josh Hargreaves, Projects and Outreach Coordinator at Square Mile, said: “We want to make it fun, make it engaging and have a great time doing it.”

They will work with the school for a minimum of 12 weeks, and aim to have a magazine designed and ready for the Square Mile group to print and distribute around the school.

Lauren added: “It will also look great on my CV and create links between De Montfort Students with the local school.

“Volunteering at the Magazine Club will provide me with an opportunity to gain vital experience that is needed when I leave university.”

New College – in Leicester West – serves over 900 students and its pupils are between the ages of 11 and 18.

In 2014, 41% of all pupils attained five GCSEs grade A* to C including English and Maths.

The Lancaster School in Aylestone is a boys school with pupils between 11 and 16.

In 2015, 46% of boys attained five plus A* to C GCSE grades or equivalent including English and Maths.