Rugby coaches from Premiership clubs are to be drafted into schools as part of the government's ongoing drive to instil character and resilience in pupils.
The initiative will involve 14 professional clubs designing and delivering programmes that use the sport's ethos of discipline and respect to improve character education for more than 17,000 pupils in schools across the country.
An intensive 33-week training course will also be provided for almost 500 young people who are not in education, employment or training.
The project, which will receive over £500,000 of funding from the Department for Education, is to feature 12 Aviva Premiership clubs plus Worcester Warriors and Bristol.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan said: "In the year of England hosting the Rugby World Cup we are funding the sport's best coaches to transform the lives of thousands of our most disaffected and disadvantaged children.
"This is part of our core mission to deliver real social justice by giving all children, regardless of background, the chance to fulfil their potential and achieve their high aspirations."
A mixture of classroom-based and physical activities will be used to deliver the programme, building on the core rugby values of respect, teamwork, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.
Funding will also be provided for a range of other initiatives through the £3.5 million character grants scheme. The St John Ambulance will receive £250,000 to work with 100,000 pupils to build a nation of resilient and confident young first aiders.
Meanwhile, £137,0000 is to be provided to the PSHE Association to develop and pilot a Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) character curriculum to instil positive character traits in pupils.
The materials produced by the association will be distributed nationally via the 9,000-strong network of PSHE teachers, specifically targeted at schools new to character education.
Posted by Theo Foulds