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Twentieth National Prep Schools’ Rugby Coaching Conference

Twentieth Annual Prep Schools Rugby Coaching Conference
20% IAPS

Rugby in the prep sector is facing unprecedented pressure, with safety concerns causing some parents to be reluctant for their children to participate in the game. This causes inevitable challenges for the games programme, where historic compulsion to participate is weakening, and the need to engage pupils to want to play is greater. 

This long running Conference is the country’s leading meeting of teachers in charge of prep school Rugby. It is run is collaboration with the RFU, and will focus on what schools can do, on and off the field, to ensure that their Rugby provision is fit for purpose in the 21st century. 

This is achieved through ensuring that RFU recommendations are followed closely, and by ensuring that players are equipped with safe and contemporary skills. It is also vital that the game is presented in an engaging way to stimulate young players to enjoy their Rugby experience, and to want to play. The Conference content will assist teachers in charge of the game in prep schools to be confident that they are achieving all of these things. 

In addition to the conference programme, RFU Kids First Manager, Adam Cottingham, will be present to answer any questions and offer advice to schools on any issues relating to compliance

This Conference is approved RFU CPD for members of England Rugby Coaches’ Association.


Conference assembles, refreshments

What’s the Future for Prep School Rugby? 

Neil Rollings

This session will focus on the current state of the game in the prep sector, the challenges that it faces, and look at the ways in which schools can modernise their programmes to continue to win engagement from parents and pupils.


Making the Prep School Game as Safe as Possible 

Rachel Faull-Brown, RFU

This RFU presentation will clearly spell out the steps that prep schools need to take to be fully compliant with all current safety recommendations and requirements. These change regularly, and it is vital that schools are up to date. Content includes approved requirements for coach and referee training, touchline medical provision, staff qualifications and all welfare concerns. Schools can be confident that if they are complying with all dimensions of this list, their insurers will be satisfied that they are taking all reasonable steps to make the game safe. 

This session will also offer an opportunity to question RFU staff on issues relating to prep schools, understand future England Rugby plans and get answers on compliance concerns.

Refreshment break

Creating a Coaching Culture in your School

John Fletcher

Research identifies that the quality and style of coaching is the most significant factor which determines whether pupils engage with the game, and whether parents want their children to be involved. This presentation will consider how schools can create a modern coaching programme which might stimulate all pupils to enjoy the game, whilst simultaneously developing skill levels and achieving team performance. 


Making Tackling Safe and Fun practical 

Haydn Thomas, Exeter Chiefs 

This will outline the processes and expectations in the event of an HSE investigation into a serious incident. It will outline expectations in terms of record-keeping, evidence of competence and risk assessments, as well as the factors which inform the decision whether or not to prosecute.

Afternoon Practical Demonstrations

Choice of practical sessions (delegates choose one of the following)


Preparing players for the skill set of the future 

Haydn Thomas, Exeter Chiefs 

This technical session will illustrate the key skills demanded by New Rules of Play, and show how these are developed in young players by the Exeter Chiefs Academy. 


Developing Players in a Prep School Environment

John Fletcher 

This session will demonstrate how prep school players can be developed within an engaging environment, within a modern player-centred philosophy 

Conference disperses



1 place £189 2 places £315 4 places £499

Conference runs 10.00am – 3.30pm. Price includes lunch, refreshments and notes. Excludes VAT.


Haydn Thomas, Exeter Chiefs
Haydn Thomas

Haydn works within the Exeter Chiefs coaching team, leading the senior Academy. He is involved in developing promising young players, but also in coaching the Premiership team. He played over 200 games for the Chiefs, in addition to spells at Gloucester and Bristol.

Neil Rollings
Neil Rollings

Neil Rollings was Director of Sport in four HMC schools, over a 21 year career. He was an ISI Inspector and he now works with schools to develop and audit modern sports programmes and with Heads to appoint Directors of Sport. He is a regular conference speaker, influential blogger on school sport issues, and Chairman of PADSIS.

Rachel Faull-Brown

Rachel is the RFU Player Welfare Manager. She is part of the team which researches initiatives into player safety, and establishes RFU recommendations and compliance requirements.

John Fletcher
John Fletcher

John Fletcher was England Under 18 coach for ten years. He developed a player centred pathway that led to competitive success in the Under 20 World Cup, and produced a regular stream of players for the full England team. He was previously Head Coach at Newcastle Falcons in the Premiership, and before that Academy Manager.