Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - Education officer will help full backs with their fallback plans

The Rugby Football Union - the governing body for the sport in England - has appointed its first fulltime elite education officer, and charged the teacher with making some of the country’s biggest schoolboys do their homework.

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 13 September

Education officer will help full backs with their fallback plans


The Rugby Football Union – the governing body for the sport in England – has appointed its first fulltime elite education officer, and charged the teacher with making some of the country’s biggest schoolboys do their homework.

Keith Gee, a former sixth-form college teacher, will take responsibility for the education of the elite national youth squad when its members are not in school.

Mr Gee will ensure that the 16- and 17-year-olds, who on average weigh between 16 and 17 stone and rise to more than 6ft, keep up with their schoolwork when they are training or on tour.

The appointment comes at a time when, thanks mainly to this summer’s Olympic Games, the national debate is focused on the importance of competitive school sport and getting the balance between academic ambition and sport right.

Mr Gee believes the Olympics have demonstrated that education and sport should go hand in hand. “When [Olympic gold medal rowers] Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins were interviewed after winning their gold, they both said they were going to return to finishing their PhDs,” he says.

“It shows that education is there in sport, and so it should be.” The young rugby stars under Mr Gee’s stewardship are at the pinnacle of their sport for their age, and because of their exceptional talents their school lives are dominated by their sport.

It is because of this that Mr Gee, who recently retired from his teaching role at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College in Bristol, has been handed the job of making sure the players focus on their school books as much as they do on their rugby.

“Rugby used to be a contact sport, but it’s now a collision sport,” Mr Gee says. “There is a very high chance of getting an injury and so it is vitally important that the players have plans that work alongside their rugby, be it university or college, in case their rugby doesn’t work out.”

For more on this story, see tomorrow’s TES magazine.



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