From The Vaults

08 October 2021
Q&A with Derek Peaple, Sporting Heritage's Education Lead

The World Rugby Museum has recently launched an extended range of School of Ruck online learning resources as part of a new education partnership with Sporting Heritage, so today we're sharing a Q&A with their Education Lead, Derek Peaple.

As Education Lead, I'm now developing a clear strategy for the sector. This involves developing online resources, including of course those produced in partnership with the World Rugby Museum, building partner and professional development networks and offering advice and guidance to schools via webinars. The overall aim of the education strategy is very simple: to excite, engage and inspire learning across all ages and settings - and where possible link this to new and increased participation by young people in the identified sport or physical activity.

What is Sporting Heritage?

That segues nicely! Sporting Heritage is a not-for-profit community interest company working specifically to support the collection, preservation, access, and research of sporting heritage in the UK and beyond. It combines advocacy and support and advice with a year round programme of webinars and events focused on this central aim, additionally raising funds for specific projects - many run in conjunction with sports museums, clubs and other heritage and community sector partners.

In relation to the education strand of Sporting Heritage's work, the aim is to establish our offer as the specialist sector lead through the sustained delivery of world-class programmes that excite, engage and inspire learners of all ages through enjoyment and fun. It's certainly a joy to be part of!

How have Sporting Heritage been working with the World Rugby Museum for the upcoming Rugby World Cup?

We've been working together to develop a new suite of learning resources which focus on the history of the women's game. The innovative online materials, which include videos and an audio-visual history narrated by world authority Dr Lydia Furse, are all accompanied by a teacher's guide to support flexible and thematic use by schools and are also designed to engage young people across all key stages with RFU Values. They additionally represent a fantastic way to get young people to begin thinking about the excitement associated with the build up Rugby World Cup 2021 (playing in 2022). One of the resources uses the story of two of my former students at Park House! Friends Cara Brincat and Carys Cox both started playing Rugby together in Year 9 and their shared journey through England U20 honours to professional contracts in the Premiership with Worcester Warriors Women. An inspiration to other young women wanting to take up the game!

Moving forward, we will now look to further extend this partnership as part of a shared education strategy designed to inspire more young people to develop a love of the game, and understand the wider application of rugby values to their learning. As a first step, we're looking forward to presenting this shared vision together at Sporting Heritage's Annual Online conference on 21st October 2021.

What is your personal link/association with rugby?

Well, I'm half Welsh (!) so all my childhood holidays were based around Swansea. I vividly remember the then iconic Barbarians Easter Tour to South Wales during the School Holidays in April - and the excitement of being in the stands at St. Helen's on an Easter Monday watching the legendary players of the '70s in a festival atmosphere. From a related perspective, one my earliest sporting memories is of 'that try' by the Barbicans against the All Blacks in 1973. I actually had the privilege of meeting the 'magnificent seven' involved in it at an event in Cardiff a couple of years ago. Talk about being awe-struck, even in my fifties! From that moment in 1973 on, I was smitten! Quite simply, I love everything about the game and the positive influence it can have on young - and older (!) people- nothing like it, in my opinion.

What else are Sporting Heritage up to?

Education in the widest sense is obviously my focus, but its only one strand of what Sporting Heritage does.

As mentioned, we work on an on-going basis with museums, national governing bodies of sports, clubs and a wonderful range of community groups to maximise the impact of their collections and the positive reach of sporting heritage. For example, at the moment there's some really exciting work around the role that sporting memories can play in relation to dementia - and also pilot work around neuro-diverse museums. I've also referenced the Annual Conference, once again online by necessity this year, from 20-21 October. That's a great opportunity to share ideas and practice from across the sector, and build new networks. There's still an opportunity to register.

And perhaps most importantly, there's the 'flagship' National Sporting Heritage Day on 30th September each year. This offers the fantastic opportunity for everyone involved in sport and heritage from teams, community sports organisations, museums, schools, and national governing bodies from all sports to come together to celebrate their own sporting heritage at special events.

For this year's event, I wrote a guide for schools to suggest ways that they can creatively get involved - from dressing up as your sporting hero for the day to celebrating your own school sporting heritage or working with family and friends on inter-generational stories around their earliest memories of sport and the traditional games that they enjoyed in their playgrounds. Each year has a different theme so please join us to celebrate your sporting heritage, too!