Programme Delivery in Schools

School of Hard Knocks delivers programmes aimed at pupils between the age of 13 and 16, who have been subject to exclusion in the past, are educationally disengaged or face possible permanent exclusion. The main reason for permanent exclusion is persistent disruptive behaviour, which accounts for a third of all exclusions, but we also work on causes like low confidence, poor self control, difficulties with social cohesion and problems communicating effectively.

Read about the heartwarming real stories of change through our programmes; and donate today to support this work across the UK.

What does the Programme look like?

SOHK for Schools is unique in both its length and depth.  The full programme runs for three years, working with the same staff and children every week. Our coach-mentors are supported by behavioural specialists and build strong bonds with participants through consistent contact every week of the school year. At the end of each year of the programme, participants who meet their behaviour, attendance and attainment goals are rewarded with a trip of a lifetime. This can be training with a national rugby squad, travelling to rural Wales for a teambuilding and skills trip or learning bushcraft in the wilderness.

The programme helps children who are disengaged from school realise their potential and change the way they think and behave. This is a three-year journey in which pupils are introduced to the game of rugby and its values alongside group workshops and personal mentoring.

Who is the Programme for?

Many of the children we work with are struggling for motivation and a sense of engagement with school. Others are in need of increased personal confidence and a sense sense of wellbeing. Others still need to improve their behaviour and attendance. Many are a combination of all three.

How does it work?

Pupils are identified by school staff as the most at risk of exclusion or educational disengagement. They then participate in a rugby and life development programme that is healthy, fun, challenging and enriching. This lasts at least a year and ideally spans three years, to the end of their GCSEs. Clear individual goals are set out in consultation with pupils and their schools in terms of attendance, academic achievement and behaviour. Our coach-mentors, with support from our team of three expert  behavioural specialists, mentor and develop these young people through rugby, every school week, for up to three years.

What will the Programme Deliver?

Pupils will:

  • Realise their own potential and prepare for life beyond school
  • Improve their physical health and wellbeing
  • Improve school attendance and behaviour
  • Improve educational attainment 
  • Grow to understand and exemplify the SOHK values

Why is the Programme needed?

Statistics from the Department for Education show the following:

  • There are on average 31 permanent exclusions per day with a further 1,590 temporary exclusions
  • The number of exclusions of pupils per day is an increasing trend
  • The main reason for permanent exclusion is persistent disruptive behaviour
  • Boys where three times more likely to be permanently excluded
  • More than half of exclusions occur in year 9 or above
  • Pupils on free school meals were around 4 times more likely to be permanently excluded
  • Pupils with Special Educational Needs where 7 times more likely to be permanently excluded

Measuring Success

Hard outcomes from schools and pupils that have participated in the SOHK include:

  • 94% of students on the programme have avoided permanent exclusion
  • Behavioural referrals fell by 62% across all schools
  • Attendance (50%) and punctuality (66%) improved significantly
  • 100% of students sat 5 GCSEs or more with 44% achieving A*-C in Mathematics and English

Soft outcomes based on the opinions of those students that completed a programme:

  • 53% of students felt more positive about their lives
  • 98% of students said they felt they changed during the programme