Hartlepool Sixth Form is celebrating after several of its sport teams qualified for the AoC Sport National Championships 2020 on top of forming a dynamic new partnership with local women’s premiership rugby club.
The sixth form’s sports academies in basketball, netball and the newly-formed Women’s Rugby Academy beat off strong competition to represent Hartlepool Sixth Form and the North East region at the AoC National Championships, which will take place in April 2020. Two of the sixth form’s badminton players, Dan Liddell and Dom Barlow, also qualified.
The AOC Sport National Championship is the most coveted sporting event in the academic calendar, and the sixth form’s sports teams won their places after qualifying through regional tournaments throughout the year.
This year has been ground-breaking for the sixth form, with both the basketball and women’s rugby teams qualifying for the annual sporting event for the first time in the sixth form’s history. This tops off an exciting period for the women’s rugby team, which is one of only ten sixth forms in the country to be a DiSE (Diploma in Sporting Excellence) Academy for women’s rugby, following a dynamic new partnership formed by Hartlepool Sixth Form and premiership rugby club, Darlington Mowden Park (DMP) Sharks.
DiSE is a government-funded scheme designed to directly measure an athletes’ ability to plan, apply and evaluate their development in the appropriate aspects of rugby. The initiative is offered to athletes that have the potential to play at a top level and provides an elite environment to train in while continuing in full-time education.
As a result of the unique partnership, Hartlepool Sixth Form’s students will receive coaching from DMP Sharks’ coaches including Head of Programmes Justin Loveridge and Co-Head Coach Tamara Taylor. The Sports students will also receive strength and conditioning sessions from DMP coaches on a weekly basis.
Ian Hewitt, Hartlepool Sixth Form’s Sports Academies Co-ordinator, said: “This is an exciting time for Hartlepool Sixth Form. It is great to see new teams qualify for the National Championships and for us to continue to represent the region at a national level. It will be an amazing experience for our students and coaches.
“Additionally, our partnership with DMP Sharks continues to demonstrate that we deliver high-level sport performance programmes alongside an excellent education here at Hartlepool Sixth Form. The opportunity for our students to work with Tamara Taylor and Justin Loveridge on a weekly basis will help to take their development as rugby players to the next level.”
Justin Loveridge, DMP Sharks’ Head of Programmes, added: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Hartlepool Sixth Form’s rugby academy to help give talented athletes the opportunity to achieve their potential. I’m sure the partnership will enhance the playing opportunity and standard in the North.”
The AOC Sport National Championships will take place from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 April 2020 at the University of Nottingham’s David Ross Sports Village and will see Hartlepool Sixth Form’s sports teams compete against athletes from colleges across England and Wales.
Sophie Derbyshire, BTEC Sport and Exercise Science Level 3 student at Hartlepool Sixth Form is heading to the Championships. She said: “I am really excited to be competing in the National Championships with the Women’s Rugby Team. The Academy has grown massively since my first year and I think this opportunity will help us improve as players.”
Hartlepool Sixth Form is a Dual Career Accredited Centre by TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) and continues to lead the way in offering a path for students wanting to study and play sport at an elite level. The sixth form recently celebrated excellent A-Level results, including an impressive 100% pass rate in 20 subjects including, Maths, English, History and Computing Science, with a total of 74% of students achieving the top A*- C grades. The student athletes can study A-Levels or vocational subjects and their attendance at the Academy fits around their full-time study programme.