Rugby star Alasdair Dickinson joined Europe's largest credit card provider MBNA and Premiershipn Rugby to begin roll out of the project, which used the power of rugby to promote the understanding and learning of numeracy among seven to nine year olds. Today Alasdair Dickinson headed to Longney Primary School in Gloucester to help teachers deliver a maths lesson with a difference.
Alisdair, said:' Rugby is a fantastic way of getting young people engaged with maths and numeracy. It's great fun and a brilliant way of tying the classroom to the sports pitch. Maths and basic financial literacy are so important and Tackling Numbers helps bring them to life. I just wish my maths classes had taken place on the rugby pitch when I was at school.
Today's event marks the beginning of the Tackling Numbers campaign, delivered by Chester based MBNA, Premiership Rugby and all Premiership Rugby's 12 clubs. It is anticipated to reach more than 800 primary schools in England over the next three years. Launching the scheme, Alisdair not only demonstrated his teaching skills but he was able to offer some valuable rugby playing tips to the youngsters.
Ian O'Doherty, Europe Card executive for Bank of America Europe Card Services, which operates the MBNA brand, said: " We are delighted that Alisdair is supporting our launch of Tackling Numbers.
"We must equip young people with the knowledge and tools to help them manage their money in the future - and how better to do that than to engage them in the mathematics in a practical and enjoyable way, with some of the stars of English rugby. We hope this programme provides the foundation for good numeracy skills in adulthood and memorable experience which will last them a lifetime."
The five week programme, aimed at year 4 pupils, uses both interactive classroom sessions and practical fun number-based rugby games to help children tackle mathematic problems. Sarah Mason, AST Mathematics (BSC HONS PGCE), who helped MBNA and Premiership Rugby develop the programme said: "Being numerate is, beyond doubt, an essential skill for all pupils to leave school with.
"We ensure that pupils are given the passion and encouragement to continue to improve their mathematics at an early age; this can be achieved by creating more exciting and accessible ways of learning. Mathematics is used daily in all walks of life and rugby union is a fantastic medium to show pupils how important and fun it can be."
Wayne Morris, Head of Community at Premiership Rugby added: "Rugby has long been seen as a social game that unites and brings people together. In more recent years rugby's ability to engage with children is being used to transcend into the classroom.
"The Tackling Numbers Programme utilises the power of rugby to promote the understanding and learning of numeracy in a fun and enjoyable way. The classroom sessions are supported by pratical PE sessions that unite an active mind with an active body."
The key aims of the project are to improve young people's understanding of the importance of basic financial and numeracy skills; while increasing physical exercise and activity amongst young people. The work will count as a contribution towards the five hour offering of high quality PE and sport.
MBNA, a Bank of America company, had funded Tackling Numbers through its Bank of America Charitable Foundation.