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The ACE Programme

Gosforth Academy Sixth Form and Newcastle Falcons RFC have enjoyed a strong and robust partnership for over a decade. This relationship has developed to provide a highly successful programme that has various aspects with real benefits in terms of progression and experience for those involved.

Although students are selected and invited to join the ACE programme, we also welcome students coming from other schools to take part in the wider rugby-related activities that take place in the school.

The ACE programme was initially developed by the RFU and Skills Active to provide talented young rugby players with an opportunity to enhance their rugby development whilst continuing in education. The Newcastle Falcons ACE Programme is based within the Sixth Form at Gosforth Academy.

Players on the ACE Programme will complete a formal education in rugby, alongside their main A Level/BTEC/CTEC courses and can expect up to 12 hours of rugby development per week built into their school timetable. The programme is co-ordinated and supported by the Newcastle Falcons Academy and has a highly competitive playing programme in the ACE League. Recruitment takes place each year during the player’s U16 season and the experience shows that the level of value added whilst a player is on the ACE Programme far outweighs any programme in the region, a fact borne out by us currently having 5 England Academy Players (EAPs) vying for full England U18 honours this year.

Previous participants in the programme include George McGuigan, Callum Chick and Jamie Blamire who have all become regulars for the Newcastle Falcons, with Callum and Jamie recently being capped by the senior England team, as well as a host of others achieving scholarship or professional contracts with the club. In the past two seasons this has included Tom Marshall, Morgan Passman, Callum Pascoe, Oscar Caudle and Matthew Ward, all of who came to the sixth form from other schools.

All students who are enrolled onto the ACE Programme enjoy timetabled lessons focused on performance analysis, the development of skills, and various training activities under the management of a dedicated, full-time Rugby Professional. They also take part in the prestigious RFU ACE League, where the team has reached the National Finals on a number of occasions. Students on the ACE Programme have access to coaching and facilities both at school and at Kingston Park through the Newcastle Falcons.