Pupil Referral Unit Programme

According to a study undertaken at the University of Edinburgh, pupils excluded from school by the time they reach their teenage years are four times as likely as other children to be jailed as adults. Boys, those from single parent families, and those from the poorest communities are most likely to be excluded from school.

Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are less active, less likely to do well in school and less equip to achieve their potential in later life. At London Youth Rowing, we believe in sport for social change and that rowing in particular can enable young people to aspire, believe and achieve.


Above: Learning the parts of a boat. 

2017 has been a fantastic year for our Pupil Referral Unit pilot programme. Students from New Regent’s College have been introduced to rowing through sessions funded by the Worshipful Company of Vintners. Over a period of 12 weeks, sessions have been conducted in school on rowing machines, with added progression in to on-water rowing. Sessions are structured so that rowing is taught as a useful outlet for frustration and aggression, while combining valuable life skill lessons such as teamwork, communication, perseverance and patience.

One young rower, Perry said, ‘My experience in rowing was good and I found it enjoyable. The effort in both the machine and the indoor water simulation was all great and it really puts me to the test. I will always remember how I was fully encouraged by inspiring teachers and hard-working students to motivate me to reach my full potential. In my opinion rowing is an amazing sport for many different people everywhere around the world and many people can take it all the way’.

There has also been positive feedback from the teachers in students’ school reports.

Darnell’s schools reports are a brilliant example: ‘Darnell has made progress since he has engaged with the Rowing project. Although he has found it challenging and he has struggled to deal with the frustrations and moderate his language and behaviour, he has begun to work through this and see some success. Once this project has finished Darnell would benefit from a replacement in which he can practice dealing with his frustrations but also experience the same levels of success as he has from this project.’

Over the next year, London Youth Rowing is continuing to develop accessibility to after-school rowing sessions, their indoor rowing competition structure and the way in which we measure individual progress. All of this will support our youth rowers to access the sport within their own time.

Above: Learning stability tricks in choppy water!