And England international Sanderson along with first team stars Kai Horstmann, Tony Windo, Chairman Cecil Duckworth, Director of Rugby John Brain and backs coach Billy McGinty, were in attendance as the Warriors captain cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the Study Centre.
The Study Centre has been developed after a close partnership between Worcestershire County Council and Worcester Warriors. It has clearly-defined links with Worcestershire's Education Development Plan and will work to firmly-set priorities, starting with raising achievement at Key Stage 2 and 3 levels, promoting inclusion, narrowing the achievement gap, and broadening perspectives.
It will support up to ten schools a term, meaning that around 120 students per term and 360 students annually will benefit. Initially, each group of 14 will be offered a 20-hour programme delivered in two-hour sessions over a 10-week period, where they will take part in a number of fun exercises tailored especially to educate them through the medium of sport.
The Study Centre is housed at the rear of the South Stand at Sixways Stadium and has been kitted out with a superb corporate-style state-of-the-art learning environment that looks and feels as little like a classroom as possible. It boasts a secure reception area, an administration office, an ICT suite and teaching area, a meeting room, a multi-purpose room that acts as a soft working area, teaching room overspill area, and a student chill-out room and library.
The Centre was first handed over to Centre Manager Glynn Lodge just before Christmas. Glynn is an experienced Middle School teacher with a background in physical education, PSHE, citizenship and humanities and considerable senior management experience in pastoral care and curriculum development, particularly at Key Stage 3.
To support PfS students, he will call on a pool of volunteer study supporters recruited from the University of Worcester, Worcester Sixth Form College, Droitwich High School, Pershore High School and Worcester Royal Grammar School. Staff, supporters and Academy players of the club will also be involved along with community workers.
"It was a very exciting day for the PfS Study Centre and we were delighted to welcome invited guests to the Centre, including representatives of Worcestershire County Council, Worcester Warriors, the DfES, and our sponsors, together with pupils and volunteers who took part in the pilot programme," he said.
"This has been the fruition of months and months of hard work. The fact that we have put something together that can be this exciting for the children is astonishing.
"To be able to see the children's faces when they see the environment they can now work in makes is very rewarding and I feel privledged to have the position I have. We go live on April 23 and I'm looking forward to a great future for this wonderful facility.
"We have just undertaken a five-week pilot programme and everyone who came gave us real positive feedback. The main focus of the programmes at the study centre will be activity-based learning through creativity and publication, largely around the theme of rugby and other sports. All students will receive a stadium tour as part of the programme and the Warriors players and staff will also be involved in a capacity that's relevant to the students' learning."
The following schools, which are either very close to or within Worcester, were used in the development phases: Pershore High School, Christopher Whitehead Language College, Cranham Primary School, Warndon Junior School, St. George's CE Primary School, Dines Green Primary School. Other schools committed to the Summer Term include Witton Middle School in Droitwich, Tenbury Primary School and Kingsley College from Redditch.
And Warriors Chairman Cecil Duckworth, who opened the speeches at the official opening, added: "The PfS Centre is a wonderful achievement and I'm sure the young people will enjoy being so close to the Warriors and the first team."
THEY MADE IT POSSIBLE
A special thank you must go to the Wooden Spoon, Iris Interiors and npower.
The contribution from the Wooden Spoon has allowed us to install state-of-the-art ICT equipment which, along with the learning facility, will reinforce the difference between the study support centre and mainstream schooling thus providing an overall learning environment to re-engage young pupils.
Iris Interiors worked hard with the team and children to understand what the exact requirements of the building were, and this is reflected in the standard and uniqueness of the refurbishment.
In fact, they became so involved in the project that they ended up sponsoring a significant proportion of the building costs!
Once again, official club sponsor npower has shown its support for our community work by being the first company to sponsor a room in the centre. The money provided by npower will be used to help provide books and equipment for the study centre's very own library.