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Club of the Future challenge back bigger and better

Hwb and Welsh Rugby Union join forces with Minecraft: Education Edition to launch this year’s ‘Club of the Future Challenge’

THE Welsh Rugby Union and Hwb, the Welsh Government’s digital platform for learning and teaching have again joined forces with Minecraft: Education Edition to launch this year’s ‘The Club of the Future Challenge’.

The competition will be open to all schools across Wales and is part of an exciting partnership to use rugby and the digital gaming platform – Minecraft: Education Edition to enhance learning and engagement within the classroom in line with the curriculum for Wales.

Due to Welsh Government funding, all teachers and learners in Wales are able to download Microsoft Office and access Minecraft: Education Edition for free at home on their personal devices.

After a successful inaugural competition last year, where learners showed great resilience and collaboration both during homeschooling periods and in the classroom, the second competition has now gone live.

The competition will give learners across Wales the chance to design and build their own virtual club of the future within Minecraft: Education Edition, and includes a virtual tour of the iconic home of Welsh Rugby, Principality Stadium within Minecraft:Education Edition! The competition is open to learners from the ages of 5 to 16, with local and regional rounds before the final in June 2022.

Entering the world of Minecraft: Education Edition, learners travel through a virtual Principality Stadium, exploring key areas and spaces within the building. Along the way, learners meet NPCs (Non Player Characters) who will reveal information about that area.

It’s at this point, that learners and teachers have the opportunity to download further information, including facts, figures and visual materials such as behind the scenes imagery and videos from the WRU on various aspects of Welsh rugby.

Information gathered from the stadium tour and the subsequent tasks delivered in the classroom are geared up to challenge what each learner’s ‘Club of the Future’ might contain from inclusion and diversity, team training regimes and player nutritional requirements to the fan experience.

Learners are encouraged to consider their local community, research and explore the needs in their local areas to then start to develop a plan for a ‘rugby club of the future’. Rugby clubs are often the heart of local communities, so learners take on board the values of rugby and how these can be used to provide everyone with a positive experience and contribute to the long-term health and wellbeing of society in Wales. From the plan, learners will then begin to bring their own vision for a club of the future to life within Minecraft: Education Edition.

The worlds submitted last year demonstrated an understanding of the local and global environment and the need for sustainability with some creative ideas and showed the importance of creating inclusive facilities. The learners also showed many innovative ways to engage people of all ages in rugby clubs.

This project has been developed by Hwb to ensure that a wide range of Areas of Learning and Experience are met: Expressive Arts, Health & Wellbeing, Humanities, Language & Literacy Communication, Numeracy and Science & Technology.

Learners will this year also be able to benefit from an Esport element – Minecraft Esport Academy Wales. There will be links to exercise, healthy eating as well as coaching, competitive play and much more.

Minister for Education, Jeremy Miles said: “I’m really pleased that we’ve partnered with the WRU and Minecraft: Education Edition to launch this competition to schools in Wales and allow learners to create their own rugby club of the future.

“Life has been very different for learners this year, but our Hwb platform shows how we can continue to encourage learning and the development of key skills in innovative ways to support our curriculum.

WRU Community Director Geraint John said, “We were thrilled with the quality of entry from learners of all ages in last year’s inaugural Club of the Future competition. They contained a great deal of invaluable insight which our rugby clubs can benefit from in order to ensure they have a sustainable and inclusive environment fit to welcome rugby players, coaches, volunteers and supporters for a long time to come.

“We are very much looking forward to working with Hwb, Minecraft:Education Edition and schools on this year’s competition. With most learners now back in schools and colleges full-time, and rugby clubs now back open for business, I’m sure we will see even greater collaboration when learners are creating their clubs of the future”.

Minecraft: Education Edition Director of Learning Programmes Justin Edwards said: “Minecraft Build Challenges are a great way to engage students in problem solving, while inspiring them to create their ideal world. Building on the success of last year’s competition, the Welsh Rugby challenge will provide opportunities for all students across a range of age groups to develop their skills, knowledge and understand of important topics such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion.”

The overall challenge has six stages: Explorer and Investigate (via the Principality Stadium Minecraft world), Research, Planning, Building, Information Sharing and finally the creation of a video walkthrough of the learners build.

Through the ‘Explorer and Investigate’ stage teachers have the option to focus their learners in on a wide range of activities, such as the investigation of nutrition and healthy eating from both the perspective of a rugby player and a non-sports person. Learners will be encouraged to design a nutritious menu for a days meals, consider the various social occasions when food plays an important role. All linking to the Health and Well Being, Humanities Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLE).

Other curriculum areas include Language Literacy and Communication. Learners will consider how Newspapers have had a big influence on rugby becoming a vital ingredient in the life blood of the Welsh nation. Learners could turn their hand to writing a newspaper article or even role play a video interview.

How do you enter?

The competition is open to all schools that have signed up via Microsoft Teams. To register your school, click: https://aka.ms/WRUMinecraft

The competition structure has been designed for three progression step(s) related entry levels:

1. Progression Step 1&2

2. Progression Step 3

3. Progression Step 4&5

There are three stages to the competition:

1. Local round (individual schools) – Submission deadline: Friday, April 8, 2022

2. Regional semi-final – 1 from each age range for each consortium will be notified by Friday, May 13, 2022

3. National final – Wednesday, June 8, 2022 Principality Stadium

Each school who registers via Teams to enter the competition are advised to run their own ‘in-school’ competition for their learners. Certificates of participation will be available for schools to award to their learners.

Each school will need to judge and choose a submission for the age group(s) they cover prior to the regional round and the final round and awards ceremony.