In the first of our guides to help you achieve your female-friendly accreditation, we’re looking at how to create or add to your club’s code of conduct. Shipston on Stour RFC’s mini and junior chair, Katrina Collie, explains her thoughts on creating more ownership towards the codes, and we provide some resources and links to help your club.
LIFE AND RUGBY AT SHIPSTON RFC
I’m the chair of mini and junior rugby at Shipston Rugby Club. We have a good team of volunteers who look after people, including about 40 coaches.
My role includes a lot of potential tasks, from making sure we’ve got pitches available for fixtures to collecting bacon, sausages and bread rolls for the weekend. I’m also a key volunteer for the women’s team. We’re a relatively new team, and I aim to try and be the link between the team and the committee.
Our girls’ section started as a girls' touch rugby team. They train on a Sunday after the minis and juniors are finished. However, they never felt a genuine part of the club. I was conscious that my daughter was progressing through the minis teams, and I wondered what she would do next.
I spoke up at a committee and mentioned that we also had some older girls who wanted to do contact. We organised some coaches and instantly had the support of the committee.
We had a problem finding fixtures. It’s a common problem; clubs haven’t got a full team. We had a few years when the girls enjoyed the coaching but couldn’t form a full squad to play standard fixtures.
Our solution was to cluster with local clubs, including Old Laurentians, and make it a formal process. We rotate which club the girls train at for Sunday and have fixtures at both locations. Each player registers with their club, and then we come together to form a playing squad called Fosse Falcons.
Our pathway isn’t ideal at the moment as the county had links with Worcester and Wasps (who’ve both shut down their professional men’s teams). However, the new girls' DPP (Developing Player Programme) enables players to learn more and progress in their rugby.
CODE OF CONDUCT
When I took over as chair, I inherited a code of conduct. I think it’s been in place for at least 12 years. However, the danger with inheriting it is that it’s forgotten or ignored.
The committee are revisiting it now. We’ve looked at codes of conduct for players, parents and coaches. They contain what the club expects, what we will deliver and what is expected of parents, coaches and young people. We’ve updated it and added some infographics that other clubs have used.
Alongside my role at Shipston rugby club, I’m a scout leader and look after the adult training and workshops for the scouts.
At the scouts, we write codes of conduct all the time. As it’s about the young people involved, they write their own. At Shipston, we want to work towards a process that gives young people more ownership.
We want to set up a group of youth players; a committee seems like the wrong word, but a system where the younger players can have more influence. This includes what they think they should get at the club and how they should behave.
All players need to have an age-appropriate discussion about what they want and expect. That helps create ownership of a code of conduct. It’s essential to think about how we communicate a code of conduct, as that can help create buy-in. Instead of stating to parents the rules about how to behave at the side of the pitch, if clubs asked them to complete a short e-learning course, like the RFU safeguarding one, they would develop an understanding of why these rules are in place.
We can print a code of conduct on pretty paper or use a beautiful font, but it's irrelevant if people don’t have ownership. Clubs have to Find a way of developing that understanding. It’s not just a tick-box exercise.
WHAT IS A CODE OF CONDUCT?
A code of conduct helps clubs ensure that their safe environment is where people are free from discrimination and fear.
It sets out standards of behaviour and allows members to uphold them when participating in club activities.
A code of conduct must apply to everyone involved at your club, including adult members, junior members, club officials, volunteers, and parents and carers.
Codes of conduct guide people to think about how they conduct themselves. They must be visited often and not used as a tick box exercise.
When people first join the club, they should be given links to read the code of conduct.
Examples Of Codes Of Conduct
Use your code of conduct to talk about the culture within your team.
> Ensure your codes are looked at regularly.
> Display your codes online and at the club.
> Ask your players to suggest what they would include in a code of conduct.
How to Register Your Club?
If this is something you would like your club to be involved in, please register