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Harlequins Partnership Programmes

Congratulations to Caleb Ashworth, Tom Golder and Theo Currie, who left Gordon's with contracts for Harlequins Academy. The three, who all completed their DiSE (Diploma in Sporting Excellence) under the school's partnership with Harlequins, were offered contracts upon completing their studies at the school. They have since been selected to play for their country, Caleb for England, Tom for Wales and Theo for Scotland.

Caleb Ashworth, picture courtesy of JMP for 

Tom Golder, picture courtesy of JMP for Harlequins. 

Theo Currie 

Study, train and play rugby within the Gordon's/Harlequins Partnership programmes.

1) DISE Programme 

The DiSE programme (Diploma in Sporting Excellence), which is open to 16 to 18 year olds, provides a pathway to a career in rugby, offering an opportunity to train in a professional rugby environment and compete in the RFU ACE league, while receiving a first class education. There are approximately six places offered under this programme. (For other rugby opportunities, please see below section on HPP)

Talented players will benefit from specialised coaching and matches from Premiership and Internationally-experienced coaches, access to the on-site gym, strength and conditioning and holistic support. 

What You Will Learn

DiSE students will study three A Levels or BTECs alongside the Diploma in Sporting Excellence. 

Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE)

This is a RFU-endorsed two year rugby programme for 16–18-year-olds based at the England Regional Academies. The aim is to produce players who:

  • have developed the skills and abilities to gain a professional contract at 18 
  • are aware of their rights and responsibilities as professional players (lifestyle, image, behaviour etc.)
  • know how to manage their finances
  • have a contingency plan for an alternative career in the event of injury or failure to achieve a playing contract

Rugby and Academic Schedule

In addition to academic lessons, students on the DiSE Programme will have a practical rugby schedule supported on modules designed by sports professionals. Each module will develop a specific facet of the game, including the student’s game, understanding, mental and physical preparation and recovery.

As a member of the DiSE squad, a typical week will include:

  • Timetabled academic lessons
  • Twelve hours of contact time plus one DiSE match day
  • Strength and conditioning and prehab sessions
  • Units/Team Rugby and analysis sessions
  • Additional sessions where appropriate

Students will also have the opportunity to compete in the highly competitive RFU ACE League, a widely-renowned competition at the highest level of college/school sport.

How You Will Learn

The course is designed to mirror that of a professional environment. Students will have regular access to professional services to help improve their abilities as a player, as well as group and one-to-one coaching support.

The DiSE Group is comprised of the top players within the school's Rugby programme. As the squad competes at a very high level, applicants are expected to be capable of playing to at least county standard.

The experienced DiSE staffing team, includes:

  • Gordon's Head Coach/Programme Manager
  • Assistant Coach
  • Harlequins Specialist Coaches
  • Harlequins Academy Strength and Conditioning staff
  • Harlequins Academy Physiotherapists
  • Harlequins Academy Analysis Support

Support services during the programme will, include an analysis platform, access to medical staff on training days, meetings with coaching staff, and a Pastoral Lead to review academic progress. 

2) Harlequins Partnership Programme (HPP)

In addition to our DiSE programme and as we require a large squad to play in the ACE league, we also offer the Harlequins Partnership Programme. These students have the same training as the DiSE players however they do not study the Diploma in Sporting Excellence. Being part of the HPP does not automatically gain selection for ACE League games but provides the opportunity for players to excel under high quality coaching and individual support. 

Entry Requirements for DISE and HPP

The programmes are for students aged 16–18 only. 

Applications will be judged on abilities as a rugby player, as well as academic merits.

Players will be assessed on their experience; rugby CV and performances. Academically, they should expect to meet the minimum requirements to join Gordon's Sixth Form: 

A minimum of five GCSE grades 9 - 5 including grade 5 in GCSE English and Mathematics for any A-Level course, or a minimum of five GCSE grades 9-4 including English and Mathematics for a BTEC course and the grade criteria for individual subjects as outlined in the Options Booklet.

While it is understood that the passion and focus may be on the rugby programme, students will be expected to prioritise their academic studies.

How to Apply

To apply to Gordon's Sixth Form - entry September 2024, please complete an application form found on our admissions page no later than 24th November 2023

We will be holding a Rugby assessment morning on Thursday 26th October 2023 (10am - 1pm ) for applicants wishing to be part of the Harlequins Partnership Programme in Gordon's Sixth Form.

Following this day there will be a second assessment for shortlisted students on the evening of 29th November 2023.