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Gordon's and Harlequins Partnership

Study, train and play rugby within the Gordon's/Harlequins Partnership 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 competing in the 2022-2023 season in the RFU ACE league, while receiving a first class education.

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. Please click on the video below to hear more about it from coaches and players.

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What You Will Learn

DiSE students can choose from a range of A Levels or BTEC National Diplomas . 

Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE)

This is a RFU-endorsed 2 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 matchday
  • Strength and conditioning and prehab sessions
  • Units/Team Rugby and analysis sessions
  • Additional sessions where appropriate

DiSE 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 DiSE 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. 

Entry Requirements

This programme is 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 in trials. 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 (click here to view).

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

Please click on the image below to register for the assessment day : (2023 Assessment date to be advised)

Thereafter, you will be required to complete an application for Gordon's Sixth Form

Please note: Harlequins students must be aged between 16–18 at the time of studying.


Contact the team

For more information about the programme, contact:

Chris Davies, Head of Rugby at Gordon's School:

Jim Evans, Harlequins Academy Coach: