Development Academies


Development Academies offer students a ‘Dual Career’ pathway in Rugby League. A Development Academy offers an enhanced Rugby League offer that compliments a student’s chosen academic course of study.

A Development Academy has a formal partnership with a Professional Rugby League Club or Professional Rugby League Clubs Foundation and is committed to providing a high performance player development environment that meets the RFL standards, while allowing students to continue their further education study.

There are three different versions of the Development Academy accreditation;

  1. Men’s Development Academy
  2. Women’s Development Academy
  3. Dual Development Academy

For more information or to become a Development Academy, contact or

Hull Kingston Rovers Men’s Development Academy

Type: Men’s

Partners: Hull Kingston Rovers, Archbishop Sentamu Academy, Hull College

Course Options: A Levels / BTEC and Vocational Courses available

Relevant links:

Contact Details:

Success Stories:

As a Rugby League School of Excellence, we run a full time Rugby League Scholarship Programme here at ASA in years 7 -11 for both male and female students. This is a unique programme to anywhere else in Hull and East Riding and will hopefully attract keen Rugby League players to our school which will ultimately lead them on to our sixth form. In year 9 and 10, we travel to Australia for 3 weeks on a Rugby League tour, which challenges students against the best Rugby League players in the world. In the future years, it is hoped that we will be able to take students from our sixth form on a Rugby League tour themselves. 

Other achievements:

  • ASA has a 100% pass rate at the Sixth Form
  • ASA’s scholarship programme has won the National Youth Sport Trust Award
  • ASA have a partnership with the local referee society
  • A former ASA scholar is now a qualified referee, working locally and in Super League
  • 93% of Hull College students progressed to work or further education
  • 790 employers work with the Hull College group
  • 26,000 students enrol with the Hull College group each year
  • 96% of parents or carers would recommend the college
  • Hull University was awarded the silver award for their teaching excellence in 2018
  • Hull University has been named in the top 50 UK institutions for research
  • 95.9% of University of Hull students in Higher education are in further study or work

University of Hull have recently had a £16 million pound redevelopment of their sports facilities in 2019

Hull FC Men’s Development Academy

Type: Men’s

Partners: Hull FC, Hull FC Sports College, Bishop Burton

Course Options: NCFE in Sport, Bishop Burton Prospectus

Relevant Links:

Contact Details:

Success Stories:

Since the inception of the Hull FC/Bishop Burton academy programme there have been several success stories from a rugby development point of view. 

Mike Adlard signed onto the programme, gained an academy contract prior to gaining a first team professional contract at Hull FC. Mike has since gone on to play world rugby 7s.

Bradley Spriggs was released from Hull FC as a scholar, signed with the college and went on to captain Yorkshire and England (on a tour to South Africa). He then gained an academy contract back with Hull FC on the back of that.

In 2018:

Richard D’Oliviera (Hull KR 2020), Ben Ellis  and Marcus Walker (Hull FC 2020) all signed from the RL programme onto professional terms with COHA.

As part of the academy we have run development squads (ETP 14-16) which was the breeding ground for Mikey Lewis (Signed for COHA in 2017 – signed Hull KR first team 2018 – Played Yorkshire Origin 2018) and Connor Wynne (Signed for COHA in 2017 – signed Hull FC first team in 2018 – played 4 Super League games in 2018)

Cronton Sixth Form College Rugby League Academy

Type: Women’s

Partners: Cronton Sixth Form College, Widnes Vikings

Course Options: A Level and Vocational Courses

Relevant Links:

Contact Details:

Success Stories: 

Megan Jackson enrolled at the college last academic year where she also began to play for Widnes Vikings Women Open age. Megan has been able to carry out her studies and play for the college team during the first year of her programme. During this time, she has made a number of appearances for Widnes Vikings who are the link partner with the college. Megan has also been successful link being selected for Lancashire 19’s the pathway has helped her to fit in her studies, gym and training into a busy schedule.

Success Stories:

3 England International players

1 Player to feature in both 2013 and 2017 World Cups

5 girls selected in the North West Counties Under 19 Squad 2019

7 Current Super League players

6 students playing in Championship

1 student selected on the DiSE programme. 

Leeds Rhinos Development Academy

Type: Men’s

Partners: Leeds City College, Leeds Rhinos

Course Options: BTEC/ A Level/ Apprenticeships

Relevant Links:

Contact Details:

Success Stories:

Whilst the academy only launched in 2019/20, the Rhinos and Leeds City College piloted an increased partnership in 2018/19 and the team were division 1 champions.

Please see web story link below:

Ex-student-players now enjoying industry placements with the Development Academy through Higher Education study at Leeds Becket University;

-        Ryan Taylor – Former captain of the LCC Rugby Academy Ryan has taken his interest in sport and performance to higher education and is currently in his 2nd year studying Sports Coaching at Leeds Becket University. As part of the new partnership with the Leeds Rhinos Development Academy Ryan is also an important part of the coaching team during the weekly field sessions. He and 2 other Sports Coaching students work closely with our Rhinos performance and S&C staff and lead on a variety of conditioning and skill-based activities in these sessions. All their hands-on experience and delivery is directly linked with aspects of their assessment on their course and has been found to be incredibly beneficial to their progress as future coaches.

-        Hasan Hussain – Another former Captain of the LCC Rugby Academy, currently involved in coach and player welfare support with the programme. Having played within Academy Performance and scholarship programmes Hasan provides the programme and players a unique and welcome player perspective and offers support and advice in a capacity not often available to coaches. He is an invaluable member of the coaching set up while simultaneously studying Sports Performance at Leeds Becket University. His work in the community and character have been recognised by various professional bodies and he was awarded Young Coach of the year by Yorkshire Cricket. Having represented British Asian Rugby Association on several tours he provides the programme with an outstanding role model for our Asian students and is responsible in no small part to the increasing representation of BME players within the programme.

-        James Strudwick – Another former LCC Rugby Academy product, James has recently joining as part of the brand new S&C set up with the development Academy. As a former Leeds City College student and Rugby League Academy Player, James cited his appreciation for the opportunity to be considered for the position as S&C support. He quoted ‘’Time at the college, the staff and the support received from the academy are the reason I chose to pursue my passion for sport and coaching; so that I could help others and give back to the community I was developed within.’’ Now studying his Master in Strength & Conditioning James will work closely and eventually lead on the S&C programme for the college and be supported by Dan Speirs our S&C consultant and placement mentor. This experience is unique in what it level of experience and responsibility it can offer a placement student – which will ultimately reflect incredibly high when seeking out future positions in the performance industry.

-        Shannon Lacey and Caitlin Beevers – Current Leeds Rhinos and England Women’s players Shannon Lacey and Caitlin Beevers are other former LCC students looking to give back to the programme and college that is supporting their career journey in the sports industry. Currently into her first year of a foundation degree in Physical Education through Leeds City College’s University Centre, Shannon is currently a role model for all LCC girls aspiring to play rugby league. Shannon has shown a desire to become involved in the Women and Girls arm of the development academy and for this year will be on board, along with Caitlin, in an Ambassadorial capacity. They will look to attend the initial meetings with prospective female players embodying the potential exit routes to higher playing and study both during and after college.


Warrington Wolves Development Academy

Type: Dual

Partners: Warrington Wolves Foundation, Priestley College

Course Options: A range of A level and BTEC Qualifications

Relevant Links:

Contact Details:

Success Stories:

This year, the Rugby Academy Captain Karlton Bates, earned himself an Academy contract with the Warrington Wolves under 19’s and has played a number of games for them so far this season.

We also have a range of students who are currently exceling in a vast range of subjects

Gabe Twist – Currently Studying Biology A level/Chemistry A Level/Physics A level/Extended project general/the graduate – He is predicted “A’s” in all subjects – while playing for the Development Academy

Frank PEDIGREW – completed – Btec L3 diploma sports yr2 grade D*D*/Cert fitness Instructing L2 yr1 – CYQ grade PA/extended project grade C/ Maths GCSE grade 2 – Is now a Sports Student at Edge Hill – Playing in the University Team


Wakefield College Development Academy

Type: Dual

Partners: Wakefield College, Wakefield Trinity

Course Options: Level 1-3, A Level, HE, Apprenticeships

Relevant Links:

Contact Details:

Success Stories:

  • James Batchelor – James attended the colleges Academy of Sporting Excellence as part of the Rugby Development Programme (RDP). He had only played the community game and playing pro was only a dream so focussed on his education. Whilst part of the RDP he was studying and training with Trinity coaches at the college on a daily basis. Being exposed to this coaching and bouncing off academy players made him raise his game and got a trial in the academy. Because he already knew most players through college the transition was much simpler and enabled him to focus on rugby as opposed to awkward social situations. The result was him signing academy soon to be followed by 1st team and then England. He is now a key, regular first team Super League player due to studying a dual career at Wakefield Colleges RDP.
  • Lee Kershaw – Lee like James was an RDP student athlete at Wakefield College. He was already part of Trinities academy but benefitted greatly from extra training alongside his studies. With him already signed up to the academy he was able to peer coach his teammates and help raise the benchmark of standard in the Cat 3 college team. Upon graduating he signed a first team contract and was loaned out to Championship clubs to gain experience. As well as playing and training, Lee embarked on a Higher Education course at Wakefield College to further develop a dual career for the future. Whilst on the HE course he was called back to Trinity and given an opportunity to play in Super League making his debut against local rivals Leeds Rhinos. On his debut he managed to score a full length try, win the game and become a regular in the first team ever since, whilst still balancing his education at the college.
  • Jack Croft – Jack has only just graduated from college on the Level 3 Sport Programme & RDP with a distinction, distinction, merit (DDM). Towards the back end of his time at college he was selected to play for Wakefield Trinities first team making his debut in the Challenge Cup Quarter Final v St Helens. His experience at college playing in high quality games including National Finals prepared him for such occasions and managed to score a try on his debut live on BBC. Since then Jack has started several games for the first team as well as playing reserves. He has done plenty of community work off the field too to increase his personal skills from organising tournaments to stop smoking campaigns. He is one of 3 players who have signed pro contracts from his cohort at the Colleges RDP also including Yusuf Aydin (recently called up for the Turkish national team) and Connor Bailey who studied A Levels.
  • Maddie Hirst, Jess Woods, Aalliyah Rhodes, Aallisha Rhodes, Millie Walsh – 5 girls from the college and Women’s Rugby Development Programme have been selected to be part of the inaugural DiSE programme. They play for Wakefield Trinity and Castleford Tigers but have come together at Wakefield College and due to their training and support offered alongside their education they have been selected for the programme. This will aid their development and hopefully give them the knowledge and experience to play regular women’s super league and the opportunity to attend university as a dual career.
  • Other – The RDP at the college also has a female strand. This is very new & the college and Trinity were the joint first Female Development clubs set up. We are in the process of creating players to play in the women’s super league so success stories in the female game aren’t abundant at the moment but watch this space. However, Courtney Pointon is a student at the College who made it into the Yorkshire Team of Origin and also playing for Castleford Tigers.

Apart from players we also have a referee programme where current & ex students are learning to referee whilst studying. Such students are Stephen and Thomas Gibbs as well as Matthew Clayton who regularly referee around their academics & have promising officiating futures.