Elite Sports Programme

This programme targets students who have a high potential to excel in their sport, either by competing on the international stage or securing a professional contract. Our elite sports students are typically studying an Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences or a full A Level programme. The Elite Sports Programme at The Henley College is the perfect way for young and aspiring elite athletes (age 16-19) to prepare for life in professional sport. For those athletes who have the chance of competing on the world stage or of securing a professional contract, Henley is the ideal setting to improve your skills and learn how to manage all aspects of life in a professional sport whilst continuing your education.

The Elite Sports Programme allows athletes to continue their education while receiving first-class coaching and training in their sport. The programme length varies between sports but ranges between 6 and 24 months. An Elite Sports student typically trains for 9–10 hours per week in addition to fixtures and their academic programme.

As a College we currently provide opportunities through this scheme to students in three sports – rugby union, rowing and basketball. Our offering is further strengthened by proud partnerships with renowned professional clubs: Wasps, Leander Club and Reading Rockets.



Within the Elite Sports Programme sits AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence), an NVQ performance-based qualifi cation developed by SkillsActive in partnership with sports governing bodies, industry experts and other partnership organisations.

With a choice of three Elite Sports Programme courses in Rugby, Basketball and Rowing, The Henley College continues to be at the forefront of developing and supporting young, elite student athletes. 

A growing number of our students go on to represent their country at a variety of levels and to pursue their sport professionally. Our rowers, for example, have gone on to feature in events including the Henley Royal Regatta, the Boat Race and the Olympic Games. Our students have also secured scholarships at universities in the USA. Applications to join the course are by invitation only, and places are competitively awarded and limited.

First class coaches will support you throughout the course of your programme; their forward thinking methods will continually test and develop your technical and tactical skills in your chosen sport. Our programmes consistently offer high quality training environments, access to well-equipped facilities and the benefits of conditioning experts, physiotherapists, nutritionists and mentors.


The Rugby Academy offers you the opportunity to compete at the highest level of college rugby and complete your academic qualifications at the same time.

The Henley College has produced over many professional players over the past ten years and with excellent links to Wasps Rugby Club and Henley Hawks, Academy graduates have gone on to feature in the Aviva Premiership, Aviva A-League and National League competitions. You will be taught, supported and managed by our experienced coaching and teaching staff, alongside additional specialist coaches from Wasps Academy. 

Our AASE squad compete at a very high level and players are expected to be capable of playing to at least county standard. Our squad is comprised of the top 30 players within the College’s Elite Sports Programme, while the next best 30 players will form the Development Group. Students selected for the Development

Group can still expect to benefit from high quality coaching, tailor made timetables and a competitive level of rugby designed around individual player development. They will also have access to selected support services like physiotherapy, if needed, on a session-by-session basis.

Open trials for prospective players are held in the last week of November, with the purpose of identifying talented players to join The Henley College Rugby Academy. A later trial will also take place in February to give players another opportunity to be identified.

Ultimately, places in the programme will be offered based on prior experience, your rugby CV and performance in trials. Academically, applicants to The Henley College will be required to meet certain criteria depending on the course they are applying for. If you have not achieved these prerequisites, there may be other options available to you.

The course is demanding both physically and mentally, so only those with a real commitment to their rugby and their academic studies need apply. Your coaches and teachers will have high expectations of you and will push you to achieve your potential. You need to be able to cope with pressure and have good organisational and time management skills.


Henley College FC (Men’s) is a full-time football development programme which allows talented young footballers to progress their football development in an elite environment whilst pursuing the educational programme of their choice. Players train on a daily basis receiving coaching in the following areas: technical/tactical, goalkeeping, strength and conditioning as well as supporting disciplines such as psychology and lifestyle management (recovery, nutrition etc). We welcome and expect fully committed student athletes who will value this unique opportunity to receive high quality professional coaching whilst working to fulfil their academic potential. The 1st XI have enjoyed significant success in recent seasons winning the English Colleges’ (South East) league in 2014-15 and reaching the last 16 of both the ESFA and ECFA Cups. Several students have progressed to US universities on soccer scholarships as a result of their experience at Henley with both Ed Jabarri and Sam Rooks being offered places for 2015-16. Trials for the 2016-17 academic year will take place in March 2016. For further information contact: Kester Buckland, Head of Men’s Football, 1st XI Head Coach at kbuc@henleycol.ac.uk or by telephoning 01491 579988 and on our Twitter page @HenleyFootball.


Basketball: Please contact Martin Unsworth by email at: sode@henleycol.ac.uk

Football: Please contact Kester Buckland by email at: kbuc@henleycol.ac.uk

Rowing: Please contact Martin Unsworth by email at: muns@henleycol.ac.uk

Rugby: Please contact Jack Wiggins by email at: jwig@henleycol.ac.uk


“The training on the Rugby Academy was as close to pro rugby as you could get with full-time education.”