The Next Phase Academy is a non selective independent rugby academy, which places the student at the centre of its programme. We help our students to use their enjoyment and passion for rugby to further their education and to develop as young people. Our aim is to provide our students with a range of opportunities to continue to enjoy their rugby once they complete our course.

Based at Aylesbury RFC (September 2021) Next Phase Academy offers boys and girls aged 16-19 years, the opportunity to gain sports related academic and vocational qualifications, whilst playing an active role in a full-time rugby programme.

Next Phase Academy’s objectives are to ensure that…

1. The enjoyment of the game remains the driving force behind everything we do

2. The individual student’s interests remain at the centre of our programme

Next Phase Academy has built and continues to build relationships with a number of potential ‘exit routes’ that may appeal to our students. Such as rugby playing Universities, Senior Rugby Academies, sports focused vocational establishments and employers within the sports and fitness industry.

I have been fortunate to be involved in professional rugby for the last 18 years. I signed my first professional contract at Leicester Tigers, who at that time were the reigning European Champions.

During a playing career that spanned 10 seasons, I played for Leicester Tigers, London Wasps and London Irish. Winning two Premiership titles, playing in a European Cup Final and gaining international recognition with the England Saxons.

At the end of my playing career I progressed into professional rugby coaching, including high profile lead coaching positions. I’ve coached professionally at Championship, Premiership and International levels.

As a player I enjoyed being part of a team and challenging myself physically and mentally. As a coach I enjoy helping individuals fulfil their potential and I’ve been fortunate enough to help players develop to play rugby at the very top of the game. From amateur to professional, to international and to pinnacle of representing the British and Irish Lions.

My aim now is to use my experience to inspire further generations of rugby players, as I’m inspired by young people’s enjoyment and passion for the game. I want young people to use our course to channel their enjoyment and passion for rugby to help them fulfil their ambitions.

Based upon the facility we have at our disposal, our partnerships, the professional skillset and experience of our staff, I know that we deliver the best possible rugby programme in combination with further education.

As an Academy, we are extremely excited by the relationships we have built with our potential ‘exit route’ partners. Whether that route is into Higher education, an Apprenticeship scheme or a form of sports related employment, we want our students to continue to benefit from their involvement in sport.

James Buckland
Managing Director
Next Phase Academy