​Castleford pupils take on trip of a lifetime​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Castleford Academy pupils packed their bags in the holidays to take on a dream trip to Australia, with the help of local businesses. The Year 9 boy's rugby league team, together with teachers and parents, organised a series of fundraising events to help draw in over £25,000 for the trip.

Lee Holmes, Assistant Headteacher at the school, said: "Every year we send a handful of Year 11 pupils out to our partnership school Mackay for about six weeks on an exchange trip, but every three years we organise a full-team tour where they go out and play games in Australia."

The team were crowned National Champions at Wembley in 2017 when they took to the hallowed turf before the Hull FC Challenge Cup final against Wigan Warriors in 2017. The team are still reigning champions 2 years on winning both National Finals in 2018 and 2019.

While in Australia this summer, the team played three games as part of the tour against Australian schools in Brisbane and Mackay. Winning the first two games comfortably with the final game up against partnership school Mackay where the team was narrowly beat 18-12. As well as playing rugby league, pupils had the opportunity to take in the sights of North Queensland and Sydney which included, enrichment activities such as visiting Daydream Island, going to watch the Gold Coast titans V's Brisbane Broncos at the CBUS stadium as well as visiting Surfers Paradise, with pupils climbing the Sydney harbor bridge on the final day of the tour. As a surprise for the team, we managed to organise a meet and greet session with the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The players were able to watch a training session led by Great Britain coach Wayne Bennett and meet players such as Sam Burgess after they had finished training.

Mr Holmes said: "The lads have been a credit to the school on and off the field.  It has been a fantastic opportunity for the lads. I think it has give them a real sense of aspiration. We've had youngsters in the past who have been on the trip and then gone back to Australia to play rugby."