Elite rugby starlet aims for England place after “life-changing” success at Loughborough College

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A teenage rugby fanatic has her sights set on international glory after securing a place on an elite sport degree programme thanks to her “life-changing” time at Loughborough College.

England under 20s international rugby player Fran Goldthorp, 18, from Leeds, achieved D*D*D* in her BTEC Sport Level 3 and will go on to study Sport for Elite Athletes at Loughborough University.

She said: “It feels so good. I’ve worked so hard to balance my studies with training so to get the result I needed is great. My dad’s a PE teacher so he’s very happy as well!”

Fran, who plays for Loughborough Lightning in the Allianz Premier 15s as well as the England team, said her ambition is to play for the full England Women’s team as she continues balancing study with training.

She said: “To play rugby for England is my ultimate ambition. I started playing this sport when I was five and worked my way up to eventually play for England under 18s. But it was very difficult for me to maintain the intensity of training and playing at school, so I chose to go to Loughborough College. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

“I’m now in the England under 20s and Lightning and I wouldn’t have got there without the support of the College. It really has changed my life.

“The rugby programme schedules your whole day around training and study, and on top of that you have the understanding of teachers who know what you have going on. There is great support and flexibility.”

When lockdown struck, Fran had to work extra hard to stay focused but had the support of her friends and teachers. She said: “Lockdown was difficult at times. It was harder to concentrate because there were more distractions, but the teachers understood the challenges and made sure their emails were open and that they were available for Teams calls.

“I think the teachers managed that really well. They kept checking in on people to make sure work was up to standard and were always happy to look through your work for you.

Fran said the college’s approach to helping students learn independently with support suited her and helped her achieve more than she thought possible.

She said: “To anyone thinking of Loughborough College, you will not regret anything by coming here. You gain independence, friends and great memories. It’s changed my life for the better.”

Jo Maher, Principal & CEO at Loughborough College, said: “We are so proud of Fran. Her hard work and passion really showed during her time at college and I have no doubt she will go on to do great things. She really is a star of the future and we wish her every success, both with her studies but also with her rugby career.

“We have a long history of elite sport and we’re so proud that Fran is carrying the Loughborough baton forward.”

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