Stuart Lancaster (FN 80-88)
has sent the following career update:

“Just over 20 years have passed since I left St Bees School (I am going to ignore the fact that that makes me forty!), yet I often think about why my memories are so clear as if it was only yesterday. I think there a few reasons for this. One is that St Bees is a unique place and even though I have taught in several schools, I have yet to come across one that possesses the same dynamics that create a similar identity, in particular, the size, location and culture. I guess another reason is that even though I have met and made a great group of friends in the different jobs and walks of life I have experienced since leaving, the ones I made at St Bees are the ones I am still closest to and as such we spend a lot of our time boring our wives with tales of the “good old days!”
Since leaving St Bees I have completed a Sports Science degree at Carnegie in Leeds, where I also met my wife, Nina. This led eventually to my becoming a PE teacher in a mixed comprehensive in Wakefield. During that time I continued to play lots of sports, but ultimately, as rugby went professional, I got an opportunity to play full-time towards the end of the 90s. Although it was a good experience, I missed the variety which teaching provided and was due to go back; however, the decision was taken out of my hands as I picked up an injury that meant I had to retire from professional rugby aged 30. They say things happen for a reason and at the same time the Rugby Football Union set up regional academies at the fully professional Premiership clubs, and being in the right place at the right time, I left teaching and became a full time Academy Manager at Leeds in 2001. The job was fantastic, however just as I was getting itchy feet, the Director of Rugby was given the sack at the club and I got the task of becoming the Director of Rugby in 2005 and getting the club back into the Premiership at the first attempt, the only problem being that all the players had gone and we only had the young Academy players to draw on!  Nevertheless, with twenty new players arriving we formed a “team” and achieved the objective.
The next challenge was significantly larger, trying to stay in the Premiership. With a budget less than half of the other established clubs it was a tough ask, and although we remained competitive we didn’t have enough to survive. It was then, just over a year ago, that I was offered the role that I currently have with the Rugby Football Union. The job title is Head of Elite Player Development and England Saxons Head Coach, and I consider myself very fortunate and privileged to have it. Essentially it is three-fold: to coach England A (Saxons), which sits just behind the senior England side, and work with Martin Johnson and the senior coaches in preparing players for the 2011 and 2015 World Cups; supporting all the other England teams, Under 20s, Under 18s, Under 16s and Sevens, and also managing the 14 Regional Academies.
Sometimes I sit in meetings with the international coaches and players (never having got close as a player myself!), wondering just how I ended up here and where it is all going. I am not sure of the answers, although one thing I do know is that the grounding that St Bees gave me, not just educationally, but the opportunities, the independence and ultimately the responsibility that I developed while at school, have played a major part in shaping me as the person I am today. With a great circle of friends to show for it, I loved my time at St Bees and will be returning soon to bore my children and my wife with tales of running leagues, dorm raids and beating Sedbergh!!!.”

The St. Beghian Society, St. Bees School, St. Bees, Cumbria, CA27 0DS

tel: 01946 828093