Twelve clubs have been awarded Category 1 Academy status following a detailed assessment of their performance and structure.
It is the first time clubs have been assessed in such detail and builds on the successful Academy accreditation system that has taken place in each of the last four years.
Six clubs – Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos, St Helens, Warrington Wolves, Widnes Vikings and Wigan Warriors – have been rated as ‘outstanding’ in recognition of the excellence of their junior development programmes from age 12 upwards.
Five other clubs – Bradford Bulls, Huddersfield Giants, Hull Kingston Rovers, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Catalans Dragons – have been rated as ‘good’ after making significant improvements over the last 12 months.
Castleford Tigers were rated as ‘requires improvement’ but the assessment recognised the strides the club has made since last year.
London Broncos and Salford Red Devils did not reach the required standards for Category 1 standard.
Under the accreditation process, clubs are assessed in three key areas:
Quality of leadership and management – the strategy and vision of the Academy and progress made;
How well Academies meet the needs of players – the welfare, education and safeguarding that is in place;
Delivery of player development system – the approaches used to optimise the development of players through to first grade and England.
RFL Director of Performance and Coaching Jon Roberts said: “This is the fifth year that we conducted an audit process and I am pleased to report that the trend continues to be one of improvement as clubs strive for excellence throughout their Academy programmes.
“The standards of players emerging from our club Academies increases year on year and that player supply is having a positive impact on both Super League and England.
“Whilst it is disappointing that two clubs do not meet Category 1 standard, we will continue to work with Salford and London to help them address the issues they are having with their Academies.
“In the meantime both clubs have been advised to apply for Category 2 Academy status as part of the ongoing Category 2 accreditation process.”