Dorset & Wilts Rugby Union Referees’ Society Grading Policy
(June 2018)

1. Introduction

1. The Society values all of it’s referees, whatever their grade and is grateful for the contribution they make to the game. This policy will guide the grading of all referee members of the D&W Rugby Union Referees’ Society. The process will be as objective, and evidence based as possible, however, grading referees is an art, not a science, involving judgement being exercised by those involved in the process. The Society will aim to be as open and transparent as it is able.

2. The purpose of grading referees is to ensure that they are allocated to games that are within their ability to referee and where appropriate, will stretch and develop their abilities. The policy describes the criteria that are taken into consideration and by whom and when grading decisions are made.

3. The policy considers appropriate guidance from the RFU (e.g. referees may be allocated to a game normally not more than two levels above their grade), the South West Group and the Wessex Federation of Rugby Referees’ Societies. 

2. Criteria for Grading.

1 The Society grades its member referees from Newly Qualified’ up to level 6 The national system, adopted by all societies in England and guided by the RFU, grades referees from level 15 to level 1, the latter representing the top, where referees on the Elite group of the National Panel of Referees are located, refereeing Premiership and possibly, International rugby.

2 All games under the auspices of the RFU are allocated a level, usually determined by that team’s league. The following table shows the respective league levels in the Dorset & Wilts area. 

Table 1. Examples of Leagues

League Level League Level
South West Premier 5 Dorset and Wilts 2 North/South

Women’s NC South West North 2

1st XV Senior Plate

2nd XV Senior Shield

3rd XV Senior Cup

Youth under 17

South West One East 6 Dorset and Wilts 3 North/South

Youth under 16

Southern Counties South/North

Women’s Championship North

1st XV Senior Cup

7 Youth under 15 11
Dorset and Wilts 1 North/South

Women’s NC South West 1

1st XV Senior Vase

2nd XV Senior Cup

Colts Merit Table

8 Youth under 14 12

School fixtures are allocated level 7 to 12 based on age and ability, whilst university fixtures are allocated based on their League levels (between levels 8 and 9).

3 The D&W criteria for grading are shown in Table 2. In addition, referees with ambition to progress through the Referee pathway to levels above those controlled by the Society, i.e. ‘South West Group’. The criteria to be nominated are shown at Appendix 1. It should be noted that the higher the level of refereeing, the more competitive things become. 

Table 2. Grading Criteria

Level Normally referees will be graded according to the

following criteria:

Generic to all levels 1. being a fully paid up member;

2. the demonstration, via Match Observer reports, including

Exchange reports, of an ability in technical skills, game management and fitness to referee at the requisite levels, consistent with the safety of the players (normally scoring MD or G);

3. compliance with normal D&W requirements on all referees, e.g. maintenance of current availability on WTR;

4. referee aspirations, as expressed annually via that form at the commencement of that season, will be considered;

5.demonstrations of fitness levels, via the YoYo test.

6. referees are encouraged to consider the demands of games at their current grade in respect of how comfortable they are at that level. The committee will take heed of any referee asking to be allocated a grade downwards. This demonstrates great self-awareness and commitment to the game.

New Qualified to initial grading a. successful application for membership;

b. completion of the RFU level 2 course, ‘England Rugby Refereeing Award’

Exceptionally, where after a period of support, a referee fails to demonstrate any progress regarding generic criterion 2 he/she may be asked to resign from the Society.

11-10 a. please see generic criteria;
9-8 a. demonstration of commitment to own development, via, e.g. acquisition of RFU Continual Match Official Development (CMOD) modules, regular attendance at D&W monthly training meetings (unless there are extenuating circumstances), regular dialogue with coach or mentor (where appointed);

b. those at level 8 who aspire to Federation nomination should demonstrate an appropriate level of fitness.

7-6 a. demonstration of commitment to own development, via, e.g. acquisition of RFU CMOD modules, regular attendance at D&W monthly training meetings, regular dialogue with coach or mentor (where appointed)

b. voluntary attainment of a minimum of level 15.1 on YoYo test (wef Jan 20xx), Part 1, and required level 17.1 for those with ambition to achieve selection onto South West Group.

c. Along side part b, nominations for South West Group also require a minimum of four observed and graded G external fixtures at L6.

NB. At the discretion of the Grading Committee, referees transferring from other societies will have their current grade respected, where it is confirmed by the other Society. 

3. The process of Grading.

1 The Society shall establish a Committee, known as the Appointments and Grading Committee (AGC). Besides it’s appointments function, it:

a. considers the appropriate grading of every referee member, according to the requirements of the RFU, the South West Group, and of this policy;

b. makes recommendations to the Society Committee on gradings and on the effectiveness this policy;

c. makes recommendations concerning nominations of potential for South West Group.

2 The AGC shall comprise the Society Grading Officer (As Chairman), The Society Chairman, the Society Vice Chairman, Development Squad Manager and Appointment Secretaries. Any member who is an active referee will withdraw from the meeting during discussion of his/her grade.

3 The AGC will normally meet in May/June, for grading for the first half of the following season and in Dec/Jan for the second half. In addition, re-gradings may be made at any time of the season, if performance warrants. 

4. Applicability of this policy.

1 The policy shall apply to all referee members of the Society, but will be phased in, in the following manner:

a. all currently held grades will be respected, for a period of one season (2018/19), except for upgrades, so that the grade related criteria in Table 2 will not be required.

b. the policy will apply to any current referee who is promoted with effect from September 2018 and to all new members joining from September 2018.

Chairman, AGC August 2018


Appendix 1: Referee Pathway from Society to South West Group

Referees will be nominated by their Society and will normally meet the following criteria:

  • Will have demonstrated a clear ability to referee at level 6 and potential to perform at Group level.
  • Will have demonstrated ownership of their development by completing a Personal Development Plan (PDP)
  • Will have a portfolio of appropriate Match Observers Reports from both internal and external Referee Developers
  • Will be able to pass the appropriate fitness test, i.e., YoYo at Level 17.1.

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