NMSRFR Grading Policy

This policy confirms the Society’s view that a referee is responsible for their own development.

Measuring the performance of a referee can never be an exact science. Some people may have an inflated opinion of their ability whilst others may not have as much confidence. That being said, in the interests of openness and fairness only those comments that are attributable and evidence based will be used. Usually, but not exclusively these comments will be in the form of assessor and/or coaches reports.

A referee applying for re-grading will be able to view all comments used about them in the process.

The final decision on a referee’s grade will ordinarily be that of the Grading Director. However there will be circumstances whereby the Grading Director could be seen as having a vested interest e.g. coaching one of the applicants. In these situations the Grading Director MUST excuse themselves from the decision making process and accept the decision of the Grading Committee.

The Grading Director will report the decisions arrived upon to the Board for information purposes.

The Grading Director will be responsible for informing the individual the result of their application. This will normally be verbally unless circumstances prevent or the applicant signifies another method is suitable.

Once all individuals have been informed of their own situation the Grading Director will, through the Society Web Site, inform the general membership of the changes.


The application will be in the form of a brief Personal Development Plan evidencing their reasons. The PDP should include personal information such as (not exclusively) age, issues which may impact on availability, playing experience, rugby club membership, ambition and refereeing experience. Included in the application could be copies of assessors reports, coaching reports, information from Club cards (if applicable), date and results of fitness and Law test and Society training sessions attended. The latter requirement will be phased in.

A referees age will not be a bar to re-grading.

If a referee chooses not to go through this process, they will not be re-graded; it is their responsibility.

Applications should be sent to the Grading Director by e-mail having regard to the closing dates specified.

It is hoped that the results of the applications will be decided within one month of the closing date.


To accelerate the referee learning process for those selected.

It is intended for level 7 referees and below, level 6 referees are the responsibility of the Federation. Level 6 referees may attend the meetings to pass on their experiences.

The number on the Squad, will not be fixed but rather depend on the quality and potential of the applicants.

In line with the Society view that referees should take responsibility for their own development, those seeking a place on the Squad will be required to;

1)         Apply for a position on the Squad

The application will be in the form a Personal Development Plan. The plan, which should be brief, will need to include some relevant personal information, details of any refereeing experience, playing experience if appropriate and where possible evidence supporting the application which will usually be assessors or coaches report(s).

The application will be sent by e-mail to the Grading Director who will ensure compliance with the procedure before forwarding to the Grading Committee for selection.

The application will be date specific, ordinarily at the end of a season in preparation for the next.

The Society web site will confirm the details and application process.

2)         Be successful at a fitness test relevant to the grade above their current status.
The fitness test will involve testing stamina and speed. Failure will result in the place not being available to the applicant.

3)         Be successful at a Rugby Law test.
The test will be a multi choice type of examination. The rationale is self explanatory. Failure will result in the place not being available to the applicant.

Having regard to points 2 and 3 the applicant will be allowed one re-test in the case of failing at the first opportunity.

The Law Test will include playing protocols relevant to the grade.

4)         Be routinely available for Saturday appointments as well as the occasional Sunday and midweek games which may include AR appointments.

5)         Attend a majority of Society training meetings.

6)         Attend extra training sessions (likely to be three) specific to the Development Squad.

7)         To interact, encourage and help others in the Squad, sharing experiences particularly pre and post match.

8)         To be proactive in the allocation and collection of club cards as appropriate.

9)         A Development Squad member must be a fully paid up member of the Society.

The Society Will
1)         Allocate a coach to each Development Squad member.
2)         Having regard to the overall appointment system and the demands of the Society as a whole, try to allocate games to Squad members that reflect their potential for accelerated development.

Development Squad membership will normally be reviewed annually.  Either party (member or Society) can terminate the arrangement as necessary.

Those applicants who are not chosen for the Squad will have the reasons explained to them by the Grading Director.

The Grading Director and members of the Grading Committee will not be involved in any decision regarding a referee they have an interest in, e.g. coach.

The Grading Director has overall responsibility for the Development Squad but may ask another Society member(s) to assist as necessary. Any such assistance will be notified to the Board for information.