Following the success of the Scottish athletes on Team GB and ParalympicGB at the 2016 Rio Games, 158 schools across Scotland have been awarded a prestigious national award for innovation and achievement in delivering physical education and extra-curricular sport.
Scottish Government Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell MSP, made the announcement today (2 February) at Park School in Kilmarnock, the first of two Additional Support Needs (ASN) schools to be presented with a sportscotland Gold School Sport Award.
As part of the national lottery funded programme, the sportscotland School Sport Award is an initiative designed to encourage schools to continuously improve physical education and sport. The Award also encourages sporting links between schools and the communities around them.
Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport, said: “It’s a pleasure to be here today at Park School to see the tremendous enthusiasm there is for sport and physical activity among the pupils and staff. This is just one of many schools across Scotland which are excelling in physical education and sport, and it’s important that they are recognised for their hard work and input.
“Fantastic initiatives like the sportscotland School Sport Award highlight the commitment we are making to encouraging and supporting children and young people to live an active life. I’d like to congratulate each and every one of the 531 schools who have been awarded gold, silver or bronze status.”
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: “Congratulations to all of the staff and pupils across the country for putting physical education and sport right at the heart of their school and local community. They should be proud of this fantastic achievement.
“At sportscotland we’re building a world-class sporting system for everyone, and a crucial part of that is putting young people at the centre of our efforts. Working with our partners in local authorities and governing bodies of sport, we are creating closer links between physical education, school sport and club sport, which benefits young people by providing more and better opportunities to take part in sport.”
There are currently 158 sportscotland Gold School Sport Award schools. 281 schools have been awarded Silver and 92 with Bronze. All of Scotland’s 32 local councils are engaged in the programme.
Park School in Kilmarnock and Kaimes School in Edinburgh have become the first two ASN schools to achieve the top accolade. sportscotland hopes that more ASN schools will be encouraged to engage in their School Sport Award programme and work towards achieving Gold status.
Stewart added: “The sportscotland School Sport Award is open to all schools, and we’re delighted to recognise our first ASN schools with a Gold Award for 2016-18. We hope next year we will see more ASN schools following Park School and Kaimes Schools’ exemplary lead.”
Boccia brothers, Jamie and Scott McCowan, from Dundonald also attended the event to inspire the pupils with their experience of representing ParalympicGB in Rio 2016. They were joined by their parents Gary and Linda, who competed alongside them as their ramp assistants during the Games.
Scott McCowan said: “I got involved in sport by attending a multi-sports event for disabled people in my local area. I tried a variety of sports, but the boccia coach was really keen for me to give it a go. I eventually gave in and loved it - I’ve never looked back. For me, this really reinforced the importance of sporting activities being available in schools and local communities. It’s great that sportscotland has a programme that awards schools for really putting sport at the heart of their curriculum.”
To achieve a Bronze or Silver sportscotland School Sport Award, schools self-assess their current practice. However, to gain Gold status an extensive external assessment is also carried out by an independent panel of experts.
The Award is supported by the Active Schools Network, a programme that involves sportscotland working in partnership with all 32 local authorities to encourage schools to ensure there are opportunities for all children and young people to engage, participate and reach their potential in this area.
The on-line self-assessment tool supports schools to achieve this by helping them to reflect on their current practice and identify areas for improvement. It also puts the young people in the school at the forefront of the decision making and implementation processes around sport in their school.