Highland schools continue to make the grade in sport delivery
A record number of Scottish schools – including 20 from Highland – have received a prestigious award from sportscotland in recognition of their commitment to putting sport at the heart of the school ethos.
The sportscotland School Sport Award is presented for innovation and achievement in delivering school sport and physical activity, with 747 schools across the country now in possession of an award. It recognises schools that put young people at the forefront of decision making and planning of school sport and PE while increasing participation opportunities.
The number of gold schools across Scotland now stands at an all-time high of 399, an increase of 40.5 per cent from last year’s total of 284, and a further 274 schools achieved silver and 74 bronze after a significant number completed their continuous improvement journey towards the gold award.
In Highland, Elgol Primary was awarded gold status this year taking the total of gold awards in the area to eight. Fortrose Academy, Kyleakin Primary, Gairloch High, Lochcarron Primary, Millburn Academy, Portree Primary and Staffin Primary are the other gold schools. Nine schools earned silver status and three achieved bronze.
Education Secretary John Swinney said: "Participation in sport and physical activity has an immensely positive impact on young people, improving their health, confidence and motivation. The record number of gold ratings is testament to the hard work of teachers and staff across the country in putting sport at the heart of the curriculum."
Stewart Harris, the chief executive of sportscotland, said: "It's testament to the work of a variety of partners, including thousands of pupils, parents, volunteers and teachers, that we can now say this is a record-breaking year for the School Sport Award. Each and everyone involved should be very proud of this fantastic achievement.
"There is an undoubted value in sport being at the heart of school life. With that in mind we are committed to helping build a Scotland where sport is a way of life and young people in schools are central to this."
Cllr John Finlayson, the chairman of Highland Council's Care, Learning and Housing Committee, said: "I am delighted that 20 schools in Highland have been awarded sportscotland School Sport Awards, eight of which are at gold level.
"A huge congratulations to the all our pupils and staff who have achieved these awards and a special thanks to all at Gairloch High; Millburn and Fortrose Academies; and Elgol, Kyleakin, Lochcarron, Portree and Staffin Primaries for their hard work.
"I am very pleased that our schools have received this accolade, but not surprised as I am acutely aware of how each school embraces sport and health and wellbeing and how active pupils from the schools are in taking part in many sporting activities.
"The fact that four of the eight gold awards schools are also from Skye shows that being in a rural area or being a small school is no barrier for schools and communities offering pupils a wide range of sports and activities. Staff, pupils and communities should all be congratulated for their part in achieving this success."
Funded by the National Lottery, the School Sport Award is a national initiative designed to encourage schools to continuously improve extra-curricular sport.
It also encourages links between schools and local communities, providing opportunities for young people to progress and further develop their sporting experiences. The award also encourages sporting links between schools and the communities around them, providing opportunities for young people to progress.
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 eight gold award winners were: Elgol Primary School, Fortrose Academy, Kyleakin Primary School, Gairloch High School, Lochcarron Primary School, Millburn Academy, Portree Primary School and Staffin Primary School.
There were nine silver award winners including: Alness Academy, Bun-Sgoil Ghaidhlig Loch Abar, Bun-Sgoil Ghaidhlig Phort Righ, Crown Primary School, Lochaber High School,Mallaig High School, Milton of Leys Primary School, Milton Primary School and South Lodge Primary School.
And the three bronze award winners were: Aviemore Primary School, Charleston Academy and Craighill Primary School.