Two schools in Orkney have been recognised this week with a prestigious national award for innovation and achievement in delivering physical education and extra-curricular sport.
The sportscotland Gold School Sport Award was presented to staff and pupils at Shapinsay Primary School on Monday (24 September) and Stromness Academy on Tuesday (25 September).
sportscotland’s Head of School and Community Sport and National Lead for School Sports Awards - Jacqueline Lynn and Nicola Thomson – were on hand to celebrate the achievement, along with representatives from each school and from the Council’s Active Schools team.
A National Lottery funded programme, the sportscotland School Sport Award is a national initiative that is designed to encourage schools to continuously improve physical education and sport.
Shapinsay Primary and Stromness Academy are the first schools in Orkney to reach their Gold award. It’s no small feat - each school was required to go through a rigorous on-line self-assessment process, aimed at helping them to reflect on their current practice and identify areas for improvement. This work was then assessed by a panel made up from sportscotland and other national sporting bodies.
Each school had the support of the Council’s Active Schools team – part of sportscotland’s national Active Schools Network - to help build a solid foundation from which to develop their plans and progress through their Awards.
Key to the Awards was that schools could demonstrate putting young people in the school at the forefront of the decision making and implementation processes around sport in their school.
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland said: “Congratulations to all the staff and pupils at both schools - they should be extremely proud of this fantastic achievement. Not only have they put physical education and sport at the heart of their school and local community, but they have managed to do so in a way that encourages all pupils to engage in physical activity whilst having fun at the same time.
“sportscotland is committed to 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.”
Garry Burton, Sport and Leisure Service Manager for Orkney Islands Council, said: “A Gold Sports Award is a huge achievement for a school. It shows that schools have taken the time to look really hard at their provision for pupils with the help of the Active Schools team, found out from pupils where they feel the school is at, and then worked with pupils to figure out what needs to be put in place, or done to enhance what’s already there.
“It really is all about looking at sports from the pupils’ perspective and getting them involved in moving things forward. It’s a lot of hard work and assessment by a panel to reach Gold status - so congratulations to everyone at Stromness Academy and Shapinsay Primary involved, and well done for setting the bar for all the other schools around Orkney working on their development plans.”
The first school to have their Gold status announced was Shapinsay Primary, with a presentation taking place on Monday 24 September at the school.
Following the ceremony, Head Teacher at Shapinsay Primary, Emma Clements, said: "We are delighted that we have achieved the Gold Award. This has been due to the hard work in particular of Leanne Bews and the Sports Committee (consisting of pupils, staff and parents), along with help from Kirsty Spence from Active Schools.
"All the children here at Shapinsay School get at least two hours of PE per week, as well as extra fitness activities on days when we don't have PE. They have the chance to take part in sporting clubs through school, and new clubs have been set up while "going for gold". The sports committee are looking to the future now to make sport in Shapinsay even better!
Stromness Academy's announcement took place on Tuesday 25 September with a surprise presentation for the pupils.
Head Teacher at Stromness Academy, Jane Partridge, said: “Sport is really strong at Stromness Academy, and it's not just about young people's physical and mental health and wellbeing - it's also a key tool in developing leadership ability.
“I'm really proud of our young leaders who run a vibrant programme of lunchtime activities for our own pupils and contribute so much to primary school sport and in the community.
“My congratulations go to the Sports Committee under the leadership of Sports Captain Callie Davidson, our fantastic PE department led by Belinda Morrison, the staff from other departments who lead extra-curricular sporting activities and all the young people who lead or participate in sport.
“This award recognises all of your efforts, whether you are one of our elite sportsmen and -women training for high-level competition or you're just learning to pick yourself up and try again after falling over at roller derby - every one of you was part making this award happen.”
Over 600 schools currently hold a sportscotland School Award. 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.
Schools in Orkney currently doing sport awards are:
For more information about School Sports Awards, visit the SportScotland website.
sportscotland is the national agency for sport. It is a non-departmental public body, responsible through ministers to the Scottish Parliament. It is a National Lottery Fund distributor and is governed by National Lottery distribution rules. sportscotland invest Scottish Government and National Lottery resources to build a world-class sporting system for everyone in Scotland. For further information, visit the sportscotland website.
The sportscotland School Sport Award focuses on the following 9 core areas:
The School Sport Award review panel consist of representatives from the following groups and organisations:
sportscotland works in partnership with all 32 local authorities to invest in and support the Active Schools Network. The Network consists of over 400 managers and coordinators dedicated to developing and supporting the delivery of quality sporting opportunities for children and young people, to ensure there are opportunities for all children and young people to engage, participate and reach their potential in this area.
Active Schools aims to provide more and higher quality opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity before school, during lunchtime and after school, and to develop effective pathways between schools and sports clubs in the local community.