A record number of Scottish schools - 12 of them from Orkney - have received a prestigious award from sportscotland in recognition of their commitment to school sport.
The sportscotland School Sport Award is presented for innovation and achievement in delivering 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 opportunities to take part.
The number of gold award schools across Scotland now stands at an all-time high of 399, an increase of 40.5% on last year’s total of 284. A further 274 schools achieved silver and 74 bronze.
In Orkney, Kirkwall Grammar and Sanday Junior High earned gold awards this year, joining Shapinsay Primary and Stromness Academy as the area’s gold schools.
North Walls Community School, Pierowall Junior High (Primary), Stenness Primary, Stronsay Junior High (Primary) and Westray Junior High achieved silver while Dounby Primary, Rousay Primary and Stromness Primary earned bronze.
Chief Executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, 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.”
Councillor Gwenda Shearer, Chair of Orkney Islands Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing committee, said: “We’re so proud to have another two schools - KGS and Sanday Junior High - reaching gold status this year following last year’s success by Shapinsay Primary and Stromness Academy.
“It reflects a lot of hard work and creative thinking by pupils, staff and the wider community - and the Active Schools teams who support them - to put sport and opportunities for being active right at the heart of school life.
“I’d also congratulate the eight other schools in Orkney who hold bronze and silver awards - I hope they are inspired by our four gold schools to continue their progress towards even better sporting links and opportunities in their community.”
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.