Two schools in Orkney have received prestigious Gold sportscotland School Sport Awards.
Sanday Community School and Kirkwall Grammar School have received the awards, which highlight the dedication of pupils, school staff, parents, volunteers and Orkney Islands Council’s Active Schools team in making the schools an example of sporting excellence.
Funded by the National Lottery, School Sport Awards are presented for innovation and achievement in delivering school sport and physical activity, with 399 schools across the country now in possession of a Gold award.
Four are in Orkney - Stromness Academy and Shapinsay Primary school have previously received Gold.
They recognise schools that put young people at the forefront of decision making and planning of school sport and PE, while also increasing participation opportunities.
In Sanday, the school aims to instill a positive attitude which encourages pupils to take part in various activities that are held over the terms. As a junior high school, many initiatives led by PE teacher Margaret Dearness have run from nursery right through to S4. These include an annual triathlon, gymnastics display, swimming gala and sports day.
There are also initiatives such as the Young Ambassadors, led by Active Schools Coordinator Catherine Johnson - senior pupils who organise and lead sport and physical activity clubs at the school. The pupils also participate in ‘Mega Mile’, regular PE lessons with class teachers and a wide range of after-school clubs run by volunteers.
Kristen Muir, Principal Teacher, said: “Some of our Secondary pupils travel regularly to Kirkwall to attend clubs such as netball and sea kayaking, however it is difficult for younger pupils to take part, so we need to bring the clubs to them. Each term we try to offer different activities. Our local community is rich in amazing people who love to help us out.”
Stewart McPhail, Head Teacher of Sanday Community School, wants to thank all those involved and said: “The Gold Award is recognition of the hard work everyone has put in over the past few years.”
Don Hawkins, Head Teacher at KGS, said: “It’s a pleasure and privilege to work in a school where we not only recognise and celebrate the achievements of our young people but also that of our many staff coaches, mentors and volunteers.
“In Orkney we are only too well aware that our athletes face specific geographical challenges. For example, high travel costs for training and competition. At KGS we work with our many partners to try and ensure that no athlete is disadvantaged because of where they live.”
He went on to say: “At KGS, we take pride in the fact that pupils are keen to take on some leadership roles within the sports as well as take in part in them. In recent years this has seen pupils being nominated for the Orkney Sports Awards, not only for performing well within their sport but also for volunteering. This is echoed within the KGS staff who also volunteer as coaches and lead the extra-curricular activities.”
Graham Lindsay, Partnership Manager, sportscotland, said: “It’s clear that the schools have put an incredible amount of work into this award and I can say that the assessment panel were extremely impressed with the quality of work and passion on display by the school community.
“This is one of the reasons why KGS has been picked to be the next school filmed for the promotional video for the School Sports Awards. They were particularly pleased with the work around equality and inclusion that the schools are engaged in.”
He went on to say: “This award is not just about how well schools are doing in winning medals, but how well the school is working with the community, clubs and coaches through collaboration and team work.”
For more information on the sportscotland School Sport Award visit their website.