Thursday the 28th of April will see hundreds of school pupils taking part in a celebration of sport at Kingussie High School in an event organised by the High Life Highland Community Sports Hub in Aviemore as well as school staff. The club sport event will involve dozens of club coaches and national governing bodies of sport working with the school to deliver over 20 activities to over 250 school pupils.
Kingussie High School has supported a number of current and former pupils to become world class athletes. With 15 Olympians coming from Badenoch & Strathspey; the local area and its schools have produced more Olympians per head of population compared to anywhere else in the UK. This was recognised in 2007 when Lord Coe unveiled a bronze statue in Aviemore to celebrate the Olympic achievements of athletes from Badenoch & Strathspey.
The club sport event has been organised to help inspire the next generation of sports stars by giving them the opportunity to try new sports and find out about further opportunities to take part in sport. Each pupil has selected 3 different sessions and will receive 30mins of coaching in a range of sports, from cycling to tennis, football to dance.
Donald Hall, Community Sport Hub officer at High Life Highland stated “This event is a great example of what a Community Sport Hub can achieve by working in partnership to encourage school aged children to get more involved with sport and physical activity opportunities taking place in the local area. It will help establish new links between clubs and the school so that there is a strong sporting legacy for the future.”
David Smith, who won Gold in rowing at the 2012 London Paralympics, was a former pupil of the school. Several other former pupils went on to become Olympians and are now working as professionals in the sports industry, these include Andrew Freshwater (1998 Olympics), Lesley McKenna (2002, 2006, 2010 Olympics) and Noel Baxter (2002, 2006 Olympics). Baxter now works with the British Ski team coaching the next generation of Olympians and stated “School sport played an important part in my development as a young athlete. The PE department supported me and the school allowed me to train and compete abroad. I was able to take part in a range of sports offered by the school and local clubs which helped me to develop my all round athletic ability”
Each pupil will receive a flyer on local sporting opportunities and given the chance to join clubs and get involved in new sports. It is hoped that new links will be established between the school, sports governing bodies and local clubs so that a sporting pathway will be further developed. Sports ambassadors from the school will be identified as a future point of contact together with the PE department and Active Schools Coordinator. Ollie Bray, Headteacher at Kingussie stated “The school really believe that sport and physical activity can have a very positive impact on the educational attainment and health of our pupils. We are delighted to be working with the Aviemore Community Sport Hub and a range of clubs & partners to develop this unique initiative and give our pupils further opportunities to get involved in local sport”
sportscotland, the national agency for sport is supporting this initiative and a partnership manager will be coming along to support the day. Sports development staff and PE teachers from other schools will also be in attendance so they can develop similar initiatives in other schools throughout the Highlands.
Stewart Harris, sportscotland’s Chief Executive, said “Community Sport Hubs are a great legacy success story and have delivered a huge boost to community sport in every local authority area in Scotland. There are almost 1,000 clubs and 115,000 members across the Hubs, which offer a wide range of sports and activities, and this is providing more and better opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to take part.”
The Aviemore Community Sport hub, part of the Scottish Government & sportscotland legacy 2014 project is delivered locally by High Life Highland is working in partnership with school staff and Active Schools to pull together the club sport day.