Pupils on the field of dreams

Kirkland High School, Methil Brae, Methil;'School of Football run by SFA with ex-East Fife manager Jimmy Bone'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
Kirkland High School, Methil Brae, Methil;'School of Football run by SFA with ex-East Fife manager Jimmy Bone'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
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KIRKLAND High has become one of the few facilities in Scotland to be selected as a national School of Football.

The school entered a successful bidding process to secure the Scottish Football Association (SFA) lead project, which will see 16 pupils being given time out of class during their timetable to focus on football.

However, the six-period a week class, which will be coached by former East Fife boss Jimmy Bone, is much more than a kick about on the astro turf, with pupils also learning about discipline, diet and wellbeing.

Jimmy explained: “It’s a very exciting project which has been going for three years now for schools in deprived areas.

“It’s a project that’s not about talent or skill – we’re really looking to give the kids some social skills.

“We want to encourage the pupils to stay at school and enjoy being part of this – they’re all really excited about it.

“It’s a big commitment from the parents as well to let their kids take part.”

The selection process for the successful 16 S1 youngsters started when they were still pupils at one of Kirkland’s cluster primary schools.

Pupils had to apply to be part of it, with parental permission, before trials were held and the 16 chosen by Jimmy.

This year’s 16 will continue the course into S2 while another group of S1 youngsters will start next year.

Kirkland is the only school in Fife to run the project, but others across Scotland have reported an improvement in attendance and behaviour from those taking part.

Nicola Cunningham, the school’s head of health and wellbeing, told the Mail: “It’s all to do with supporting the pupils socially and academically through football.

“It’s great for us as a school and the pupils have access to staff at Hampden for medicals and all the latest sports science. It’s also great to have Jimmy here.”