Colourful walk helps launch schools link

Some of the Balwearie youngsters get ready for the walk
Some of the Balwearie youngsters get ready for the walk

Hundreds of youngsters from Balwearie High School took part in a huge sponsored walk around Kirkcaldy’s Beveridge Park on Tuesday.

The ‘Welcome Walk,’ which involved around 1600 youngsters walking a 5 km circuit of the park, was held to mark the launch of a new partnership with a primary school in Cape Town in South Africa.

And, as well as raising over £8000 for the Welcome Primary School in the country’s second largest city, the exercise was to promote the school’s health and wellbeing agenda, part of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Pupils were invited to take part wearing anything in the colours of the South African flag, which did not limit their choice, and a variety of weird and wonderful costumes and outfits were on display as each of the school’s houses gathered one by one on the playing fields to set off on the walk, piped at the starting line by six pipers who are pupils at the school.

The project has been led by the school’s new depute head teacher, Steven McGuckin, who had close links with another school in South Africa in his previous post at Larbert High School.

All proceeds from the sponsored walk will help to change the lives and prospects of pupils attending Welcome Primary where youngsters face daily challenges such as hunger, crime, drugs, gangs and violence.

And, as well as taking part in the walk, the school held an afternoon of activities and information sessions centred on South Africa, to help the youngsters understand more about what life is like for the pupils at Welcome primary.

James More, rector, said: “This kind of social link has never been done before at Balwearie and we are really looking forward to developing it through communication with the school.

“Senior pupils filmed the walk and activities so the pupils in Cape Town can see what we have been doing.”

Mr McGuckin added: “I thought the walk was an outstanding success and it shows just what kind of a school Balwearie is. The pupils had fun and learned at the same time and it is this contextualised learning that can sometimes be missing from schools.

“We have 32 pupils from S1 to S3 going out to Cape Town in October 2014 on an exchange trip, so they will be able to see what their work can help to achieve. It is not a charitable link, but from all that the pupils have learned about the school and the challenges its pupils face, we do feel a sense of social responsibility towards them.”