Video: Boxing lessons are huge hit with Kirkcaldy pupils

New programme is helping vulnerable students

Kirkcaldy High School has just introduced the programme which is designed to help pupils who may be finding school a bit difficult, who may not have great attendance record or who may have body image or confidence issues.

Liga and Baiba Bertrupe-Bergmane gang up on coach Kenny Anderson. Pics by FPA.

Liga and Baiba Bertrupe-Bergmane gang up on coach Kenny Anderson. Pics by FPA.

And it is proving so popular that there’s already a waiting list, with the school hoping to make it a regular part of the curriculum.

The boxing sessions are run by Rural Urban Training Scheme (RUTS), a Midlothian-based company which also offers motorbike and bike maintenance programmes for vulnerable young people aged 14-19 years.

Jennifer Davidson, depute head at KHS, said that 12 pupils were identified to take part in the programme, which runs over eight weeks.

“We had RUTS in last summer doing motorbike maintenance classes, which proved a great success, so when we heard about the boxing ones we thought they would be ideal for some of our S3 pupils.

The KHS pupils in the boxing ring

The KHS pupils in the boxing ring

“The pupils are really enjoying them, and you can see some of them beginning to come out their shells and growing in confidence.”

Derek Allan, rector, added that the sessions, which have only been running for four weeks, are already paying dividends.

“It is a different way of engaging pupils who may be having difficulties in regular lessons, helping to build their confidence and teaching them a variety of new skills which, as well as being used in boxing, are also very valuable for everyday life.

“They are learning to work as part of a team, all about health and wellbeing and also useful leadership skills.”

Baiba  runs through some moves with  fellow pupil Connor Costello

Baiba runs through some moves with fellow pupil Connor Costello

Cairn Quinn (14), one of those taking part, said: “I am scared of getting into fights, so I was glad to do this to learn to defend myself if I ever need to.

“I am learning a lot of new skills and getting to speak to lots of different people.”

Liga Bertrupe-Bergmane (14) is taking part in the boxing sessions with her twin sister Baiba.

She said: “We came here from Latvia nine years ago. I felt I didn’t have a lot of confidence and this is helping to build up my confidence.”

Liga practises her new skills with fellow pupil  Sean Greig.

Liga practises her new skills with fellow pupil Sean Greig.

The sessions which have been developed in conjunction with Boxing Scotland are run by former Commonwealth gold medal winner Kenny Anderson and Sandy Minty.

They have been running for around six months and Kenny said they were proving very popular.

“Nothing like this has been done in Scotland before.

“It is an introduction to boxing, teaching some core skills and helping to take kids out of their comfort zone in a relaxed way to build up their confidence and encourage them to exercise and look after themselves,” he explained.

“At the end of the eight weeks they will be presented with their own boxing gloves and if they decide they want to continue then we have been in touch with local clubs and we can let them know about them.”

Pupils will also receive an NPA Enterprise Award qualification on completion of the course.