Fife schools set to attend rugby festival to help 12-15 year old pupils

Three secondary schools in Fife are set to take part in a mass rugby festival tomorrow at Edinburgh Rugby’s Dam Health Stadium to help support children disengaged from school.

By Darren Gibb
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 2:44 pm

The initiative is being delivered by social-inclusion charity, School of Hard Knocks (SOHK), which changes lives by working with children and with NEET adults – not in education, employment or training - through a first of its kind rugby festival.

Lochgelly, Glenwood, and Inverkeithing High Schools will join five other schools from across the central belt to learn skills on and off the pitch to help improve school attendance and behaviour, reduce exclusions, promote positive physical and mental health and wellbeing, and support young people to realise their potential and prepare for the future.

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Previous participants of the project receiving training on the pitch.

The festival is sponsored by Baillie Gifford and delivered with Edinburgh Rugby.

Rosa Innes, programme manager of SOHK Scotland, said: “We’re a small team, with some very big ambitions to get people back into education and employment in Scotland throughout 2022 and beyond.

"We plan to increase the number of pupils we work with by 50 per cent in the new academic year and we will continue with men and women who have been trapped in long-term unemployment and emotionally challenging situations.

School of Hard Knocks programme manager, Rosa Innes. Pic: George McLuskie.

"Today was a brilliant opportunity for our participants who love showing off what they’ve learned. The young people that create better futures for themselves through SOHK are the real heroes of their own stories.

"It is so encouraging that Bailie Gifford is supporting this event and that Edinburgh Rugby has enabled us to hold it in a professional stadium.

"This is a real honour for our participants and will be another step in their greater ‘empowerment’ over their lives, which is an essential ingredient of what we are all about.”

Ruairidh Pye, Edinburgh Rugby community manager, said: “We’ve worked closely with School of Hard Knocks in the past year to increase the number of young people accessing rugby coaching, particularly in areas of deprivation and social need in the East of Scotland.

"The work that SOHK do is fantastic. Statistics show genuine improvements in the wellbeing of participants and the standard of rugby we’ve seen today, given most of these young people were beginners in August, is great to see!”