GLENWOOD High School is leading the way in Fife with an inovative rugby project which aims to tackle more than just sporting improvements, reports KEVIN QUINN.
Since starting last summer Glenwood’s School of Rugby has been seen as a success, not just on the field, but more importantly- off it.
The school is one of 18 across Scotland offering Rugby as a subject, and the only school in Fife to do so. 19 S1 pupils in the first year of a two year programme, have five periods of Rugby a week.
Nick Burge, Teacher of Physical Education and Principal Teacher of Guidance at Glenwood,
He said: “It’s amazing, it’s a brand new programme, so there will be a certain amount of uncertainty.
“But on the whole those who have invested in it and have interest in it have seen it as a successful programme.
“This is a partnership between Cashback for Communities and Scottish Rugby. What that means is that the money is available.
“That pays for pupils to be part of this school of rugby.
“It’s an academic programme. Making sure they are attending, and meeting high standards.
“The sessions are tough but there is an expectation that they need to be performing at an above normal standard with everything else at school.
“What we want for them is to try the best as they can and use the school of Rugby as a stimulus.
“Behaviour is good and attendance is excellent.
“The funding is only for two years, so during then we need to build a relationship between the school and parents, so we can take it further.
“They will leave the course a more responsible citizen.
“But those who want to take the rugby further, we need to facilitate that with local rugby clubs.
“We would tie them up with our team too.
“While in the course they have a team. They play in the ‘react to Rugby’ league. It’s all under 14 teams across Fife.
“They have won fixtures and they have lost fixtures.
“But, we have hooked up with Dollar Academy, Rob Moffat is the coach there and former Edinburgh Rugby coach (CHECK). He has agreed to take the boys for a one off training session and then we will play them.
“It’s difficult to find the right level of competition.
The School of Rugby at Glenwood currently only runs utill the end of S2.
Mr Burge revealed that funding for S1 and S2 to participate in the School of Rugby will contunue for the forseeable future.
“It was able to offer disciplinary links which are central to the curriculum of excellence and it came with funding, which allowed us to do it.
“There was an application process.
“We delivered rugby in our S1, S2 curriculum for boys and girls.
“We also offered coaching opportunities to our pupils.
“As far as a centre that invest in rugby, we were seen as doing that and so were seen as a school that would do it.
“I will not invest my time in something I cant justify the worth off.
“Since this started I have genuinely seen the personal qualities of these boys develop, in rugby, and as people. Making social improvements.
“They have all improved.
“I get a genuine thrill to see that improvement in them.
“And, the feedback has been great from parents and pupils.”
Glenwood Rector Neil McNeil said: “This is fantastic for our pupils. I am delighted that Scottish Rugby are working in partnership with the school to provide this unique valuable opportunity. Rugby at Glenwood continues to evolve and this programme further demonstrates how rugby, and indeed sport on the whole, can positively impact on the lives of our pupils.
Principal Teacher Health and Wellbeing at the school, Chris Barr, said: “I am delighted with the impact the School of Rugby has on the already positive ethos within the PE Department. I have been impressed by the high standards the School of Rugby boys have set; they always have their PE kit, they are hard working and are now performing to a good standard in all PE activities as well as Rugby. It is clear that this is having a positive effect with their peers.”