8th February 2012

School of Rugby scores a try for healthy eating at Carrick Academy

left to right-D T H Van Der Merwe, Rebecca Graham,Lewis Burns and Callum Templeton.

Two Glasgow Warrior players, back D T H Van Der Merwe and forward Callum Templeton, who has played for Ayr, visited Carrick Academy at Maybole in Ayrshire on Tuesday 7 February as part of the School of Rugby programme which is supported by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

The CashBack for Communities funded programme will offer a catalyst to motivate and develop some of Scotland’s young people. It also aims to create an environment where sport makes a significant contribution to the delivery of “A Curriculum for Excellence,” playing a central role in the life of the school.

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), which sponsors Scottish Rugby, has developed a nutritional programme in association with the School of Rugby.  Jennifer Robertson, Health and Education Coordinator and qualified dietitian, commented on how the workshop builds on the QMS existing health and education programme.

She said: “Pupils have an opportunity to ask the players about their diet, the part red meat plays in their meal plans and the nutritional benefits it provides as everyone involved plays the QMS Proteens Quiz.

“The highlight of our visit is the “wrap challenge” where the players and some of the pupils are tested to see how much they have remembered as they make healthy tortilla wraps with a range of ingredients offered. The trick is to choose the healthy option!”

Keith Webster, Head Teacher of Carrick Academy said: “I am absolutely delighted with the way the School of Rugby programme has enhanced the strong rugby playing base that has been developed over the last few years in Carrick Academy.

“We now regularly field 6 sides, including a girls’ team, our S2 pupils are the current Ayrshire 7s champions and at the time of writing our 1st XV are looking forward to a semi-final tie in the Scottish Plate with a place in the final at Murrayfield on 22 February at stake.”

“The opportunities that our pupils get to participate in rugby are thanks largely to the unstinting effort, drive and determination of Gordon Brown, our PT of Social Studies and RME, also referred to as our Head of Rugby, who has also been instrumental in the development of the early stages of the School of Rugby programme within the school. Gordon draws on support from a wide range of staff, former pupils and parents to deliver an experience for our young people, which is quite outstanding, particularly when the relatively small pupil population is taken into account.”

“One of the unique features of our structure at Carrick is the fact that we employ 2 Scottish Rugby Modern Apprentices or MAs, Craig Davidson and Michael Kirk, who contribute significantly to our provision and enable us to include such a healthy number of young people in the sport.

“For me the most significant aspect of the School of Rugby programme, is the fact that it has allowed us, for the first time, to make the provision integral to the curriculum, which in turn has helped to increase awareness amongst our pupils about the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle and associated aspects such as the importance of diet, positive attitude, resilience and determination.

“I am also convinced that the introduction of the programme is having an impact on the general ethos of the school as it undoubtedly helps to develop a more positive attitude in general, with individual pupils, some of whom would certainly be tempted to opt for alternative lifestyle choices if it were not for the strength of the rugby provision within the school.”

Scottish Rugby’s Head of Community Rugby, Colin Thomson said: “Scottish Rugby believe that school sport plays an important role in the education of youngsters.

“Through the School of Rugby initiative we aim to develop youngsters into confident and competent individuals, showing the positive impact sport has on them and on the school communities they come from. “So far we have established partnerships with 18 schools in Scotland, all of varying playing levels, who have committed to establishing and developing this initiative in their school community. “We believe passionately that, by working with the education sector and the selected schools, we will demonstrate the educational benefits of rugby to young people and their communities.”

The initiative will provide a context for learning inside and outside of the classroom, allowing all pupils to experience rugby, and improve their fitness and physical literacy. This in turn will contribute to an enhanced educational experience in each of the participating schools.

Each School of Rugby will be supported with a package of resources, enabling more staff to deliver a thriving rugby programme across the school including a focused curricular programme for a number of S1 pupils.

The broad rugby programme consists of rugby teams of all ages, opportunities for the development of girls’ teams and non-playing opportunities for senior pupils, in rugby coaching, refereeing, volunteering and running sport in local primary schools and rugby clubs.


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