Former pupil and Edinburgh Rugby Front Row player Lewis Niven, returned to Trinity Academy as part of the School of Rugby programme which is supported by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).
The CashBack for Communities funded programme 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!”
Duncan Macleod, a teacher at Trinity Academy said: “Trinity Academy has a strong history of playing rugby and the school has produced rugby players for over 90 years. The introduction of the School of Rugby has further enhanced the player base and provided opportunities that have enabled us to develop and progress our rugby program within the school.
“We regularly field five sides, including a girls’ team, and our Under 16’s are looking forward to a semi-final tie in the Scottish Bowl.
“The opportunities for our pupils to participate in rugby are thanks largely to the unstinting effort, drive and determination of Allan Spencer, our PT of Expressive Arts, also referred to as our Head of Rugby, who has also been instrumental in Trinity Academy becoming Edinburgh’s only School of Rugby.
“Trinity Academy draws has excellent links within North Edinburgh’s rugby community and we draw on these to support the School of Rugby. BATs community rugby in particular has provided us with quality coaching, allowing us to provide an excellent experience for the young people involved.”
“Rugby has always been a part of the curriculum at Trinity Academy, for both boys and girls, and for me the School of Rugby has further enhanced the standing of rugby within the school. The most significant aspect of the School of Rugby programme is the fact that it has increased participation levels. In our target S1 group we have 34 pupils playing rugby within the school and have exposed more pupils to the positive environment experienced in team sports and the benefits of leading a healthy and active lifestyle.”
“I am also convinced the introduction of the programme has an impact on the general ethos of the school as it undoubtedly helps to develop a more positive general attitude 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.