Top rugby coaching for Kelso pupils

Kelso High School pupils with the rugby coaches (picture by Graham Riddell)
Kelso High School pupils with the rugby coaches (picture by Graham Riddell)

Pupils from Kelso High School have benefited from a unique top-level coaching session with some of Scottish rugby’s leading coaches and players in a new initiative led by sportscotland, the national agency for sport, and BBC Scotland.

Former Scottish rugby 7s captain, Colin Gregor, ex-Scottish rugby union player, Alan Tait, and Scottish international 7s rugby union players Gavin Lowe and Nick Mclennan, were welcomed by pupils for a professional coaching experience to highlight the importance of sport within the Bowmont Street school’s curriculum.

Around 40 boys and girls attended the training session, hosted by the high-profile personalities, who gave the children some hints and tips as well as sharing tales from their sporting experiences across the years in the hope of encouraging the younger generation to take up the sport.

Colin Gregor said: “It was great to be involved in this event. There’s such a strong community feel, thanks to the school and rugby club working so closely together.

“Best of all, it’s fantastic to see how much the children love rugby.

“Sport has always played such a big part in my life and it is great to see the positive role it plays for these children and in the life of this school.

“We’ve had great fun and hopefully passed on a few new skills. There are definitely some strong rugby players here, so who knows – maybe one or two will be pulling on their own Scotland shirt one day!”

The pupils were also given an insight into the important role of sport in the media as the leading BBC Scotland radio programme, ‘Sportsound’, broadcast its evening programme from the school.

Presenter Geoff Webster was joined by a panel of experts on Scottish sport including Colin Gregor, Alan Tait, recently-retired Scottish international rugby union player, Sean Lamont, and BBC chief sports writer Tom English, allowing the pupils to understand more about the way sport is covered by the national broadcaster.

Geoff Webster hosted the session, giving pupils, parents, and staff the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with the sporting personalities on-air, asking about their career highlights as well as discussing Scotland’s sporting landscape.

Kelso High School also holds the sportscotland Gold School Sport Award, a prestigious national award that recognises innovation and achievement in delivering physical education and extra-curricular sport.

Headteacher, Jill Lothian, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting the BBC Scotland Sportsound outside broadcast. It’s such an innovative way to bring people together through sport. For our pupils, being coached by some of Scotland’s biggest names in rugby is something they will remember for years to come, and this has been made possible thanks to sportscotland, BBC Scotland and Kelso Rugby Club.”

sportscotland is building a world-class sporting system and is working in partnership with BBC Scotland to raise the profile of sport across the country.

As part of this initiative, the BBC will be taking ‘Sportsound’ on the road with the help of sportscotland to give young people a memorable experience while engaging in sport.

Stewart Harris, chief executive of sportscotland, said: “At sportscotland, putting young people at the centre of our efforts is a crucial part of what we do. Working in partnership with colleagues at the BBC, we hope to raise the awareness of sport and the openings that are available.

“It’s fantastic that the pupils at Kelso High School had the chance to train with professional Scottish rugby coaches.

“Through our Active School, School Sport Awards, and Young Ambassador programmes, we hope to create closer links between physical education, school sport, and club sport which benefits young people by providing more and better opportunities to take part in sport.”