A Golden Glow at Broomhouse

Broomhouse Primary School was recently presented with the sportscotland Gold School Sport Award; the highest award possible for showing a commitment to deliver sport and physical activity in schools in Scotland.

broomhouse primary children and teacher posing beside banner for gold sportscotlandaward

To date, three City of Edinburgh Council Primary Schools have been awarded ‘Gold’ status. Broomhouse’s award caught the eye nationally because it is in an area of multiple deprivation. Over 70% of the families in the school are entitled to free school meals. Research shows that many children in areas such as Broomhouse can struggle with their Health and Wellbeing and disengage from sport and physical activity at a young age.

‘The most effective way to be able to attain is to be fit and healthy’

According to the Head Teacher, Jamie Petrie, ‘In education we are, in many ways rightly or wrongly, judged by results and data from one - off tests. Those with the vision to see a bigger picture realise that attainment is important, but the journey (or River of Life as we call it here) to be able to attain is one full of complexities. The most effective way to be able to attain is to be fit and healthy. There is mileage in the phrase - a healthy body equals a healthy mind.’

Jamie expands on this theme by saying, ‘The challenge is to get this right for every child. It is our role to prepare our children for life and work. I have asked many business leaders what their top five attributes are for a potential employee. Surprisingly, exam results did not feature. The key skills and attributes desired are resilience, communication skills, confidence, leadership and the ability to solve problems. Exams or tests do not necessarily demonstrate all of these factors; participation in sport and physical activity do.’

Tracking children’s involvement in sport and building strong partnerships with local sports clubs are two key factors in Broomhouse’s success.

As Jamie further explains, ‘Children are in school approximately ten per cent of their lives up to the age of sixteen. It was clear we had to build stronger partnerships within our local community. The uptake at lunchtime clubs was good but there was a trend for children at Broomhouse not to attend sport and activity clubs after school or in the community’.

This began with a shared vision with Active Schools Coordinator Shona Clark. The school introduced a mechanism to identify, track and share the participation of every child. They were then able to encourage the inactive to become active.

The next step in the journey was to consult children and parents to find out what they wanted, where and when. The school looked at charges and committed funds to support children into clubs

The Community Sport Hub clubs based at nearby Forrester High School campus supported the school by providing activities both in and out of school. The results were amazing. New opportunities arose including free swimming, canoeing and tennis.

According to the most recent survey by Active Schools, Broomhouse now boasts the highest participation levels in sport and physical activity in their cluster and are currently the second highest in Edinburgh.

A golden glow rightly surrounds their approach and their achievements.

Footnote: The City of Edinburgh now have seven schools with a gold award; Broomhouse joins Hermitage Park Primary, St Joseph’s Primary, Woodlands ASN, Kaimes ASN, Portobello High School and Firrhill High School.

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