Camanachd Association announce Scotland’s first School of Shinty

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Kingussie High School and the Camanachd Association are delighted to announce Scotland’s first School of Shinty (2018). The initiative is the first of its kind in Scotland connecting more young people with more shinty throughout the academic year. It was launched on October 10, exactly 125 years since the Camanachd Association was formed in Kingussie.

The School of Shinty is a joint initiative between Kingussie High School and the Camanachd Association, with support from the local shinty clubs, Newtonmore and Kingussie Camanachd.

The exciting plans are aimed at ensuring continued growth of shinty within Kingussie High School to meet the development aims of both the school and the local clubs.

The School of Shinty will begin with a 10-week block of shinty this year from October to December, and then in year two it will be offered continuously throughout the year as part of an elective.

As well as the development of shinty skills and match tactics, the school will offer opportunities to learn about an overall approach to sport, including the physical fitness, time management, mental preparation and nutrition/hydration required to compete at the top of any sport.

The key aspects of shinty that the school will incorporate includes:
* Coach education (staff and pupils).
* Officiating education (staff members and pupils) delivered by the Camanachd Association regional development manager with support from the local shinty clubs.

The overall vision of the school of shinty is to enhance even stronger links between the high school and the local clubs, grow the number of people involved in shinty and improve the core skills of those participating through more time on task.

The Camanachd Association are currently exploring opportunities for a number of similar initiatives across the country to further develop the game and importantly support our clubs in their efforts to sustain participation throughout secondary school.

Announcing the inspired new initiative, acting head Ian Adamson said: ‘We are excited to be in partnership with the Camanachd Association to be the first School of Shinty in Scotland and the benefits that this will have on not only Kingussie High School but the local shinty teams and community is fantastic. The programme will allow youngsters to develop their shinty skills and form pathways to local junior teams and eventually for some the first teams of Kingussie and Newtonmore. At the same time, pupils will also be developing a range of important skills like teamwork, communication and resilience. I recently visited another school outside of Highland that has a well-established school of sports and the engagement, attendance and attainment of the pupils involved has progressed significantly since it started.’

Derek Keir, chief executive of the Camanachd Association, is also delighted with the announcement and said: ‘Primary school participation has grown substantially over the past few years. However, sustaining this into secondary schools was highlighted as a priority through our club consultations last year. As a result, we have been working hard with education and indeed secondary schools across Scotland to explore innovative solutions that broaden the number of people delivering shinty and enhance the number of opportunities young people have to access our sport. The School of Shinty presents more time on task for aspiring players and will be delivered through the curriculum to complement the extracurricular provision already provided. One of the principles of the curriculum is relevance and there is not a more relevant sport in shinty communities to have as a context for learning.’

The local clubs are also fully behind the idea, and Norman MacArthur, president of Newton­more Camanachd said: ‘Newtonmore Camanachd is delighted to be a partner in the new School of Shinty at Kingussie High School.

‘It is an exciting initiative that could spell the way forward for the sport of shinty in many parts of the country. It is good news that shinty is developing in this way, and it will help to keep teenage players involved in the sport. The more the partners can work together the healthier the future of shinty will be in Badenoch.’

Russell Jones, president of Kingussie Camanachd, said: ‘Kingussie Camanachd is delighted to support Kingussie High School in this partnership to promote shinty. Kingussie, Newtonmore, Kincraig and Badenoch and Strathspey Ladies’ Shinty clubs all operate within a 10-mile radius of the school. As well as being socially and culturally important to keep the game strong in our area, encouraging students to play shinty in school can lead to long and successful playing careers with these local clubs, therefore promoting health and wellbeing long in to adulthood.’

Sportscotland chair Mel Young, said: ‘It is great news that Kingussie High School, the Camanachd Association and local clubs will be working together to create Scotland’s first School of Shinty. Initiatives like this and strong links between partners within the sporting community will continue to help the sport grow. At sportscotland we will keep working closely with partners right across the country to improve opportunities in sport as part of a world-class sporting system.’