Braes High pupils leading the way

Stevie Begen of Sports Leaders UK (third left), PE teacher Jonathan MacWhirter, head teacher Helen McCulloch and S4 pupils celebrate the school's achievement. Picture: Michael Gillen (132816a)
Stevie Begen of Sports Leaders UK (third left), PE teacher Jonathan MacWhirter, head teacher Helen McCulloch and S4 pupils celebrate the school's achievement. Picture: Michael Gillen (132816a)

Braes High School has become the first high school in the country to be given a prestigious status for sport.

The Reddingmuirhead school has been recognised for its outstanding leadership and voluntary work with pupils, which includes training placements with Falkirk Football Club.

Sport Leaders UK has awarded the school ‘Leadership Academy’ status, a first for a secondary school, making it one of only five educational establishments in Scotland to achieve the level.

PE teacher Jonathan MacWhirter has led the charge on introducing new programmes that give pupils leadership skills both in and out of school.

Youngsters in S4-S6 are lapping up the sports leader qualification and take part in and organise all manner of sporting events, help out with local sports clubs, assist PE teachers and run the school’s extra-curricular programme among other tasks.

Ryan Weir, an S4 pupil, said: “The leadership course is teaching me a lot of different skills, including ways of communicating with younger pupils to explain what I want them to do, and it has really helped me coach younger pupils in basketball.

“I hope to get my level three qualification in basketball and my ambition is to coach at club or national level after I leave school.”

Head teacher Helen McCulloch says the programme has had a huge effect on morale in the school and it is encouraging other pupils to do more leadership courses.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted that we are the first secondary school in Scotland to achieve this award.

“Thanks are due to Mr MacWhirter in PE who led the initiative and also to the outstanding pupils who have shown such great leadership skills.

“A growing number of sports leaders are involved in local clubs in the region too.”