Glenboig Primary in the running for top sports prize

 SPORTY pupils from Glenboig Primary can often be found jumping for joy – as well as bowling, trying martial arts, shooting hoops, dribbling footballs, cycling and even discovering new hit kanjam  Now they have even more reason to celebrate after being shortlisted as a finalist in the school category at tomorrow’s prestigious Scottish sports awards, in recognition of the school’s efforts in establishing a dizzying array of sports clubs involving almost every one of its 128 pupils  They now have three teams taking part in the west region basketball development league, black-belt youngsters leading karate sessions for their team mates, and even attracted 300 people to a community sports day earlier this term  Youngsters and staff showcased the incredible variety of activities on offer at a celebration marking the presentation of their gold award from sportscotland  They will discover tomorrow if they have claimed the national award at the 13th annual Sunday Mail ceremony in Glasgow   Head teacher Cat Calvert told the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser how Glenboig’s incredible sporting success came after a survey of pupils and families on health and wellbeing priorities indicated that youngsters wanted to be able to try different sports and represent their school competitively  From a starting point of just one in five pupils being involved in the Active Schools programme, Glenboig now has 25 sports groups running at breakfast time, during lunch breaks and after school with 91 per cent of pupils involved in at least one; with a huge variety on offer including some surprise hits  Mrs Calvert said: “Things have taken off over the course of the past year, but we didn’t think it would go anywhere near this level – it’s really snowballed and has been amazing, as we just never thought we’d achieve so much  “Pupils told us they wanted specialist clubs, so we built a variety of links with lots of different local organisations and asked people to run them; two of our teachers went on a training course to be able to offer gymnastics and some of the parents have trained to run them too  “I didn’t think for a second that basketball would become the favourite sport, but we’ve ended up with four different clubs and three teams in the league, which no primary school has ever done  “We’ve formed an excellent relationship with Glasgow Rocks, taking pupils to professional games and letting them meet the players We took 83 people to their charity match and raised £300 for Glasgow Children’s Hospital charity; and our pupils think we’re a school of basketball!  “Boccia has been a real surprise hit – we first brought it in to support children who had impaired movement and didn’t know how successful it would become, but it was one of the hits at our community sports day and the pupils love it  “We had nine different sports on offer that day including football, athletics, cycling, dance and boot camp, all linked to local clubs; there were also workshops for parents on everything from finance to mental health, and the whole event was really busy  “People especially loved kanjam, which involves throwing a frisbee at oil-drum targets Our chaplaincy team ran it and we had to have time slots for people to join in as it was so popular!  “We’re hoping to take it forward in the community and have the equipment available in the area for anyone to play with ”  As well as increasing the number of pupils participating in sport, Glenboig Primary is also ensuring that the youngsters have the opportunity to take part in competitions to test and demonstrate their new skills; and that they have pathways to pursue their new interests at local clubs  Mrs Calvert added: “The clubs have been really supportive; we couldn’t have done as much without them and these links have really opened doors; it’s all driven by the children, who have so many ideas and are never limited  “Our sports project has also raised the ethos in the school phenomenally – the children love having the opportunity to do the hard work and practice and to shine; it builds resilience and their willingness to try new things has just flourished  “There’s been an impact on attainment and we can attribute some of that to the sport they’re doing; they’re focused and willing to take on new learning, and skills such as listening have improved as they’re used to applying these in in sport, following instructions from their coaches ”  Glenboig’s sporting success was recognised this week when sportscotland representatives visited to award pupils and staff their well-earned gold award, with the head teacher adding of their work: “We celebrate sport at assemblies and special events  “Pupils who do sports outside such as ice skating will talk about their progress and achievements, we use Twitter to share what’s going on and we've had athletes in to visit, which always causes another flurry of interest ”  Glenboig will be up against Glasgow schools St Brigid’s Primary and St Paul’s High at tomorrow’s 13th annual Sunday Mail sports awards, which will be attended by more than 500 guests including a host of Scottish sporting stars  Mrs Calvert added: “We were so stunned to be named as finalists and so proud of the school and all that’s been achieved, through the time and effort of pupils, staff, parents and the community pulling together  “To be in that final three is huge recognition of what we’ve done and makes us want to keep going ”   Click here to read more from the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser