You get out what you put in

Champions in Scotland (CIS) has been working in 20 schools across Scotland in the academic year 2015/16 alongside the Government’s ‘Raising Attainment for All’ initiative.

The aim of the collaboration has been to show the positive impact role models can have to help close the attainment gap in Scotland’s schools between those young people who achieve and those who do not.

My old PE teacher instilled several values in me going through school. I remember Mrs Mackie shouting at the top of her lungs during lessons in an attempt to inspire some effort from the class “you get out, what you put in!!”.

During a visit to a school last week, I wondered if Mrs Mackie had been shouting at staff and pupils there too?! It was clear that this school had absolutely bought into the CIS programme and had gained a huge amount from their involvement.

Champions in Scotland can be the springboard for change in a young person’s life. Hearing simple but profound messages from a Scottish athlete who perhaps grew up in the same locality or had a similar upbringing or similar stories from their childhood can resonate with young people in a unique way.

The most prevalent example of the Champions in Scotland springboard in action, centres around one third year participant who was less engaged in school life than when she had arrived from primary school and was low in confidence and lacking resilience when things got tough.

The final CIS activity, involved a pupil-led Continuous Learning Development (CLD) session for staff. The young girl and the rest of her group planned, practiced and delivered a series of team-building exercises to 25 teachers and school staff. Everyone had fun; staff adopted a growth mindset to embrace new challenges and the girls learned new skills including time management, public speaking and leadership.

In an altogether successful and inspiring use of Champions in Scotland, the most inspirational moment came from the third year pupil, who appeared the quietest, least engaged, seemingly least interested young girl. At the first visit our Champion hadn’t heard her speak once. By the final visit, this girl was the most confident, had the strongest public speaking voice, and instructed the group of staff at the CLD session with total clarity and conviction. At the end she declared to the Champion how much she had enjoyed the programme, that she had learned skills for life, and how the experience had inspired her to work towards university to become a teacher in later life.

It doesn’t get better than that. I love my job!


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