Aberdeenshire schools honoured in national school sport awards

Schools across Aberdeenshire have been recognised in a prestigious national sports award for innovation and achievement in delivering PE and extra-curricular sport.

Three schools were awarded Sportscotland’s highly prized gold status in the School Sport Award; nine achieved silver status and one was honoured with bronze status.

As part of the National Lottery funded programme, the Sportscotland School Sport Award is a national initiative that is designed to encourage schools to continuously improve PE and sport. The award encourages sporting links schools and the communities around them.

The Sportscotland School Sport Award is supported by the Active School’s Network which aims to ensure there are opportunities for all children and young people to engage, participate and reach their potential in this area and is part of Aberdeenshire Council’s Sport and Physical Activity Service.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services, said: “I am delighted that so many schools in Aberdeenshire have been acknowledged in this prestigious national award.

“The schools involved impressed those judging the award by presenting a wealth of evidence demonstrating among other aspects increased attainment and that key targets were met.

“Schools also demonstrated an increase in the number of extra-curricular sports clubs and a rise in the number of activities offered. For example, at Meldrum Academy participation rates went up three per cent from 24 per cent to 27 per cent.

“I would like to thank all the teachers, pupils’ parents and Council Officers who played such a key role in this success.”

Cllr Anne Stirling, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee, said: “There is plenty of anecdotal evidence which suggests that young people who are involved in sport at after school clubs not only become healthier but are less likely to get involved in anti-social behavior.

“This is not only good for the young people but means are communities are nicer places to live, work and visit as a result.

“Schools play a vital role in shaping our children and young people as citizens so it is very positive indeed that so many schools in Aberdeenshire are receiving these noteworthy awards.”

Stewart Harris Chief Executive of Sportscotland, said: “Congratulations to all the staff and pupils at the schools in Aberdeenshire – they should be extremely proud of this fantastic achievement. Not only have they put physical education and sport at the heart of their school and the local community, but they have managed to do so in a way that encourages all pupils to engage in physical activity whilst having fun at the same time.

“Sportscotland is committed to being a world-class sporting system for everyone, and a crucial part of that is putting young people at the heart. Working with our partners in local authorities and governing bodies of sport, we are creating closer links between physical education, school sport and club sport, which benefits young people by providing more and better opportunities to take part in sport.”

With more applications than ever before, there are currently 212 sportscotland Gold School Sport Award schools – 336 schools have been awarded silver and 84 with bronze.

To achieve a Bronze or Silver Sportscotland School Sports Award, schools self-assess their current practice. However, to gain gold status an extensive external assessment is also carried out by an independent panel of experts.

The on-line self-assessment tool supports schools to achieve this by helping them to reflect on their current practice and identify areas for improvement. It also puts young people in the school at the forefront of the decision making and implementation processes around the school.

For more information, please visit https://sportscotland.org.uk/schools/school-sport-award/.



Here is a list of the schools in Aberdeenshire that have received awards:

GOLD The Gordon Schools
SILVER Aboyne Academy
SILVER Barthol Chapel Primary School
SILVER Elrick Primary School
SILVER Lairhillock Primary School
SILVER Markethill School
SILVER Mearns Academy
SILVER Midmar Primary School
SILVER Skene Primary School
SILVER Westhill Academy
BRONZE Crombie School



Sports Hub continues to inspire an active community

Westhill & District Community Sports and Leisure Hub held its first AGM last night since being recognised as a registered charity. WDCSH is a volunteer-led community organisation and part of Sportscotland Community Sports Hub network. The Hub keeps going from strength to strength and has grown its membership over the last year to 15 member clubs. The role of the hub is to bring local sport and the wider community together. They are actively working to establish a youth presence within the hub to ensure their voices are heard. They have run courses in First Aid, Safeguarding and Protecting Children and Social Media Training, training over 45 local volunteers in total from a variety of clubs and groups.

The hub has supported local clubs, donating money towards the purchase of a community use defibrillator and supporting local charity SensationALL.

The inaugural Westhill 10k run last June was a great success and the group are in the midst of planning the 2017 run. Entry is open now and you can secure your place by clicking on the link here.

Members of the hub also masterminded the Wellbeing in Westhill event which saw over 30 local clubs, groups, businesses and organisations promote an active lifestyle to some 250 members of the public who visited on the day.

With new officer bearers and committee members set in place last night under the continuing chairmanship of Grant Coull, the group are on a sound footing to do even greater things in 2017.


Will it be ‘game on’ or ‘match postponed’ for AFC move?


Following this story hitting the press, I have had many queries from Ward 13 residents today about AFC’s proposals to relocate their operations to Kingsford, on the outskirts of Westhill.  I’m sure you’ll be aware that it will be Aberdeen City councillors who have the final say on this one (like the A944 speed limit changes) not your local Councillors but as many point out, nearby residents and groups outside the boundary of the site will be impacted.

I have spoken to planning in the city this morning who have advised me that no pre-application notice has been received from the developer yet. Once this is received, there will be a 12 week consultation period.

It’s very important that local views are fed in to the process. I have been assured that surrounding community councils will also be consulted.

Lastly, I have asked our head of planning in Aberdeenshire to work closely with the City to make sure local members are kept up to date with the application process so that we in turn can encourage local residents to go along to any public event on what will be a major planning proposal. I have since had confirmation from Aberdeenshire Council’s head of planning that they will work closely with Aberdeen City officers to do this.

Wheelers move forward with vision to create new skatepark


The Westhill Wheelers held their AGM last week. The group formed back in 2012 with a vision to create a park in Westhill where skaters and BMX’ers could meet. The previous skate park at Lawsondale was closed down by the council for health and safety reasons and since then wheelers have had to travel further afield. The group has done a great deal of work in the background: looking at suitable sites, setting up a bank account and looking at funding options. Last week’s meeting was very successful in that a number of new people came forward willing to progress the project. The group successfully returned Grant to chair the committee, with George as vice chair, Nicola as treasurer and Sam as secretary with new committee members on board too. Please like their facebook page and get in touch if you want to be involved.

Westhill Duathlon results


I was able to catch up with some of the competitors who braved the icy conditions on Sunday at the Westhill Duathlon. I spoke with Steven Barrett, Events & Leisurelend Co-ordinator for Active Aberdeenshire who said “The event attracted 82 pre-registered competitors and 20 entries on the day. 24 did not turn up on the day so we had 78 on the start line. This is an excellent number for this event.”

 “We had competitors from every possible location across Aberdeenshire (Stonehaven, Peterhead, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Kintore, Turriff and of course Westhill ) and the further afield Cupar, Cardross, Dundee and Carnoustie. We also had an International competitor from Utrecht, Netherlands.”

Steven advised that the next event in the series is the Aboyne Duathlon on the 1st March then the Knockburn Duathlon on the 5th April. They are hoping to add a Childrens Duathlon (off road cycle) to the Knockburn events in April.

The annual Westhill Triathlon (Swim/Bike/Run) returns to the Westhill Swimming Pool on the 9th August.

Full results from Sunday can be accessed here: Westhill Duathlon Results 2015 overall

duathlon 2duathlon 3

“Our hub inspires an active community!”

The recently formed Westhill Community Sports Hub Working Group meet next Wednesday 3rd December at 7pm at Westhill Academy Staff Room. Their agenda includes discussion of a community event later in December where a sporting hero may be attending to lend his support, presentations from local sport groups and other issues which are going to help make this a great success. If you belong to a local group or are an individual passionate about sport and leisure and the benefits of working together, you will get a very warm welcome!

To get in touch – “like” the hub page on Facebook


Swimming Pool closure 23rd November 2014


Westhill Swimming Pool will be hosting the annual Club Championship Swimming Gala. We expect in excess of 400 young people to compete, predominantly from Aberdeenshire Swim Clubs though some will be from further afield.

Westhill Swimming Pool will therefore be shut to the public between the hours of 7.30am-9.30pm on Sunday 23rd November 2014.

Swimming pool closure 24th and 25th October


Westhill Swimming Pool will be hosting Alford Otter’s annual swimming gala. We expect in excess of 400 young people to compete predominantly from Aberdeenshire Swim Clubs though some will be from further afield.

Westhill Swimming Pool will therefore be shut to the public between the hours of 9.00pm-10.00pm on Friday 24th October 2014 to allow for full competition gala set-up and 7.00am-6.00pm on Saturday 25th October 2014 for the actual gala event.