PUPILS from Raploch Primary School and Our Lady’s Primary School in Stirling have benefitted from a unique top-level coaching session with some of Scottish football’s leading coaches and players in a new initiative led by sportscotland, the national agency for sport, and BBC Scotland.

Former Rangers, Hearts, and Scotland midfielder Derek Ferguson and former Dundee United, Hibernian, and Falkirk player John Rankin will be welcomed by Raploch Primary School and Our Lady’s Primary School pupils at Raploch Campus for a professional coaching experience to highlight the importance of sport within the school’s curriculum.

Around 30 boys and girls attended the training session hosted by the high-profile personalities, who gave the children some hints and tips as well as sharing tales from their sporting experiences across the years in the hope of encouraging the younger generation to take up the sport.

Derek Ferguson, brother of Rangers legend Barry, said: “It’s been a fantastic opportunity to get involved in a coaching session with the pupils. Their enthusiasm for football was obvious from the start and hopefully they learned a few tips along the way. Maybe we’ll see some of them in a future Scotland squad, you never know!”

The pupils were also given an insight into the important role of sport in the media as the leading BBC Radio Scotland programme ‘Sportsound’ broadcasted their evening programme live from the school. Presenter Kenny Macintyre was joined by a panel of experts on Scottish football including former Aberdeen captain and Scotland defender Willie Miller, former Scotland and Rangers captain Barry Ferguson, former Scotland assistant manager Peter Houston, and BBC football pundit Chick Young. This allowed the pupils to understand more about the way sport is covered by the national broadcaster.

Presenter Kenny Macintyre hosted the session, giving pupils, parents and staff the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with the sporting personalities live on-air, asking about their career highlights as well as discussing Scotland’s sporting landscape.

Both Raploch Primary School and Our Lady’s Primary School hold the sportscotland Gold School Sport Award, a prestigious national award that recognises innovation and achievement in delivering physical education and extra-curricular sport.

Karin Stuart, Headteacher of Raploch Primary School, commented: “We’re delighted to welcome the BBC Scotland Sportsound Outside Broadcast to our campus, and it feels like a great opportunity for our whole school community to celebrate our recent sportscotland School Sport Gold award. This is the kind of event that we hope will motivate our pupils to make sport and physical activity a priority in their lives.”

Marie Brennan, Headteacher of Our Lady’s Primary School, added: “Working with sportscotland to bring the coaching and radio broadcast to our school is an excellent example of partnership and having coaching from some of Scotland’s biggest names in football is a real treat for the children. I hope this is a day they will remember for a very long time.”

sportscotland is building a world-class sporting system and is working in partnership with BBC Scotland to raise the profile of sport across the country. As part of this initiative, the BBC will be taking Sportsound on the road with the help of sportscotland to give young people a memorable experience whilst engaging in sport.

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: “At sportscotland, putting young people at the centre of our efforts is a crucial part of what we do. Working in partnership with colleagues at the BBC, we hope to raise the awareness of sport and the openings that are available. It’s fantastic that the pupils at Raploch Primary School and Our Lady’s Primary School had the chance to train with professional Scottish football coaches.

“Through our Active School, School Sport Awards and Young Ambassador programmes, we hope to create 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.”