MORE than 40 schools across Stirling have been recognised with a prestigious national sporting accolade.

The sportscotland School Sport Award is given for innovation and achievement in delivering sport and physical education.

In the last academic year, 34 primary and secondary schools in Stirling have achieved gold status, 13 more than last year, with a further seven scooping a silver prize.

Two of the gold award winners, Castleview School and Stirling Inclusion Support Service, are ASN (additional support needs) schools.

Castleview provides education for children with a range of severe and profound additional support needs, while Stirling Inclusion Support Service works with children and young people with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Needs (SEBN) at Chartershall and Millhall Bases.

Yvonne Wright, headteacher of Stirling Inclusion Support Service, said: “We are absolutely delighted that our provision has been recognised by sportscotland for the efforts of staff over the last two years in working towards this award.

“This achievement is even more special as we are one of the first SEBN provisions in Scotland to achieve a gold award.”

To achieve a bronze or silver 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.

Convener of Stirling Council’s Children and Young People Committee, Cllr Susan McGill, said: “Having 13 more schools earning a gold award, in particular Castleview, Chartershall and Millhall, is a fantastic achievement.

“This shows we are embedding high quality and inclusive physical activity right across our educational system and in our communities.

Funded by the National Lottery, the sportscotland School Sport Award is a national initiative designed to encourage schools to continuously improve physical education and sport.

It puts young people at the forefront of decision making and planning of physical education and school sport while increasing opportunities for pupils to take part.

The award also encourages sporting links between schools and the communities around them, providing opportunities for young people to progress.

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “Participation in sport and physical activity has an immensely positive impact on young people.

“The record number of gold ratings is testament to the hard work of teachers and staff across the country in putting sport at the heart of the curriculum.”

Stewart Harris, chief executive of sportscotland, said: “It’s testament to the work of a variety of partners, including thousands of pupils, parents, volunteers and teachers, that we can now say this is a record-breaking year for the School Sport Award.

“Each and everyone involved should be very proud of this fantastic achievement.”