HERMITAGE Academy’s PE department has joined forces with Live Argyll’s Active Schools initiative to run an exciting sports leadership qualification for the school’s senior pupils.

The Sports Leader UK course runs for the full academic year and allows students to access a dual qualification, the Sports Leaders award and the Community Sports Leaders award.

The awards cover theoretical aspects of sports coaching and leadership and also require students to log a minimum of 10 hours volunteer time by leading and assisting in sporting activities.

The volunteer component is carried out either in an extra-curricular school club setting or with a community sports club that the young person may have links with.

READ MORE: Pictures from Active Schools' primary athletics competition

During the course the students learn the skills and behaviours expected and required of them to safely lead groups of younger students.

They gain experience of leading small groups of participants and build up to planning and organising full sessions for larger groups over the year.

The course involves both guided and peer-to-peer learning and supervised leadership to ensure that learners have all the skills they need to lead basic physical activities to other people.

This year Live Argyll Active Schools arranged placement opportunities for Sports Leaders to visit local primary schools in the Helensburgh and Lomond area. The placements were a great success with the leaders planning and leading a block of extra-curricular activity sessions in their chosen sport.

READ MORE: Pictures from Helensburgh's Christian Aid football festival with Active Schools

The benefits of the partnership working between the Academy, Active Schools and local sports clubs were on full display when the crop of Sports Leader students showed what they had learned at a P5 hockey festival, funded by an Awards for All lottery grant to Helensburgh Hockey Club, which brought 240 P5 pupils from around the area to the Academy for a successful day-long hockey festival – as a result of which, the hockey club itself has reported a healthy increase in its junior player numbers.

The current Sports Leaders really got to showcase their skills development and harness all they had learned over the past year.

Supported by Active Schools and PE staff the Leaders were responsible for the planning, organising and running of this large scale sporting event which takes dedication, commitment and motivation.

The Festival was a complete success and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone involved.

READ MORE: Helensburgh's Hockey Fling is a storming success

Live Argyll’s Helensburgh and Lomond Active Schools co-ordinator, Martin Caldwell, said: “The programme uses sport and physical activity as a vehicle to help the students develop and hone their leadership skills and knowledge.

“It also promotes a healthy lifestyle and encourages the leaders and other pupils to stay physically active in a safe and fun environment.”