Posted on: Wednesday 16th March 2016
One pupil involved in the Larbert wider achievement programme was Lewis Skinner. Lewis was an S4 pupil who played at the local rugby club, Falkirk RFC and was keen to take up the opportunity to be involved in the exciting new rugby programme within the school. The wider achievement award, delivered by Graeme Simpson, was based around another CashBack-funded project – the Youth Coaching Course. Pupils were taken through the course during curriculum sessions, and allowed to practice their new skills during peer coaching sessions. This opportunity gave Lewis the confidence he needed to be able to develop as a coach, and later during the year he was allowed to deliver sessions within the local primary schools as part of the School of Rugby recruitment for the following year. With the combination of practice and the skills developed through the YCC, Lewis was one of the pupils selected by Graeme to attend a Scottish Rugby delivered UKCC Level 1 in Coaching Rugby Union. This course was held at a local rugby club amongst club & school coaches and is a competency-based course.
“I started coaching at Larbert High in 4th year through my wider achievement course, I had the opportunity to select rugby. I was able play the game and coach my peers and hold sessions at primary schools. Through this I obtained my UKCC level 1. I started coaching to advance my knowledge in the sport to help me get better as a player, but also I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was younger so it helped create opportunities.” Lewis Skinner
“Lewis Skinner, as a part of his 4th year of high school and the school of Rugby programme at Larbert High School, selected to be in the Wider Achievement Rugby Coaching course. Lewis took to coaching extremely quickly and showed great confidence and competence as a young coach and had reached a level where I was comfortable using him as volunteer for cluster primary sessions, Community sessions and assist with the U13 team at the High School.” Graeme Simpson – Former Larbert HS Head of Rugby
Lewis Skinner – Scottish Rugby Modern Apprentice
Lewis continued to coach while finishing his time at Larbert High School. He would help out Graeme with School of Rugby sessions during free periods, assist Falkirk RFC with the coaching of their mini teams and continued to play for both the school & club. Upon completing school, Lewis decided he would like to continue to develop his coaching and use the experience he gained to help other players within the area. Falkirk RFC in partnership with Scottish Rugby decided to employ Lewis as part of the Modern Apprentice programme. The MA allows young people the chance to work full time within rugby development as the work towards a management qualification while gaining a wide range of other qualifications within sport, first aid, coaching and more. Lewis was initially based with Falkirk Community Trust Development Officer Stewart Milne, but a change in role for Stewart saw Lewis once again return to Larbert High to work under Graeme Simpson once more. Lewis was now back within the School of Rugby environment, working daily within the S1/S2 SoR pupils and assisting with the S3/S4 wider achievement group he was once part of. During his time as an MA, Lewis was one of the few apprentices that achieved their UKCC Level 2, which is aimed at those coaches working within the secondary and adult game. As Lewis neared the end of his Modern Apprenticeship, he was presented with a unique opportunity to experience what it is like to be involved in rugby within New Zealand. He was offered a place within Lincoln University (Canterbury, NZ) Rugby Club’s U21 side for 5 months. At 18 years old, this was a big step for Lewis and had he not been part of the various programmes he may not have taken the chance.
“Lewis was one of the best young coaches I had worked with. Usually coaches of his age take a year or so to come out of their shell, but having been involved in a coaching programme from a young age meant he was able to break out of his shell much earlier” Stewart Milne – Former Falkirk Community Trust DO
“Leaving home was daunting at first, but I wanted to experience rugby in a country that lives and breathes it. I was confident that I had gathered enough skills & knowledge both from school and my MA that I would be fine out there coaching & playing” Lewis Skinner
Lewis Skinner – Larbert High School Head of Rugby
With Larbert in its 4th season as a CashBack school of rugby, Head of Rugby Graeme Simpson had developed the programme into one of the most successful Schools of Rugby in the country and felt it was time to move on and was appointed as the new Falkirk Community Trust Rugby Coordinator. This left a big hole in the school programme and Larbert High were anxious to fill the post with the right person who could continue the hard work already put in place but also understood the journey the school had been on. Lewis saw this as the perfect opportunity to give back to the environment that started him on his coaching journey and applied for the post. After a successful application and interview process, Larbert High were happy to appoint Lewis as their new Head of Rugby, referencing Lewis’s enthusiasm, experience and vision for the school as a large factor in his appointment.
“Lewis would not be in his current position if it were not for the successful partnership LHS have developed with the SRU and the CashBack funding. Lewis is now is a position as not only a fantastic coach but also a role model and ambassador for the partnership. He has had first hand experience as a pupil, player and now Head Coach. This insight and ethos has been developed over a number of years and Lewis will continue to further develop the programme available to all a pupils at LHS. Working alongside our two MA's, both ex students, our current Rugby programme now fully staffed and run by ex students. This in itself shows the impact the programme can have that pupils want to take their experiences forward and give something back to their school.” Andy Auld – Principle Teacher H&WB Larbert High School
“Lewis Skinner, as a part of his 4th year of high school and the school of Rugby programme at Larbert High School, selected to be in the Wider Achievement Rugby Coaching and Refereeing course. During this course Lewis took part in several educational courses, which allowed him to develop the skills required to be a youth coach working with younger children in the wider Larbert cluster and in Falkirk Rugby Football Club. These courses, which Lewis completed, were his online Rugby Ready certificates, now Rugby Right, the Youth Coaching Course Modules & workbook and he went through a breakdown of the UKCC Level 1 Coaching Rugby Union course where he learned his coaching skills amongst the group of players in the Wider Achievement course. Lewis took to coaching extremely quickly and showed great confidence and competence as a young coach and had reached a level where I was comfortable using him as volunteer for cluster primary sessions, Community sessions and assist with the U13 team at the High School.”
As mentioned above, Larbert High School has embraced the experiences and outcomes that the CashBack School of Rugby provides and looked to expand on them as much as possible. The whole school now has a culture of rugby, which has grown tremendously over the last 4 years. Had these opportunities not existed within the school, Lewis would not have been able to experience such a pathway into what will hopefully be a lifelong career in sport. The experience he has gained throughout the Youth Coaching Course, School of Rugby programme & Modern Apprenticeship have given him the confidence to return back to Larbert, working alongside his former teachers and giving pupils the same opportunities and experiences he was allowed as a young person.