Today saw the launch of the Sports Comprehensive’s first ever sports strip and it was rugby that lead the way in a pioneering educational venture by Perth Grammar and St John’s.
To coincide with the recent newly built community campus which now houses St John’s Academy, David Taylor teamed up with Mike Edwards (Principle PE Teacher, Perth Grammar) to form Perth’s first Sports Comprehensive. The project was unique as it was the first time a denominational and non denominational school came together to form a partnership of this nature, where the curriculum is taught through the medium of sport and there is a strong curricular and extracurricular focus for pupils to begin their pathway for lifetime participation in sport.
Although the staff worked in partnership with a common goal for the educational aspects of the pupils the schools were still independent of each other when it came to sport. Each school competes in basketball, football, athletics and hockey as either Perth Grammar or St John’s and there was yet to be a rugby team established at either school.
Cue Perthshire Community Rugby Trust, the rugby development arm of Perthshire Rugby Club.
Rugby development officer, Derek O’Riordan, saw an opportunity to not only form a new school rugby team comprising of players from both composite schools in the Sports Comprehensive but to also establish a sporting identity for the school.
Derek began work in partnership with Mike Edwards, David Taylor, Greig Marshall (St John’s) and Ross Munro (Perth Grammar), to put together a curricular and extracurricular program to generate interest in rugby in what are both well established football schools. Greig and Ross were recruited as Rugby Champions to co ordinate the program within their schools and once everything was in place player recruitment began.
The uptake was amazing, and after 2 weeks we had a squad of 29 players for the S1/2 team in the P&K Interschool League. Not only did this team of beginners compete but they took results from established rugby schools and gave even the unbeaten Blairgowrie a good run for their money.
The performances on the park were dwarfed by the impact this team would have on the players and the school alike. Firstly kids from different social and faith backgrounds were mixing and making friends where they previously wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do so. Secondly the buzz of the team and their successes were infectious in their schools and Kirsty Munro of Perth Grammar decided to tap into this.
Kirsty put together a cross curricular and cross campus project to design a rugby jersey for the Sports Comprehensive and it involved Mike Alexander (Principle Art & Design Teacher – Perth Grammar) and his pupils as well as pupils from St John’s. After a month of hard work a winning design was agreed upon and it was Sam Nixon of Perth Grammar who took the honour of creating the Sports Comprehensives first ever jersey.