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Schools (Rugby)

Question Time — Scottish Executive — Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 16th September 2004.

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Photo of Mary Scanlon Mary Scanlon Conservative 2:00 pm, 16th September 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive what action it has taken to ensure that all secondary school pupils have the opportunity to participate in rugby. (S2O-3161)

Photo of Peter Peacock Peter Peacock Labour

It is for individual education authorities and schools to determine what sporting activities are offered in schools. However, I hope that the excellent work of the Scottish Rugby Union, supported by the Executive, will continue to widen opportunities for schools to offer rugby as an option.

Photo of Mary Scanlon Mary Scanlon Conservative

Rugby is one of the Scottish Institute of Sport's core sports, yet less than 30 per cent of our state schools participate in the annual schools cup. Does the minister agree that the promotion of rugby as part of the physical education curriculum could be seen as encouraging a form of social inclusion and that allowing more people to participate could, I hope, improve the success of our national team?

Photo of Peter Peacock Peter Peacock Labour

As someone who was brought up in Hawick, how could I possibly disagree with that proposition? I enjoyed playing rugby while in school.

Photo of Mary Scanlon Mary Scanlon Conservative

We thought that the minister was climbing.

Photo of Peter Peacock Peter Peacock Labour

When I was not climbing, I was playing rugby. I had the great privilege to have Bill McLaren, the voice of world rugby, as my PE teacher. He was a true inspiration and we saw the product of that in contemporaries of mine who went on to play international rugby, such as Jim Renwick, Colin Deans and later Tony Stanger. Hawick has been a rich stable for rugby players and I would love that to be the case more widely throughout Scotland. I will seek to do anything that I can to support that.