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Cuts cripple pilot scheme

ONE authority in, one out. As East Ayrshire last week joined the national sports co-ordinator scheme, it emerged that Aberdeenshire is withdrawing as part of a cuts package totalling some pound;4.5 million. Costs to the council of supporting the scheme are just pound;10,000.

Four secondaries, including Banchory Academy, part of the national pilot trumpeted as a success, are having their funds withdrawn and there is now little hope of extending the scheme.

A teacher spokesman commented: "This is a kick in the teeth to people involved in extracurricular activities."

The spokesman added: "The school sports co-ordinators have rejuvenated inter-school competition and we are concerned that this will now fall by the wayside."

A council spokesman said: "We had hoped to extend the scheme across Aberdeenshire, but that now looks unlikely in the current financial climate."

It is investigating sponsorship as a way of sustaining developments at Ellon, Mintlaw, Portlethen and Banchory.

Meanwhile, a high-profile launch in East Ayrshire was praised by Sportscotland for its leadership from the top.

Stewart Harris, head of youth sport, said: "It is not only co-ordination within a school which is important. It is also required at education department level and East Ayrshire has set a good example by appointing an education officer to manage the team of co-ordinators, with further input from the community services department."

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