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PE - Shinty scores high

Highland Council's push to popularise shinty has resulted in a six- fold increase in the number of teenage girls playing the sport. Despite this, uptake still remains considerably lower in secondary than in primary.

Since 2006, the number of Highland primaries delivering it in PE lessons has risen from 61 to 82, and 13 to 19 in secondaries.

Three years ago, 1,003 boys at Highland primaries played the sport; by last year, the figure had risen to 1462. The figures also show that once they reach secondary, fewer boys take an interest in shinty. In 2006, just 285 had stuck with the sport at high school although, last year, this improved to 429.

It was among girls, however, that the change in attitude was most marked. Almost 400 played shinty at primary in 2006 but participation rose to 722 in 2008. At secondary level in 2006 only 30 girls played the sport but, by last year, this had risen - a six-fold increase.

The Camanachd Association, shinty's ruling body, argues that more secondaries need to offer the sport if it is to grow. The difficulty has been holding on to players once they go to secondary, as it is not on the curriculum.

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