Portobello High is Edinburgh’s first School of Basketball

The first in-take of pupils at the 'School of Basketball' at Portobello High
The first in-take of pupils at the 'School of Basketball' at Portobello High
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Olympic basketball player Rose Anderson has promised to visit Portobello High after learning that her former school has joined an exciting new partnership with City of Edinburgh Basketball Club and City of Edinburgh Council.

Portobello is to become the Capital’s first “School of Basketball” as part of a programme that will introduce the sport to young people and perhaps discover some Rose Andersons of the future.

The initiative also supports the delivery of the Curriculum For Excellence and is already up and running following an initial intake of 24 first-year pupils.

The 14 boys and ten girls are to take part in two extra training sessions each week alongside the regular sessions delivered by the Council’s Active Schools Programme. Overseeing this will be City of Edinburgh’s talent development manager, Craig Nicol, who also coaches City’s senior men’s team and was assistant coach last summer to Britain’s Under-16 boys.

The club and the school have both invested financially and both hope to build on this agreement, adding additional age groups and incorporating sessions into the school day. Regular reviews will be held to ensure that the School of Basketball is achieving its agreed aims.

Between them, the school and the club have already produced ten full Scotland internationalists over the past two decades plus dozens of under-age caps.

Anderson attended Portobello High for five years from 2000 before moving across the Atlantic to play for Northern Oklahoma College and the University of Central Oklahoma. Her career highlight saw her selected as the only Scot in the Great Britain squad for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Anderson lives in America now but, on hearing the news, she said: “This is great for the school and the club. Porty High is where I first started playing. It’s where I spent hour after hour, practising before and after school, and that allowed me to reach my dream of playing professionally and representing Britain at the Olympics.

“The development of a School of Basketball will be great for developing the next generation of basketball stars for school, club and country. It sounds amazing that it will be part of their formal education going forward – I would have loved that when I was there! I’ll definitely make sure I visit one of the sessions when I’m next home.”

City of Edinburgh Basketball Club chair Amy Morgan added: “We’re delighted to be able to build on the great relationship we’ve always enjoyed with Portobello High. We’ve been partners for over 25 years now. We are also excited to directly contribute to the development of pupil education at the school, and we are especially excited to have one of Scotland’s top coaches in Craig Nicol leading the sessions.”

Portobello High head teacher Ruth McKay said: “We’re delighted to become a School of Basketball. This will offer our young people first class opportunities for the future, and I wish every success to all those involved in this exciting initiative.”