A GIRLS' school has become the first in the country to offer a skateboarding scholarship to pupils.

Brighton Girls independent school is launching the scholarship, worth £1,000 off the school's fees, to encourage girls into the sport.

Headmistress Rosie McColl came up with the idea after she took her seven-year-old son to the skatepark at Hove Lagoon one afternoon.

She realised the skills which skateboarding requires are important ones to learn.

The Argus:

Ms McColl said: “Just studying the skateboarders, I could see it takes time, effort and hundreds of attempts to successfully pull off tricks.

"It’s about perseverance, concentration and - really importantly – having the body confidence to do it all in front of other people.

"Those are really valuable skills and the more I watched the more I thought about growing a skateboarding culture at school.”

This summer will see skateboarding make its debut at the Tokyo Olympics, with 13-year-old Sky Brown competing.

Since the start of the pandemic the number of girls drawn to skateboarding has climbed exponentially, growing by 24 per cent over the past 12 months to about 112,000, according to Skateboard England.

Ms McColl said: “Our school sits in the heart of Brighton and pupils join us with loads of different interests, not just the sports you associate with girls’ schools like hockey and netball, so we wanted to accommodate girls who enjoy the less traditional pursuits.

“At a time when children have been stuck indoors in front of screens and on social media for so many months, we also want to create every opportunity we can to get pupils outside and involved in physical activity.”

The candidate awarded the scholarship will help set up a school skateboarding club. The school is currently undergoing renovations and part of its outside space will now be developed into a skatepark.

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Ms McColl has enlisted the help of Brighton-based Skateboard England-trained skateboard teacher Sarah Brownlow, who will be involved in the selection process and will mentor the successful candidate. The headmistress has even signed up for lessons herself.

Ms Brownlow said: “When I found skateboarding later in life I instantly fell completely in love with it.

"It’s frustrating that when I was growing up, skateboarding was very much a male sport.

"I wish I’d had the confidence to get involved back then, but women and girls were barely reflected in the scene.

"My mission is to help break down those barriers to the sport and help girls get on the board and start riding. Falling down and getting up again, being body confident and having the discipline to endlessly practice and perfect your technique are such great life skills.

“I’m so pleased Brighton Girls has recognized this is a growing sport for girls and one to be encouraged.

"Since I did my training to teach it, I've been inundated with parents asking me to teach their daughters.”