Celebrating Education Week 2021: ‘Building Connections’

Victoria's annual Education Week (23-29 May) is underway! Now in its 77th year, Education Week celebrates the strengths and achievements of Victoria's government schools. The theme 'Building Connections' celebrates the connections between schools and local communities and strengthens bonds with families and carers. 

Community organisations play an important role in supporting students' learning and development and enhancing social inclusion. Collaboration between community organisations and schools enhance creativity, learning, enrichment, and provide support to students as they transition through school and beyond.

Building connections through working with communities and schools to facilitate excellence in health and physical education (HPE) is at the very core of what ACHPER Victoria does.

Strongly linked to our organisational strategic pillar of ‘Collaboration’ the work we do with teachers, schools, government and the broader community all play a huge role in building and strengthening connections within the HPE community. We do this by:

Working closely with teachers and schools

So many of us can remember an excellent school teacher that made a difference to our future selves. Over the years, thousands of Victorian HPE teachers have identified and shared their triumphs and challenges with us. We have used this invaluable knowledge to develop and deliver professional learning programs which address the key needs of the HPE teaching profession.

We do this through the facilitation and delivery of HPE Conferences (Secondary/VCE coming up on 18 June and Primary on 21 June!), tailored in-school workshops, webinars, and eLearn courses, we share and work with teachers to support them to promote the importance of physical education, sport and physical activity on academic, health and wellbeing benefits.

Working with government and community

Helping to build a whole-school approach to the development of physical literacy in children is vital to student success and long-term engagement in physical activity including involvement in community sport and active recreation. As leaders in promoting quality health and physical education to achieve this, over the years, we’ve been actively involved in many government-funded programs to help champion this critical learning area. Here’s a few examples:

Active Schools
In November 2020, the Department of Premier and Cabinet released a plan to Get Kids Moving Again (details here). In addition to this public statement, the Ministers of Education, Community Sport and Health released a joint statement on physical activity for children and young people titled ‘Active Schools, Active Kids and Active Communities’ (Joint Ministerial Statement, 2020) outlining the vital role health and HPE has in its successful implementation. It has been acknowledged that we do and how we respond is of great importance to our profession and to the overall health and physical activity levels of our students.

At the heart of the Joint Statement is the creation of Active Schools – schools that encourage physical activity through a whole-of-school approach. Over the past decade, ACHPER Victoria has been a leader in two of the six priorities outlined in the Framework: Quality Physical Education and Active Classrooms. A lot of what we do centres around these areas working holistically together to ensure the promotion of physical activity occurs. Read more about our work to promote Active Schools including a webinar we shared in December 2020 here.

Physically active girls
Most recently, we completed some important work with Victoria University in partnership with the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation (Change Our Game) to understand barriers to participation and help advance physical literacy in young women and girls. The culmination of this work resulted in the release of an infographic designed to help communicate research findings and provide a clear pathway for schools and communities to create better opportunities for girls to become physically literate. Learn more about this project here.

Sport Australia’s ‘Physical Literacy: Guide for Schools’
Our team worked with Sport Australia to develop their 'Physical Literacy: Guide for Schools' which identifies the key components of a whole-school approach to the development of physical literacy in children, including characteristics of exemplary school practice. Learn more here.

Supporting Victorian Sport and Recreation (SRV)
In 2017-2019, ACHPER Victoria received funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria to complete a funded pilot project with Sport and Rec Victoria to support school and community sport connections. The 'Supporting Victorian Sport and Recreation' (SRV) program encouraged children in Victorian primary schools to be more active at school and within the community by exposing them to a greater range of activities. The project achieved positive results, with kids transitioning from experiencing sport in a school environment to being engaged in sport in a community club when the introduction to the sport is facilitated through good practice and good collaboration between school (i.e.: PE teacher, sports coordinator) and community club coaches or representatives. Learn more about the pilot here.

Education Week is a fantastic opportunity for schools to showcase the work they doing to build connections with the community around them that help children, their families and teachers develop a greater understanding and connection to their own community. 

How have you been celebrating this week? Share your activities with us!