Active Schools Update - December 2021

The Active Schools Expert Support Service (ESS) has been a hive of activity the last two months, working closely with funded government schools to implement the Active Schools Framework.

The role of the Active Schools ESS is to assist schools to ensure students have the skills, confidence and motivation to be active for life. It’s all about getting more kids, more active, more often!

With all the exciting things happening here, we wanted to give you an update and share the successes we have had thus far.

Since the start of term 4, we have hired and onboarded our amazing ESS team of 15, joining Project Director Bernie Holland and Technical Lead Adriana Pinder, to start working directly with schools.

Their expertise, enthusiasm and ability to drive change in such a small period of time has blown the ACHPER Victoria team (and funded schools) away!

We are confident the ESS team will achieve outstanding results in the next 12 months. In addition, the team are preparing a busy 2022 to continue to work with already engaged schools, as well as an additional 300+ schools! With well over 600 schools expected to be supported across the funding period, the number of students who we can reach will go into the thousands! As passionate members of the HPE community, we know the work of this initiative will really make a huge difference to lifelong physical activity because of the reach we can have. 

The Department of Education and Training’s Active Schools Framework outlines six key priorities of an Active School, recognising there is no single solution to shifting inactivity; it takes a multifaceted and systemic effort. The six key priorities of Active Schools are outlined in the diagram (pictured). Our work the last two months has really centred on funded schools and teachers understanding the key priorities, as well as the notion of sustainable approaches to improving lifelong movement habits. We know to create long lasting cultural change, we need people to be upskilled and the whole school community to be on the same page.

For this reason, our team have been engaged in many conversations to help direct how funding is spent, provide mentoring to upskill key staff and provide guidance on how to best spend grant money provided through DET. Another important aspect of the leadership team is to engage with key stakeholders within the sport and education sector, as we know that to achieve stronger outcomes, we need all groups in the space to work as one and support each other. The Active Schools ESS Stakeholder Advisory Group has just met to unpack collaborative approaches within this initiative, and the team will be engaging directly with a range of individual stakeholders early in 2022 to support ESS work.

One of the offerings available to support all government schools which will go live very soon include the Active Schools Community (online networking and resource portal), which will include case studies to showcase the incredible ideas of funded schools for others to learn from, new Active Schools related resources and fact sheets, as well as opportunities to link in with other teachers and schools working on similar projects. For funded schools, regional networking and PD events (online and face to face) and continued direct mentoring and guidance to funded schools will be rolled out in 2022.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Active Schools Framework, you can access the DET’s Active Schools Toolkit for more information. Although a DET initiative, we are very supportive of all Victorian schools using this framework to improve whole of school physical activity, and resources in the Toolkit are accessible by all Victorian teachers.

If you have any questions about how your school can be supported to become an active school using the Active Schools Framework, please reach out to us at [email protected] (note: non-government schools will be able to access support through the ACHPER Victoria Professional Learning team).

The Department of Education and Training’s Physical Activity and Healthy Eating team can also be contacted to answer any questions about Active Schools at: [email protected].