Need help asserting the importance of Health and Physical Education (HPE)?

In recent years, ACHPER Victoria has collected data from more than 1000 teachers responding to the question: “What are your greatest challenges in delivering health and physical education?” In 2017 and 2018, the top 3 responses to this question were:

•   Adequate planning time
•   Assessment in HPE, and;
•   Adequate delivery time

Of great concern, is the high proportion of respondents who say the lack of perceived value of HPE in their school is a major challenge.

To ensure schools conduct the required amount of physical and sport education the Victorian State Government Department of Education instated a Physical and Sport Education Policy.

Teachers can use this Policy to advocate for the importance of the HPE learning area and stipulation of the time mandate in an effort to address the challenge of not having adequate delivery time.

The Policy states the following mandated times:

In primary schools:

  • Years P – 3: 20-30 minutes of physical education a day
  • Years 4 – 6: 3 hours per week of physical education and sport with a minimum of 50% of this time for physical education

In secondary schools:

  • Years 7 – 10: 100 minutes each per week for physical education and sport education. 
Why is the Physical and Sport Education Policy important?
  1. It reaffirms the Governments position on the importance of physical education as a curriculum area; where explicit teaching and assessment takes place.
  2. It reemphasises the time commitment to physical education and sport education.
  3. For many children physical education is the only opportunity during a school day where physical activity is required.
  4. The educational benefits of engaging in physical education include those in the following domains:
  • Physical: acquisition and development of children’s movement skills and physical competence.
  • Cognitive: physical activity can improve children’s concentration and arousal.
  • Affective: physical activity has been positively associated with numerous dimensions of psychological and emotional development.
  • Social: decision-making, leadership, social relationships, learning processes.

In addition to this Policy, consideration must also be given to how health education is prioritised in the curriculum to ensure areas such as resilience and respectful relationships are explicitly taught and reinforced. 

Education State Targets

Furthermore, the Department of Education has set ambitious targets known as the Education State Targets which will measure students’ development in the skills needed to succeed in life, as well as measuring their health and resilience. The importance of high quality HPE in achieving these targets adds weight and demonstrates the values and importance of the HPE learning area.

The Education State targets are focused on four key areas and of most importance to you as teachers of HPE is the following:

Target: Happy, healthy and resilient kids

Building the resilience of our children and encouraging them to be more physically active. By 2025 Victorian students reporting high resilience will grow by 20 per cent and the proportion of students doing physical activity for an hour a day, five time a week will also grow by 20 per cent. Learn more >> 

As one of eight key learning areas health and physical education is the curriculum area where movement competency and acquisition of fundamental movement skills is explicitly taught (Melbourne Declaration, 2008). These competencies form the foundation for lifelong participation in physical activity.

Physical education provides movement experiences for children in a safe and positive environment which allows the development of confidence and enhances the likelihood of further participation in physical activity outside of the curriculum. HPE also provides opportunities to learn and practice resilience. 

Schools offer many opportunities for children to be physically active throughout the day. One such example is through the provision of high quality HPE where children are being provided, not only the opportunity to be physically active but importantly, the competence and confidence to make the most of these opportunities and to enjoy them in an educative, meaningful and fulfilling way.

To learn more or talk to a member of our team, please get in touch.