Supporting Sport and Recreation in Victorian Schools Program

Building community links and competency in quality Health and Physical Education (HPE) using a themed based approach to teaching sport is vital to student success and long term engagement in sport and active recreation.

In 2016 ACHPER Victoria received funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria as part of the 'Supporting Victorian Sport and Recreation' (SRV) program to encourage children in Victorian primary schools to be more active at school and within the community by exposing them to a greater range of activities.

A major focus of the project is connecting the education and sport sectors, and providing frameworks to show how they can work together to promote and encourage more children to participate in sport and physical activity at school and within their local community.

The emphasis of ACHPER Victoria’s use of funding has been to teach thematic units of work rather than individual sports. The thematic units of work are eight week units, focusing on three different sports and aimed at Year 3-6 students. Within these units, students are taught the skills and game concepts and strategies they need to successfully participate in these sports through sport specific small-sided modified games. 

Using small-sided games maximises student participation and enjoyment and it encourages students to apply their skills to game situations right from the start. This helps students to not only learn the skills required to play the games, but also the ability to think strategically while playing. For example: identify and moving into space on the court or field, where and when to pass a ball, or where to strike a ball into space away from fielders or the opposition.

Throughout these units, students are encouraged to link the similarities and differences between different sports to understand that if they can play one sport, they can apply the same skills and game strategies to play similar sports. It is important that children understand these links within similar sports as primary aged children often swap and change sports before they develop a passion for the sport(s) they’ll pursue in their secondary schooling years.

Using SRSV funding in 2017 and 2018, ACHPER Victoria has helped deliver the SRV program to two Victorian Primary Schools; Kalinda Primary School, North Ringwood and St Dominic’s School, Broadmeadows. At Kalinda PS, students participated in two Invasion Units (AFL, Football and Netball) and two Striking Units (Badminton, Tennis and Cricket). At St Dominic’s, students participated in a Field and Court Unit (Football, Netball and Basketball) and are about to begin a Space Ball Unit (Volleyball, Tennis and Cricket), they will participate in these units for a second time in 2019.

To ensure ongoing teacher professional learning, ACHPER Victoria staff regularly attend the schools to discuss the units of work with teachers and receive feedback on the effectiveness of the units and assessment tasks provided. Teachers involved in the project have been given complimentary registration at ACHPER Professional Learning events including an FMS and Game Sense workshop and the Primary Health and PE Conference to further their knowledge and skills to deliver these units of work.

An important aspect of the project is to help develop authentic links with local sporting clubs by inviting external coaches to co-deliver Physical Education classes or run sport clinics during school lunch times. These community links are further strengthened by providing students with information about local sporting clubs via fliers handed out during PE classes, and information promoting local clubs advertised in school newsletters or on display around schools.

Here's some further examples of how we’ve been helping community sporting organisations and schools work together to promote and encourage kids to participate in sport and physical activity at school:

  • Broadmeadows Basketball Association delivering a lunch time basketball clinic at St Dominic’s.
  • Western Volleyball delivering 2x volleyball lessons at St Dominic’s during their class sport lessons. Volleyball Victoria are now looking at starting a Spikezone centre at the school in Term 4.
  • Badminton Victoria co-delivering two badminton lessons at Kalinda PS during their PE lessons and a representative from Mountain District Badminton Association also attended to speak to the children about the opportunities to play badminton in the local community and the Sunday morning badminton lessons run.
  • Badminton Victoria delivering a teacher Professional Learning workshop at Kalinda Primary School for PE teachers within the local network.
  • Brunt Bridge Tennis Club co-delivering two tennis lessons at Kalinda Primary School for all students.  The club coach provides students with lunch time tennis lessons and says that many of the children who play tennis at the club are from Kalinda Primary School.
  • Norwood Football Club assisting Kalinda Primary School with the training and coaching of the interschool AFL teams and supplying the school with new uniforms.
  • Meetings, email and phone calls with Football Federation Victoria, AFL, Netball Victoria, Tennis Australia, Badminton Victoria, Cricket Victoria, Volleyball Victoria and Basketball Victoria, discussing the program, providing feedback on the units, linking the school to clubs etc.

To measure effectiveness of the SRV program, staff at Victoria University are conducting the research component of the project, testing the Fundamental Movement Skills of students to track development of FMS throughout the units of work. The Vic Uni team are also conducting interviews with students before and after the program to identify if sport participation rates have increased through the teaching of these units and the development of authentic links made with local clubs.

These interviews will also track student engagement, learning and enjoyment of the units. Interviews with teachers and sports coaches will also be conducted post program to assess the effectiveness of the program.

To date, the following feedback from kids involved in the SRV program has been received from Year 5 and 6 Students:

“This was the best PE lesson ever.”

“Badminton is so much fun, I loved that lesson.”

“I’m so excited, I can hit the shuttle now!”

“I really want a flyer so I know where I can play badminton on the weekend.”

“My friend and I play basketball at the Kilsyth Stadium so we are going to ask our parents to hire a court and play some badminton after basketball.”

Please visit the Supporting Victorian Sport and Recreation website to learn more about the grant, and to get your school involved, feel free to contact your peak body for more info!