Active Schools

Active Schools

Building the foundations for our school-aged kids to be more active, more often

The thing I remember most fondly about my time at school was being ACTIVE!

Whilst it was a long time ago, the memories are fond, colourful and animated. What I remember most were all the opportunities I had to be physically active. Playing outside was a big deal for my generation. We’d scoff our food down during breaks so we had more time to play. The activities available were wide and diverse, everything from swinging on the monkey bars, elastics to playing rounders.

Additional to play during breaks, there was Physical Education, School Sports and School Camps for even more opportunities to be physically active. Living close to school meant I walked to and from school every day with a tribe of others, even though I secretly wanted to be one of the kids that mum dropped off, just once!  School certainly helped shape my love of being active. It provided the right environment to try new sports and activities and instilled a ‘have a go’ attitude without fear of failure.

The school environment was so supportive of physical activity and sport that it’s no surprise so many kids went on to great achievements in sport. One of my besties – Kathy Watt – went on to become a world-famous cyclist, inspiring a nation to get on a bike and start peddling. For me personally, my school experience inspired me to choose a career in physical activity and become a long-term advocate for getting more people more active more often.

Kathy Watt - Olympic Games Gold Medalist

In the 21st century where much has changed in our society and our communities, can schools make a difference in getting more kids, more active, more often and set them up to be active for life?

YES they can!

Schools are at the heart of communities and they play a big part of preparing our kids for life. That doesn’t just mean in an academic sense, they can also play a pivotal role in teaching kids the behaviours and practices that will support them to become physically active for life and enjoy the many and varied benefits that come with an active lifestyle. Schools can do this by valuing physical activity as a foundation of learning and making sure it is an important part of the school curriculum.

So why should physical activity be a pillar of our kid’s education?

The evidence is clear:

💃 Active kids are #happy, #healthy and #resilient kids.

🤸‍♂️ Active kids are active learners.

Who else benefits from encouraging schools to promote physical activity?

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Active schools help build #activecommunities and active communities have a ripple effect at a societal level providing far reaching benefits – health and wellbeing, social, environmental and economic.

So, creating active schools through a whole of school approach is a no brainer and is the premise behind the new Victorian Government Active Schools Framework.  The Victorian Government has stayed true to its commitment to invest in promoting physical activity in schools and the Active Schools Framework builds on the Vic Government’s policy framework including the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan and Active Victoria by focusing and investing in schools as a principle setting for change. 

What is the Active Schools Framework?

The Active Schools Framework outlines six key priorities to help our schools become Active Schools. There is no single solution to shifting inactivity; it takes a multifaceted and systemic effort. The success and outcomes will be maximised through a whole range of initiatives from practical resources, to grants and support and campaigns.

Active Schools is more than just sport

When we say or hear ‘active’ or physical activity, our default thought is often sport. Active Schools will require us to move well beyond the default. Making sure there are a wide range of options available so all kids of all abilities, backgrounds and interests, can experience and enjoy being physically active. All forms of physical activity are valuable and can result in health benefits if undertaken daily. Think dance, climbing, parkour, pickleball, martial arts, scooting and walking to school, standing desks, chasey and gymnastics just to name a few. And this will require more than the school because schools can’t do it all either.

Collaboration will be the key in bringing this all together to ensure this reform has lasting and material impact. Teachers, principals, parents, communities, clubs and groups, local government and other stakeholders working together will maximise this multimillion-dollar investment. This opportunity will provide the best chance to get more kids more active more often, for a lifetime.

With my local government hat on, Active Schools provides a wonderful platform to strengthen or build relationships with schools.  Local government is in a unique position to plan and facilitate the necessary environment including:

– Active Transport – walking, cycling, scooting, skating to school
– Identifying shared use facility arrangements or projects
– Connecting schools with local community groups, clubs and individuals that can support the Active Schools Framework
– Facilitating or joining up networks
– Using local government communication capabilities and channels to promote active campaigns, days or other initiatives.

Do you want to work in the Active Schools Initiative? We are looking for a Project Manager to join the ACHPER team

ACHPER Victoria has been funded by the Department of Education and Training (DET) Victoria to act as the supplier to deliver the Active Schools Expert Support Service and support Victorian government schools to implement the Active Schools Framework.

Rec People is inviting applications from those with a background in local government or the wider Physical Activity sector for the role of Active Schools Project Manager. The successful applicant will play a key role in the ACHPER Victoria team, acting as a conduit in bringing together various stakeholders to ensure the successful completion, on time and on budget, of programs, services and initiatives identified by participating Victorian Government schools.

For more details on this position and others, please visit our jobs board at

Applications for the Project Manager and Administration Support Officer close on Thursday 7th October at 5.00pm AEST.

Kerry Irwin
Rec People Industry Expert

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