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Education bodies call for physical education needs to be at the forefront of every child’s schooling

Education bodies call for physical education needs to be at the forefront of every child’s schooling
March 8, 2017

Australia’s peak education and health, sport and physical education professional bodies have voiced collective concern about the recent new evidence showing that we are putting children at early higher risk of chronic disease and impeding their academic progress by failing to provide quality health and physical education in all schools.

In a joint statement, the influential associations warn that now more than ever before, health education, physical education and sport needs to be at the forefront of every child’s education.

Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER), National Executive Director, Alison Turner explained “findings from the Australian Lifestyle of our Kids (LOOK) study, led by Professor Dick Telford, have demonstrated that children who were taught quality health and physical education entered secondary school with a substantially increased progression in nationally assessed numeracy and literacy, in addition to a range of important health benefits.

“This recent new evidence of the health and academic benefits, as well as the extremely important social benefits, vindicate the premise that mind and body work together for optimal educative development of the child.

“We highlight a collective need for Principals and Government to start listening to what the LOOK findings prove, which is that quality health and physical education improves NAPLAN scores in schools, especially numeracy.”

Tennis Australia, is backing the call, with Chief Executive Craig Tiley stating it’s philosophy is closely aligned with the peak education bodies.

Tiley explained “sport has, and continues to play, a very significant role in the lives of all Australian families and communities.

“Schools provide great opportunities for children to participate in sports, which in turn develops the physical, social and emotional skills which are critical to a child’s development.

“At Tennis Australia, we are very proud to support Australian schools and teachers in the delivery of sustainable health and physical education programs. Tennis values the importance of health and physical education, and the role which sports play in providing opportunities for children to get active.”

Executive Director of the Australian Secondary Principals Association (ASPA), Rob Nairn, said that the importance of specialised expertise and curriculum knowledge for the teaching of Health and Physical Education in secondary schools can no longer be ignored.

Nairn stated “Professor Dick Telford’s work gives us further information to enable teachers to deliver quality Health and Physical Education and advocate for holistic student wellbeing and improved academic outcomes.”

In addition to ACHPER and ASPA, the initiative is backed by the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA).

Professor Richard (Dick) Telford AM was the Fritz Duras Memorial Lecturer at the 30th ACHPER International Conference in Canberra on 17th January 2017, where he presented on the LOOK findings. 

Image: Tennis Australia Hot Shots.

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