Sydney East Schools Sports Association 'play for fun' initiative
The Sydney East Schools Sports Association is ‘committed to the pursuit of excellence and the provision of high quality educational opportunities for each and every child’ (School Excellence Framework). We provide high quality and varied opportunities for students in a range of sports across our Association. We acknowledge the importance of our role and aim to be at the forefront of educational leadership through sport. The ‘play for fun’ initiative has been developed to ensure we continue to provide exemplary and unique programs reflecting and responding to the needs and requirements of our students and schools.
Current trends and changing circumstances including, but not limited to, increased student numbers in the Association, current research, gender equity and need for competition vs participation in the under 12’s space, suggested a multi-facetted and innovative approach is required to ensure high quality support and opportunities are available to all students and sustainable for staff. ‘Innovation and a culture of continual improvement is essential for us to respond to the changing needs of the people of NSW’ (DoE 5-Year Strategic Plan). We, as an Association, are cognitive of the need to be agile and adaptive in our thinking with the ability to offer the highest quality, contemporary programs that supports the cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual wellbeing of all students as outlined in The School Excellence Framework - Learning Element – Wellbeing’
The Sydney East ‘play for fun’ initiative will run parallel to the existing representative programs. The aim is to complement existing representative opportunities – not detract or run in competition with them in any way. The focus is on attracting students not currently engaged with sport and physical activity programs. It has been developed to ensure we continue to provide maximum opportunities for our students and promote our ethos of ‘participation is winning’ in a manner which reflects current trends, need and research. ‘Play for fun’ will provide additional opportunities for students through:
- The introduction of a range of female sports not currently offered in the Primary and Secondary space.
- Additional sporting opportunities for boys in both the Primary and Secondary space including Netball and Rugby Union 7’s.
- The reintroduction of the Primary Water Polo program which has operated successfully at the Association level for the past 15 years, and at the state level for 12 years.
- The reintroduction of Year 7 and 8 Sports Gala Days at an Association level to encourage participation and skill development.
- The introduction of recreational and non-traditional sports such as skateboarding, Oz-tag, orienteering, ultimate Frisbee and surfing.
- Further opportunities for athletes with a disability.
- Trans-gender and intersex inclusion programs and sporting opportunities.
- Establishing greater links with Aboriginal partners and offer additional opportunities for indigenous students.
- The objective is to have more students playing more sports, more often.
However, the ‘play for fun’ initiative is more than gala days. While student participation is a key element of the program, schools and sports organisers are invited to use the Sport Participation Officer as a resource who can be called upon to assist with engaging students in sport and physical activity – particularly students who may not currently be engaged. The aim is to build the capacity of teachers through PL opportunities, support and advice related to co-ordinating and implementing sport and physical activity within schools and offering support with the PDHPE Syllabus and/or the Physical Literacy Continuum.
Sydney East has also established an academic partnership with Dr Steve Georgakis, senior lecturer of pedagogy and sports studies at the University of Sydney. Dr Georgakis will utilise the program as a component of the University students’ official unit of study and provide an analysis of the success of the gala days through the use of school student questionnaires.