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Sport and physical activity must be part of holistic education

20 April 2018

Australian Sports Commission (ASC) Chief Executive Kate Palmer said all Australian children, as part of their holistic development and learning, must be provided with access to high quality sport and physical activity.

The ASC made a submission to the review chaired by Mr David Gonski AC and has welcomed the release of the report - Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Education Excellence in Australian Schools.

The Report states sport should be among activities regarded as “integral” to education, not seen as ‘extra-curricular’, because it “has a significant impact on a student's learning growth in the cognitive, affective and physical domains of learning.

“These activities help build social, emotional and physical skills; they teach independence, resilience and teamwork; they build initiative and creativity; they teach persistence, problem-solving, communication and collaboration.”

Palmer said the ASC had made its submission to the review to advocate for a coordinated national approach to sport and physical education.

“Sport and physical education needs to be re-emphasised in schools. The Report supports the ASC’s view that sport and physical activity are integral to learning, building critical social, emotional and physical skills,” Palmer said.

“An abundance of research tells us sport and physical activity can contribute positively to academic pursuits, but most importantly it develops the physical, psychological, cognitive and social capabilities of children.

“The ASC believes sport and physical activity plays an important role in improving both educational and health outcomes for future generations. Education prepares our children with skills for life, so every young person in Australia deserves the opportunity to learn how to move better and be active for life.”

The ASC supports the Report’s emphasis on growth and development, with a focus on continuous improvement. This is reflected in the ASC’s development of the Australian Physical Literacy Standard and through the national Sporting Schools program. The ASC also supports the call for greater coordination of data and research efforts in schools, to better inform strategies that enhance outcomes for all Australians.

Palmer said: “In partnership with education, health and sport sectors, we can support better education outcomes, improve health and wellbeing, and ensure all Australians benefit from a physically active lifestyle.”

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