The program, which has reached 77 per cent of schools in its first five years, received a further $40.8 million in Tuesday’s budget to continue the program until the end of 2022.
Australian Sports Commission Chair Josephine Sukkar AM said the funding will ensure even more children across Australia experience the physical, social and psychological benefits of participation in sport.
“Sporting Schools can provide that important first step to get children active and engaged through sport. We want to give every Australian child the opportunity to identify and build skills in a sport they like, and then connect them with community sports organisations,” Ms Sukkar said.
Since its launch in 2015, more than 8,000 schools have been funded by the Sporting Schools program with more than 520,000 children participating in a Sporting Schools program each term.
Sporting Schools partners with 35 national sporting organisations to provide free and fun sporting opportunities for children before, during and after school. Programs are offered in primary schools with a targeted program for Year 7 and 8 students in secondary schools.
Sport Australia Acting CEO Rob Dalton added: “Sport and physical activity is vital to the overall development of children. Studies have shown that more than half of Australian schoolchildren are not meeting the daily recommended level of physical activity – 60 active minutes each day. Not only will sport benefit their mental health and wellbeing, it will help them build friendships and confidence, and more often than not improve their academic performance and attention span.”
“We know that active children are more likely to become active adults and that’s why this program is so important. One positive connection with Sporting Schools could help make a lifetime of difference.”
Mr Dalton also welcomed the Australian Government’s continued investment in women’s sport including $5 million to plan and deliver the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup and increase female participation and leadership in basketball.
Funding was also allocated to support the Matildas and national youth teams ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“Hosting major sporting events like these on home soil will play a significant role in the nation’s recovery from the pandemic. These two showpiece women’s World Cup events come after an incredibly successful ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020 and offer further opportunities to inspire our young girls and women to get involved in sport.”