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School PE programme passes the first test

23 May 2005

Media Release
For immediate release

School physical education programme passes the first test

A government pilot promoting better physical education in schools has helped schools significantly improve their teaching and has had school-wide benefits, say staff of the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland.

"During the pilot we saw teachers grow more confident in their abilities to teach physical education. We also saw the students respond and enjoy physical education much more. They asked more questions and took more responsibility for their learning," says Margot Hinton, a health and physical education facilitator in Team Solutions, the Faculty's school support arm. She was responsible for delivering teacher professional development in the Physical Activity Primary pilot to eight Auckland schools.

"For some schools, PE is all about sport, and topics are covered in short sharp blocks. This can result in a lack of indepth learning. We encouraged the schools to look at deeper learning, find crossovers within the curriculum, and use new teaching methods and resources such as 'teaching games for understanding', 'adventure-based learning', and 'moving in context.'

Schools reported improved attitudes to learning in other subjects, she said.

Late last year Sport and Recreation and Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced an extra $8m for schools to encourage children to become more physically active. Eighteen specialist physical education advisors are being appointed across the country; Auckland and Northland’s allocation is 6.3 full-time equivalents.

This month, groups at a hui organised by the Ministry of Education and SPARC (Sport and Recreation Council) began mapping the further roll-out of professional development for teachers and schools, with Regional Sports Trusts staff.

Lana Wolfgram ,a former team leader at St Mary’s school in Northcote, one of the pilot schools, praised TEAM Solutions and the physical activity coordinators from the regional sports trusts for their role in helping her school establish quality learning and physical activity programmes such as a 'pushplay' challenge for families, a 'jumpjam' session before school, lunchtime activities for sports leaders, triathlons, and a 'community wellness group' of parents and friends of the school. The school also held a hui for children to share what they had learned with other teachers and parents.

"Results for us were fantastic community involvement, and higher achievement by our students,” says Lana.

"There was tremendous carry-over to other curriculum areas. We used some of the same teaching approaches in other subjects and we noticed the children growing more skilled and confident in their learning.”

A government regulation requiring schools to give more emphasis to quality physical activity for students in years one to six comes into force at the beginning of 2006.

During 2005 and 2006, the 18 new specialist physical education advisors will work with schools and teachers from every primary school in the country to explain the new regulations and to consider their professional development needs. Professional development will be available in all regions aiming to help students develop competent movement skills and enjoy physical activity experiences, which will, it is hoped, motivate young people to engage in regular physical activity throughout life.

The Auckland schools that took part in the pilot were:

North Shore:
Coatesville school, Stanmore Bay School, Wairau Intermediate school, St Mary’s school
South Auckland:
East Tamaki school, Manurewa West school, Kura Akonga school and Kura Kaupapa O Manurewa school


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