Page 756 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 1 April 2008
particularly like to congratulate the John James Memorial Foundation for their involvement in this program. I thank them very much for their sponsorship and I thank Adam Pine for his commitment to the new foundation. I am sure that all members will join me in congratulating Adam on his selection over the weekend in the Australian team for the Beijing Olympics.
To complement the work of the foundation, I have instigated a minister’s physical activity challenge to be held in term 2 this year. The challenge will involve encouraging students to participate in 60 minutes of physical activity each day over a 10-week period. By participating, children will help their school towards reward packages of additional sporting equipment and additional financial support by the foundation.
Our commitment to the Children’s Physical Activity Foundation is just the latest of the many steps that the government is taking to encourage young Canberrans into healthier and more active lives. In August last year, I released a discussion paper entitled Get a move on: the importance of school-based initiatives to increase children’s physical activity. That paper outlined some specific initiatives aimed at promoting PE in primary schools, including the need to strengthen professional development in our primary school teachers.
As a result of this discussion paper and the important financial management that this government has shown, in November last year I was able to announce a $1.2 million fund to provide support for three specialist PE teachers to coordinate physical education in our primary schools across the north, south and central areas of the city. These teachers are helping to develop capacity in their primary school colleagues to deliver even higher quality PE programs for our students.
From this year, all primary schools will have access to specialist PE teachers who are providing professional development and support for primary teachers. This is to ensure that our primary school teachers have the ability to deliver quality PE programs that raise physical activity and skill levels as well as engage students. With our high schools already having specialist PE teachers, these primary school PE specialists will work to forge ongoing links between the high school and primary school sectors.
A range of other steps is being undertaken to encourage healthy lifestyles in our schools. I am very pleased to announce an expansion of the Australian school-based apprenticeship program that will allow students to undertake VET certificates in sport and recreation. This will enable those students to undertake their course work in support of our primary schools. We are also complementing our focus on physical education in schools with dietary and nutritional campaigns. I am sure that all members would be aware of the old saying “healthy mind, healthy body”. The commitment we on this side of the chamber have is to quality PE. It is not just about sport; it is about quality physical activity opportunities; it can be in a range of areas.
It is important that we have this focus, and a renewed focus, in our school system. We are very confident that it will lead to improvements in a range of other areas of education. There is no doubt that international research shows a very strong link