Connecting with community partners to develop stronger ties to HPE

When it comes to delivering quality health and physical education (HPE) programs, the old saying "it takes a village" springs to mind. While the responsibility of delivering the HPE curriculum primarily rests with schools and teachers, the support and collaboration of community stakeholders and like-minded organisations can help amplify the impact and effectiveness of HPE programs.

By engaging with organisations and businesses aligned with achieving the same outcomes as quality HPE programs, educators can create a network of resources that enriches the educational experience, extending beyond the four walls of a classroom or the gates of the school yard.

Creating connections between communities, organisations and HPE educators helps ensure the needs of teachers and students are met. To guide and facilitate these connections, ACHPER Victoria has launched a Consulting Business Unit (CBU).

The purpose of the CBU is to position ACHPER Victoria a leader in the consulting space, sharing expertise in areas relating to HPE, physical activity, active recreation, sport, and health and wellbeing as it relates to children and youth, and their attainment of lifelong health and active lifestyles.

Our consulting services may also include the development of built environments, for example, utilising a school’s infrastructure as a place where physical activity and wellbeing is prioritised.

Further to this, ACHPER Victoria has extensive experience in interpreting and delivering the Victorian Curriculum and Australian Curriculum, including the mapping of teacher/school resources to the curriculum. Our expertise in engaging with schools and teachers to implement whole of school improvement can be applied more broadly than in the context of HPE and is a strength of the work we can deliver within the CBU.

Engaging with teachers, schools, and sport and recreation providers

ACHPER Victoria’s ongoing engagement with teachers, schools, and sport and recreation providers allows us to understand the complexities and dynamics of working in various contexts. We work alongside national, sporting organisations, health agencies, and businesses that offer a product, service or program they wish to embed within a school setting.

In 2023, the CBU participated in six Expert Advisory Groups across key areas of health and physical education, outdoor education, sport and exercise science, and public health. The team showcased its deep understanding and expertise across a multitude of sectors to equip these organisations to assist Victorians in leading healthy and active lives.

We joined forces with the Victorian Healthy Eating Education Group (VHEEG) to consult on projects delivered around curriculum aligned pieces for Vic Kids Eat Well (managed by Cancer Council Victoria, VicHealth, and the Victorian State Government), along with the ABC, which provided clarity around support and resources available to educators.

The CBU also collaborated with South-East Public Health Unit Community of Practice (run by Monash Health), to provide educational, health and physical activity guidance along with facilitated professional learning to LGA staff across the state. This work provided staff with a stronger understanding of schools and how to tailor LGA programs to increase health and physical activity strategic priorities in children and young people.

Fostering the understanding and importance of leading an active and healthy life

A great example of the CBU’s work was consultancy to help deliver Australian Sports Commission (ASC) online course – a major project in 2023. It was designed to increase the confidence and competency of generalist primary classroom teachers to deliver fun and engaging Physical Education programs. As part of an ACHPER Australia consortium, ACHPER Victoria’s CBU led the development, writing and video content creation for all elements of the project. After 14 months of writing and review, the course was successfully released late last year, and continues to support long-term behavioural change in teachers with low to moderate interest and/or knowledge in teaching Physical Education.

Making an impact

In early 2022, AFL Victoria invited ACHPER Victoria to undertake a review of their current offerings across the 13 Victorian School Sports Associations who deliver AFL competitions. The review, research, and expert advice from ACHPER Victoria provided recommendations for AFL Victoria to implement across schools to increase participation, focusing on diversity, inclusion, and pathways for both participation and elite competition, including for girls. In early 2023, AFL Victoria endorsed all seven key recommendations that were developed and presented for consideration, leading to a pilot of a new modified AFL school’s format being rolled out.

We are excited to extend the consulting area of ACHPER Victoria’s expertise, working alongside organisations to create effective partnerships. By leveraging the power of collaboration, we aim to help educators provide more robust HPE frameworks and supportive environments to enable students to live active and healthy lives.

Learn more about our consultancy work here, and if your health, physical and outdoor education, sport, recreation, or wellbeing organisation would like to work with us, please click here to submit an enquiry.