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The guide is primarily for sport development officers and addresses the following key areas:

  • Different school sport systems in WA
  • Physical education curriculum
  • Strategies for sports
  • Passport checklist.

School sport and physical education

In reality, each school has its own procedures, identity and ethos and should be treated on an

individual basis. Below is some information about the following:

  • The different school sport systems
  • The physical education curriculum
  • Some differences between secondary and primary physical education, and sport that will help you to get started.

The different school sport systems


Some schools have a Physical Education (PE) Coordinator or Head of Department (HOD) and a School Sports Coordinator or Head of Sport (HOS). Sometimes this will be the same person.

School Sport WA (SSWA) is an association of school teachers whose principle purpose is to promote, organise and coordinate sporting competitions for school students at a local, regional, interstate and international level. School Sport WA caters for all students and encourages maximal participation in a range of quality sporting programs. The extent and intensity of the competition is varied and based on the experience, skill level, maturity and interest of the student.

In conducting its affairs, School Sport WA works in close cooperation with the Department of Education, other educational sectors, State Sport Associations, local government, key organisations in other states, schools and other agencies.

  • Contact School Sport WA for information on how to become a registered sport
  • To become a recognised sport you are required to have a service agreement between the State Sporting Association and School Sport WA, which clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of each organisation
  • Competitions are coordinated by a convener and organised by an approved sports committee
  • Any recognised school in Western Australia is a member of School Sport WA regardless of the sector
  • The extent of the sport programs at Department of Education (DoE) schools will vary considerably depending on the staff wishing to be involved and their location. Sport is not compulsory in DoE schools
  • Sport in DoE schools is undertaken within districts and zones/regions, unless they are special one-day events, in which case they are graded carnivals In the Champion Schools Competitions, schools can proceed from district, zone and regional championships to become the state-wide Champion School
  • Primary school and secondary school competitions are generally run separately.

School Sport WA (SSWA) Telephone 61 8 9264 4879


Associated and Catholic Colleges of Western Australia (ACC) is an independent secondary schools sports association. The ACC has a membership of over 67 schools catering to more than 48,000 students.

Member schools compete during the year in a range of activities:

  • traditional carnivals in athletics, cross country and swimming
  • fun participation lightning carnivals
  • weekly summer and winter inter-school sport
  • representative and all star teams and tours
  • Inclusive sport program for students with disabilities.
    • This association consists of Catholic colleges and associated secondary schools.
    • The sport programs at these schools may involve a wide range of sports and many coaches/umpires, some of whom may be teachers at the schools. The programs cater for all levels of ability and the cost of participation is generally included in school fees.
    • Sport is not compulsory in most ACC schools.
    • Catholic primary schools do not have a central sport system and are not a part of the ACC.
    • Some may participate in sports within their region, e.g. the Hills Inter-School Sports Association consists of 14 schools around the Swan View area but this varies depending on the area.
    • Primary and secondary competitions are run separately.
    • Schools can proceed from district, zone and regional championships to become statewide winners.

Associated and Catholic Colleges of Western Australia (ACC)
Telephone 61 8 9241 5200 Email

The Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia (AISWA), Independent Girls Schools Sports Association and Public Schools Association are three separate entities.

  • The AISWA refers to all Independent Schools under the same banner — both boys and girls schools.
  • The Independent Girls’ Schools Sports Association (IGSSA) is made up of eight Secondary Independent girls’ schools. The member schools compete in weekly sporting fixtures in the afternoons throughout each School Term, in a large variety of summer and winter sports, and participate in inter-school sports carnivals in Swimming, Cross-Country and Athletics.
  • The Public Schools Association (PSA) consists of seven Independent boys’ schools. PSA sporting matches normally take place either on Friday afternoons for years 7, 8 and 9 or Saturday mornings for years 10-12.
  • Co-curricular sport is not compulsory in IGSSA schools but is compulsory in most PSA schools.
  • The sport programs at these schools are very extensive involving a wide range of sports and many coaches/umpires, some of whom may be teachers at the schools. The programs cater for all levels of ability and the cost of participation is included in school fees.
  • The junior schools of IGSSA member schools participate in Junior IGSSA (JIGSSA) carnival sports throughout the year (Swimming, Cross-Country and Athletics) and in a Winter Games Day carnival that exposes all students to the IGSSA sports offered in senior School.
  • Independent primary schools participate in a variety of sporting organisations that have a different membership groups.

Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia (AISWA) Telephone 61 8 9441 1600


Independent Girls Schools Sports Association
Telephone 0416 007 456

Public Schools Association

The physical education curriculum Telephone: 61 8 9273 6300


An outcomes-focus in education is concerned with teachers addressing individual student needs and personal growth, rather than presenting the same set units with the same objectives to all students in the class. Teachers are required to determine where individual students are at in terms of skills, knowledge, understandings and values. They then plan and deliver programs that allow students the opportunity to display their ability and to progress against a developmentally sequenced set of outcomes.

The physical education (PE) program held in school time consists of units of work of varying lengths. Each unit involves one or more sporting contexts, e.g. netball or football. The sports covered may or may not coincide with the community sport seasons. Units are taught with an outcomes-focus and students’ progress is assessed and monitored using a selection of the five outcomes from the Health and Physical Education (HPE) Learning Area, namely:

  • Skills for physical activity
  • Self-management skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Attitudes and values.

An example of a program set out with an outcomes-focus is the CD ‘Pass, Catch, Kick’ produced by the Australian Rugby League Foundation.

Some differences between secondary and primary physical education and sport

Secondary schools — physical education and sport

  • Secondary schools — physical education and sport
  • Schools may work on a Monday to Friday timetable or a rotating timetable, e.g. a six-day rotating timetable where a Monday could also be a day 1–6.
  • The PE Coordinator or Head of Department is responsible for the PE curriculum taught in school time. This is usually determined in Term 4 for the following year.
  • PE is compulsory in schools to Year 10. If PE classes are taken by all students in Year 11/12 they are often recreation-based.
  • Year 11/12 PE Studies, which students may choose as a subject, is a Common Assessment Framework subject ( Part of the course is practical and students do one, two or three practical activities or sport units throughout the year. This subject stipulates a set of outcomes and each assessment task measures student performance on selected outcomes. A set of performance criteria supports each assessment task.
  • The Sport Coordinator or Head of Sport organises the inter-school or extra-curricular sport program. This may be conducted after school, on weekends or before school. Sport may or may not be compulsory depending on the school.
  • The intra-school or inter-house sport program consists of a series of competitions and activities run between the students within the school and may be organised by the PE Coordinator, the Sport Coordinator or house/faction teachers.

Primary schools — physical education and sport

  • PE is a compulsory subject for all students. Sport out of school time is not compulsory
  • The majority of primary schools do not have a PE specialist teacher. General classroom teachers take PE and sport
  • If the school does have a PE specialist they will be responsible for the PE curriculum, intra-school and inter-school sport
  • The amount of sport available at each school will vary. Some sport programs are run in school time (e.g. Friday afternoons) and may also include a daily fitness program
  • Junior School PE and sport programs focus largely on the development of fundamental movement skills. Further information may be obtained from:
    • ‘Sport It!’ Towards 2000. Teacher Resource Manual. Australian Sports Commission, 1994
    • Motor Skills & Movement Station Lesson Plans for Young Children: Teaching, Remediation and Assessment. Joanne M. Landy and Keith R. Burridge, 2000.

Establishing partnerships, some strategies to choose from

Each sport has its own specific circumstances and requirements that may be unique to that sport, for example:

  • team vs individual
  • single event vs regular fixtures
  • equipment and umpiring needs.

Below is a list of possible strategies that may be used to increase the profile of your sport with the students at local schools. Carefully choose the strategies you feel will best highlight the strengths, the requirements of your sport and the location of your target group.


It is important that sports organisations plan effectively to cater for potential student recruits before approaching schools to ensure a quality service and positive first-time experience for both the school and the new participants. Even with the best of intentions, first-time impressions have a lasting effect on students and the school Following are some things to consider:

  • From your knowledge of the school, ascertain the most appropriate method for making initial contact with the school (e.g. phone, fax, face-to- face contact, follow up email)
  • Build a professional relationship by contacting schools in Term 4 to plan for involvement in the following year
  • Responsibilities and expectations of both the school and the sports organisation need to be clearly outlined prior to the first session (e.g. teacher to be present for the whole session and the sports organisations to provide a fun, active introduction to the sport)
  • Try to link with existing programs offered at schools
  • Ensure you have the knowledge and capacity to cater for the age group (e.g. relevant programs,enough coaches and equipment, a focus on safety and a quality presenter able to motivate students)
  • All presenters should have a Working with Children Check if required, or alternative form of criminal record screening such as a National Police Certificate
  • Make sure there are clubs within close proximity to the school for the students to access
  • Ensure the program is of high quality and meets the school’s needs
  • Make sure the local clubs and the sports organisation are clear regarding what they want to achieve from a partnership with schools and how they will go about building it. The club must also be able to cater for a potential increase in members.


First and foremost, sports organisations need to establish whether the individual school is interested and has the time required to create a partnership with community sport. Sports organisations should take the lead in the development of the partnership.

Things to consider:

  • Schools are very busy places and it can be difficult to contact the right person. Plan well ahead and try and make your involvement as easy as possible for all concerned.
  • Contact the school to determine who is the best person to correspond with — the HOD, HOS (or both), the principal or a specific teacher interested in your sport. Try and find out the person’s name and keep this on file for future reference together with address, phone, and email details.
  • Follow up written information with a personal phone call. The school may be receptive to a ten minute appointment to discuss the program you are offering. If they are, try to find out some general information about the school before your appointment.
  • If a series of visits is organised, confirm the arrangements in writing via email
  • It is important to be dressed in neat sports clothes and present yourself in a professional manner
  • Ensure you highlight practices you will put in place to maximise students’ safety e.g. modified rules and equipment
  • Schools are always more interested in free services provided by professional organisations with high quality presenters
  • Provide a range of competitive and non-competitive programs for schools
  • A greater social element in the presentation of sport programs and less of a focus on intense competition may benefit the involvement of boys and girls at the junior level
  • Work with the specialist PE teachers to provide assistance with the delivery of the PE program in class time to reduce teacher/pupil ratios
  • Act as a mentor for non-specialist primary teachers to enhance their knowledge of your sport and provide them with easy-to-follow resources, such as a series of lesson plans that are developmentally appropriate
  • Develop a website for your sport. A good example is the Touch West website
  • Develop lesson plans that can be used in schools, e.g. the Australian Rugby League Foundation’s Pass, Catch, Kick
  • Utilise the school newsletter as a medium for promoting information to new and current members
  • In primary schools without a PE specialist, try to send your information to someone at the school who will do something with it (e.g. someone whom you know plays the sport, or someone who has contacted you previously and will act as your Ambassador in the school)
  • Encourage a club to adopt a school or vice versa. They could also adopt a class, team or consider providing awards.

Examples of good practice – school/community links

  1. Sharing resources
    • Hold registration days on school grounds. This event could coincide with planned carnival days, lunchtimes, PE week, or special sporting events.
    • Hold fixtures or training on school grounds directly after school or when facilities are available.
    • Remember to check your public liability insurance
    • Encourage equipment and facility sharing between clubs and schools
    • Advise on equipment purchases
    • Encourage joint acquisition of equipment between clubs and schools
    • Consider approaching TAFE colleges and universities that conduct teaching and recreation-based courses to seek their involvement in supporting Junior Sport Programs initiated by your sport
    • Run competitions for schools on their own school grounds
    • Train parents or family members as assistant coaches or umpires.
  2. Your most valuable resource – the kids
    • Form a junior member committee or a junior ambassador role at the local sporting club to liaise with local schools and to implement an action plan to increase the club’s junior membership numbers. Never underestimate the ability of children to solve a problem when they have ownership. Clubs could provide incentives (e.g. tickets to big games or sporting equipment) for their efforts.
    • Provide incentives for students not currently involved in any sporting activities to attempt to participate in local community events
    • Watch local schools’ competitions for talent identification in your sport
    • Approach the students personally or through their school to encourage them to join their local club.
  3. Variety of services
    • Offer incentives to schools, school teams or individuals for their continued positive support
    • Develop a register of club resources available to the school
    • Provide schools with a list of community sport contacts in your sport and keep this list up-to date
    • Provide clubs with copies of quality teacher resources used in PE programs
    • Provide schools in the area of your club with an information booklet on the services your sport offers, calendar and plans for the year
    • Organise a lunchtime demonstration of your sport or activity at the time it is being taught in the PE program. On another occasion invite students who are keen to play to be involved in a demonstration with experienced players. This could also be done in a special event week, e.g. PE Week.
    • Arrange to transport students to the club where they can be involved in games or training immediately after school
    • Invite students to participate in Have a Go days in the school holidays or prior to the start of the season.

Other information to consider

  • When using school or outside facilities or developing a new program or competition, ensure you
    have all information necessary regarding public liability insurance.

Sporting Schools foster a lifelong interest in sport

Sporting Schools is a Commonwealth Government funded program which brings together schools and sports to help get Aussie children active in their local communities. Sporting Schools is open to all Australian primary schools, and with quality programs developed by over 30 national sporting organisations, it offers a fun and supportive environment for children and coaches. For more information see

Passport checklist

  1. Contact schools and determine the best way to communicate with them (every school is different)
  2. Be aware that schools plan the following year’s program in Term 4
  3. Determine how your program fits into the school curriculum
  4. Consider developing low to no-cost programs
  5. Send program information to the appropriate school contact and follow up with a phone call
  6. Consider school/club links (are there clubs within the school’s area?). Consider getting a local club representative to assist with a school program.
  7. Make sure you demonstrate a professional approach (e.g. written information, appropriate dress,your presentation and language)
  8. Aim for enjoyment and high participation programs rather than competition
  9. Remember school classes generally have 25–30 students, be prepared to handle large class sizes.
Page reviewed 11 September 2023