This was published in the ‘NT Sun’ on July 31 2018
PE : NT EDUCATION HITS HOME RUN
Recently Bridget McKenzie the Deputy Leader of the National Party, called for physical education to become a compulsory curriculum component in all schools. Ms McKenzie decries the fact that in her opinion, physical education is not given the time and attention that it should be offered.
There will be many educators around Australia who respond with the thought of “where can we fit this into an already overcrowded curriculum“.
Ms McKenzie would appear to be commenting without understanding the way in which physical education fits into the Northern Territory schools curriculum. Nor has she studied our history. She does not know how long physical education has been part of NT school programs.
There would be few if any schools in the Northern Territory not paying attention to physical education and the important part it plays in student development. PE has been an area of focus in our schools for decades.
Sensory motor programs to develop skills and dexterity have been a part of early childhood programs for decades.
Many of our schools, both primary and secondary, have qualified Physical Education teachers on staff. They teach skills, agilities, games awareness and participation to all students.
Physical Education in NT schools is supported by sporting clubs in both urban and rural areas. Clubs offer after hours development and engage young people in sports competitions.
Development officers employed by sports groups spend time in our schools supporting PE programs.
The Northern Territory Government plays a very important part in furthering Physical Education programs for students. Every year vouchers are offered to parents to help offset costs associated with student sport. These can be processed through schools to help defray costs for those participating in organised sporting programs.
The government also provides vouchers to offset the cost of swimming programs organised through schools.
More informally, children are encouraged during recess and lunch breaks to go out and play in the wide open spaces of school yards. Many schools have large undercover areas and shaded playgrounds protecting students from the weather while they play.
Our Education Department and NT Schools are doing a fine job when it comes to providing what Ms McKenzie refers to as “Physical Literacy“.The call she makes for awareness in this domain, is in ignorance of what is happening in the NT.
When it comes to Physical Education, the NT Education Department and Government, often in association with sporting organisations, have already hit a home run!