Play, sport and physical activity for young people

29 June 2017 is a project supporting teachers, schools, parents and community organisations to improve the quality of young people’s experiences of play, physical education, physical activity and sport.

Download the Play.Sport overview document (pdf, 65kb)

The project, which was launched in March 2016 and is currently available as a pilot in 44 schools across Upper Hutt and Waitakere, is focused on developing an understanding of the ideal implementation approach, critical success factors and impact.

Through, Sport NZ will:

  • Provide professional development support to teachers of physical education
  • Assist schools with the workforce required to deliver quality play and sport opportunities for students
  • Assist schools in working together with their community to support and deliver play, sport and physical activity opportunities for all students
  • Develop guidance for schools on the selection of outside providers of sport, and establish an accreditation system to drive consistency and quality in those providers
  • Raise the understanding and profile of PE and sport in schools
  • Develop more collaborative, longer term, policy environments, particularly between education, health and sport.

Many of the specific learnings and proposals of have resulted from an enquiry and review process called the School Sport Futures Project (SSFP). The aim of this year long SSFP, was to look at the current state of school sport and physical education, with a view to developing some solutions to the challenges identified.

The project is made up of three components - school support, community leadership and national leadership.

School support

Schools need hands-on support, training and practical assistance. Our most successful interventions in the past have been when education (curriculum) and sport (extra-curricular) have worked in alignment. Providing access to expertise and support in both areas is the most practical and cost-effective way for schools to empower themselves and make sustainable change.

Within, we will address this by providing:

  • PE Mentors: PE specialists to work in the classroom (part of the week) with all primary teachers, regularly, long-term (3-4 years in their cluster before moving to the next one) to empower and upskill the whole school.
  • Curriculum Advisors: To work with Principals, Board, teachers to strategize and develop innovative and planned PE strategy and school plans, encompassing all learning areas to improve children’s engagement and activity at school.
  • Activators (primary school): School-based play and sport facilitators to work within schools and across communities to ensure aligned, appropriate and organised opportunities that meet the needs of the children. Activators will facilitate and lead the play, physical activity and sport opportunities, and support teachers in integrating quality physical activity and sport in and out of school time.
  • Sport Coordinators (secondary school). Extend support for schools to coordinate quality physical activities outside the classroom.

Community leadership

Communities must lead and develop their own solutions that are flexible and orientated to their needs.

Within, we will address this by:

  • Implementing a community level governance/management group: While Sport NZ will establish a national approach to the delivery of, each area will be locally led in the implementation of in order to identify their specific community’s needs and adapt accordingly.
  • Implementing a facilities (spaces and places) audit process and shared operating model: To understand what children and young people need from spaces and places (built facilities, green, grey and blue spaces, clubs, fields, etc) and to work with them to identify issues and opportunities.
  • Instigating a quality assurance process for providers: To provide schools and clubs with guidance on how to select appropriate providers to deliver sport and physical activity in their setting. Currently there is not a quality assurance process (beyond a range of guidelines) for providers who work in the school space i.e. it is an ‘open door’ to schools who will often allow in providers based on cost only.

National leadership

It is important that we have a vision for young people in New Zealand in regard to physical activity that we can all strive for which is led by Government.

Within, we will address this through:

  • Promoting a ‘Manifesto’: To highlight and give effect to the social, economic, education, health and personal benefits that quality sport and PE brings to individuals and the community. Setting the expectation that every child should have equal access to quality physical activity opportunities. Ensuring the importance of physical education to assist with children’s learning and development is well understood. Ensuring the engagement of children in regular quality physical activity is well understood and promoted.
  • Implementing a physical literacy approach: Sport NZ believes that a better understanding of physical literacy, like ‘health literacy’ or ‘nutrition literacy’, will support people to have the motivation, tools and confidence to be active. Having a shared physical literacy approach will enable the health, education and sport sectors to be better aligned in their respective contributions to supporting physical activity.
  • Instigating a research, monitoring and evaluation (RME) framework: We will evaluate changes in the quality of PE teaching, appropriate sport provision, and teacher confidence and competence, as well as student confidence and competence within the initiative
  • Advocating for a review of Initial Teacher Education: This is a difficult policy/regulatory area that involves tertiary institution funding models driving course structure. The intention is to initiate discussion with relevant government agencies and training providers to agree to review process.

For more information on contact or you can read more about the School Sport Futures Project here (PDF).

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