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Sport in Education project

Sport in Education project

The Sport in Education (SiE) project contributes to improved academic, social and sporting outcomes for schools and their students by using sport as a context for learning and student engagement.

Sport has generally been promoted for its positive impact on young people's physical health. An increasing body of international evidence suggests that increased participation in sport and physical activity can also lead to improved academic and social outcomes, benefiting students, schools and communities.

About the project

The 3-year (2012-2015) Sport in Education (SiE) project, being delivered in 8 schools, aims to develop, trial and evaluate approaches to improve these academic and social outcomes that will also be made available to all schools.

The schools participating in the project are:

  • Aotea College, Wellington
  • Hillmorton High School, Christchurch
  • Howick College, Auckland
  • Kaikorai Valley College, Dunedin
  • Papakura High School, Auckland
  • Queen's High School, Dunedin
  • Tauranga Boys' College, Tauranga
  • Te Kuiti High School, Te Kuiti.

The project also aims to improve the delivery of PE and sports programmes in surrounding primary schools, and to engage community organisations, such as clubs, in supporting teachers and students involved in sport in schools.

For background and more information about the project see:


The main initiatives of the project include:

  • developing teaching and assessment resources in maths, English, PE and other learning areas using sport as a context to engage students in learning
  • developing an associated professional development support programme. See SiE curriculum resources
  • resourcing a dedicated PE leader within the school to provide professional development and help with the introduction of new teaching practices
  • linking secondary schools and clusters of primary schools, where secondary PE experts can provide professional development and support to primary school teachers
  • delivering a student leadership programme in secondary schools, focusing on coaching, and utilising these leaders/coaches in primary schools. See SiE Student Leadership resources
  • incorporating the values and characteristics of sport into the school environment, for example, teamwork, rules, respect and leadership.
  • enhancing links to the wider school community, including families, to improve facility utilisation and access, and establish school-community/club/RST partnerships and sports councils.

The participating schools are also helping to develop the approach, resources and practices.

Critical success factors

Seven critical success factors have been identified that give Sport in Education the best chance of being successfully implemented and integrated into schools:

  1. Principal and senior management team leadership, support and advocacy - including being proactive in driving enablers like timetable structures, budget, planning and preparation opportunities, professional learning and network opportunities.
  2. A quality, dedicated in-school SiE leader - including an ability to connect with primary school principals and the wider sporting community.
  3. Time to plan and prepare – including time for cross-curricular planning.
  4. Motivated, valued, passionate teachers – including an ability to understand and apply a range of effective pedagogies.
  5. Build buy-in from other staff as well as the school community (students, board of trustees, contributing primary schools) – including the use of the student voice to leverage the SiE concept.
  6. SiE is a part of school strategic and annual plans – including SiE being woven into other school programmes, strategies and interventions.
  7. Expert support through project design and leadership – including the provision of quality professional development and networking opportunities.

For more information about the SiE project contact the Project Manager, Garry Carnachan, at or phone 027 563 8000.

Examples of the project being used

Celia Fleck, Aotea College

Celia Fleck, a teacher from Aotea College shares her Sport in Education experience. Their aim was to improve engagement and achievement for Year 11 Maori and Pasifika students using the Sport in Education.

Find out how they did it:

Related links

Sport in Education newsletter

Year 2 Evaluation - Getting Runs on the Board (PDF 3.6MB) 

NZCER presentation about creating and embedding change in schools (PPT 654KB)

Research on How sport and physical activity enhance children's learning (PDF 3MB Government of Western Australia )

NRL stats resource. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the National Rugby League (NRL) have developed a program using football to improve the statistical literacy of young Australians.

NRich sport collection. A nice collection of NRich activities related to sport.

Millennium mathematics project (University of Cambridge). 'Maths and Sport: Countdown to the Games' is an exciting initiative originally developed to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It contains free online mathematical resources exploring maths and science through sport, and through the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Resources include activities designed to develop problem-solving and mathematical reasoning skills for students aged 5 to 18 (UK Key Stages 1 to 5). The site includes a small collection of activities on Maths and football in collaboration with Arsenal in the Community.

If you require an accessible version of any content on the site please contact us and we will be happy to assist.

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