Minister for Health and Sport Sussan Ley on Monday launched the start of the Government’s new Sporting Schools programme as part of a $100 million Abbot Government initiative to keep primary school students across Australia fit, healthy and happy. The programme will give primary schools across Australia an access to accredited coaches from more than 30 sports before, during, or after school.

According to the reports of, a quarter of Australian children are now overweight and many more lack the basic skills needed in everyday life like running, catching, throwing, and kicking. The Accredit coaches will be paid to visit 5700 schools and help 850,000 students by 2017 as noted by Daily Telegraph.

Ms. Ley said encouraging children to play a sport instead of doing exercise alone is essential for the kids’ development. She added that sport is a “way of life” in Australia and keeps children fit and healthy while teaching kids skills they can use in life. The 53-year-old Member of the Parliament also cited that only half of the children in Australia are involved in sport.

“Three-quarters of Australian kids spend their spare time watching television, yet only one third of children are managing the recommended hour of physical activity a day,” Ms Ley said. “That’s why our new Sporting Schools programme is so important to ensuring current and future generations of Australian kids keep fit, healthy and happy.”

Ms Ley also pointed out that Sporting Schools was a core foundation of the Government’s Play.Sport.Australia strategy to improve participation in organised sport for people of all ages with 4,000 schools across the country having been already registered to the programme. She added that the initiative provides children the ability to try a number of different sports and find the ones they love the most, which in turn help parents “save time and money.”

Australian Sports Commission CEO Simon Hollingsworth said the programme was a combined effort between the Federal Government, the ASC, and more than 30 of Australia’s national sporting organisations to drive sport participation of children. Hollingsworth added that primary schools can also access sporting products developed by leading sports organisation.

“Sporting Schools was developed on the basis of ‘skills not drills’ to help children develop a strong connection to sport and participation at a young age. This programme is a great example of the nation’s sporting community working together to help Australian children get active and into organised sport,” Hollingsworth said as reported by

Werrington Public School in New South Wales kicked off the program on Monday as part of the biggest change in school sport in over a decade. The school’s program co-ordinator Clare McLennan said that Werrington will offer a variety of sports and skills that will give kids high exposure to sport and good opportunity to connect more with the local community.

Maridahdi Early Childhood Community School, a primary school in Toowoomba has also registered for the program. Sports coordinator Elise Harmon said that the school has been always looking for ways to “incorporate sport” outside school hours to give children the necessary skills and techniques, the Chronicle reported.

Australian Institute of Sport has also developed a new online resource that offers tips to parents about how to nurture children’s growth interest in sport converting it into a life-time love of participation. Ms Ley revealed that the online resource will be helpful for parents in covering “everything” to make their child participate in sport and develop skills.

Five tips to nurture your child’s sporting development courtesy of

TIP 1: Foster a full range of fundamental movement skills. This includes kicking or hitting a ball, running, jumping, climbing and basic aquatic skills.

TIP 2: Promote play by setting up diverse and stimulating environments at home. Use a variety of areas around the home, like the backyard or even the hallway, to play. Provide a variety of sports equipment. Encourage ambidexterity (use of limbs on both sides of the body).

TIP 3: Foster everyday sport activity at home and be an effective support provider. Limit screen time at home. Provide a positive encouragement for sporting activity and get involved.

TIP 4: Insist on the right sport format and equipment. Sporting Schools provides a great choice of appropriate sport formats for primary school children that are lots of fun. Buy the right sized equipment.

TIP 5: Sample and have fun! Resist the temptation for your child to specialise in one sport too early. Sampling a large range of sports, at least until the age of 15, is likely to assist the development of a full range of sporting skills, coordination and control. It also minimises the risks of injuries and allows kids to work out which sports they like most.

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