Becoming an active school

The value of being an active school

Children spend about half of their waking hours at school. It is critical that schools support and encourage children and young people to move more and sit less throughout the day – before, during and after school.

There is a wealth of evidence supporting the role that schools can play in promoting physical activity and the health of students. Benefits of being active at school include improvements in:

  • classroom behaviour
  • brain function
  • concentration
  • learning outcomes
  • motivation
  • social interactions
  • physical health
  • emotional and psychological well-being

FISO and school planning

Valuing and prioritising physical activity as a part of your school culture supports the improvement of student achievement, engagement and wellbeing as per the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO).

By providing holistic opportunities for physical activity, teachers and schools are building a positive climate for learning where students are engaged and ready to learn.

How to become an active school

This toolkit aims to provide simple, tangible steps to become an active school. Explore extra opportunities for the active schools initiative, such as grants, funding boosts and the active schools support service for physical education leaders and extracurricular coordinators.

Some schools may already be taking action in some areas of the framework. For example, a school might already be running a quality physical education program, and offering comprehensive school sport. They may elect to focus on improving their active recreation offerings by designing an outdoor education program, or focus on making their classrooms less sedentary and more active. The framework is designed to be applied flexibly according to school context and needs. Wherever you are at, you can take another step towards becoming a more active school.

Explore the key priorities of an active schools to consider your current approach, identify gaps and take action.

As a whole school

This toolkit can be used by school leaders and teachers to:

  • consider their current approach – identifying strengths and areas for improvement, consider FISO, school strategic plan and annual implementation planning
  • document a plan for action
  • implement your plan.

As a school leader

To take action in your school as a school leader, you will need to:

  • involve all levels of staff
  • brief staff on the active schools framework, why it's important and what your plans are
  • bring the students along for the journey – ask for their input via student voice and leadership
  • implement the plan in conjunction with the school and local community.

As a teacher

To take action in your school as a teacher, you can:

  • implement strategies in your classroom teaching and in the schoolyard
  • share your experiences and knowledge with other staff in the school to create a community of practice 
  • speak to students about how they would like to be active throughout the school day
  • encourage school leaders, staff and parents to model a physically active lifestyle to students.