On the 16th of December 2022, Cooloongup Primary School was awarded the Association for Physical Education (afPE) Quality Mark. Cooloongup Primary school is the first Australian school to achieve this award since its inception in 2012. The afPE quality mark was awarded to our school because we demonstrated, with evidence, the strength and quality of our physical education (PE), school sport (SS) and physical activity (PA) programs. The afPE quality mark is a UK based award that is open for all schools to apply for, both nationally and internationally. The award recognised the positive commitment to improvement that is undertaken daily at Cooloongup Primary School in the field of physical education.
The application process consisted of a detailed self-review and evaluation of physical education, school sport and physical activity in our school. As we undertook the review, we completed an application form that outlined all the opportunities our school provides for students to participate in these activities. Opportunities such as before school clubs, recess clubs, lunch time clubs, morning fitness, school carnivals, interschool carnivals and the curriculum physical education program. Perhaps most importantly we had to provide clear evidence of how these opportunities impacted on our students. The evidence included our planning and assessment, student responses, teacher responses, student progress and grades, student assessment records and observations.
As soon as we contacted afPE and indicated we would like to apply for the award we were assigned a validator who provided support and guidance as we undertook the review process; our validator was an experienced school improvement officer in the UK. She worked with us throughout the process and helped us to complete the application through email correspondence. She assessed the strength of our application form and helped us to identify any gaps that needed to be addressed. These included looking for examples of student impact throughout the different points included in the application. Once our validator was happy with the standard of the application form, she arranged an online validation visit. This consisted of a tour of our school, a meeting with the school principal, informal conversations with a group of students and a meeting with me, the physical education specialist.
Because our school is in Western Australia our review was conducted via a zoom meeting. The meeting started with the validator asking a group of students what they liked about physical education at Cooloongup Primary School. From here the validator talked with our school principal about the value of physical education in our school and how we provide our students with opportunities to participate in physical activity. We then took her on a virtual tour of the school to see the areas in which physical education takes place, for example the oval, undercover area, and playground equipment. The validator then met with me, the physical education specialist, to discuss specific points in the application form and to review the evidence that had been put forward. After the visit, I made sure the application was complete, added any additional points that had been raised, and sent it to the afPE quality mark panel for review. Our application was successful, and we will receive a plaque together with a logo to use on our school website (https://www.afpe.org.uk/physical-education/afpe-quality-mark-for-pe-a-sport/ )
At Cooloongup Primary School we place an emphasis on physical education, school sport and physical activity and they are placed firmly at the centre of our curriculum. Physical activity is part of everything we do and examples include the following: regular physical brain breaks in the classroom, regular morning fitness, physical activity clubs during recess and lunch time. We offer our students a number of different interschool and school carnivals in which to participate ranging from t-ball, cricket, basketball, flag belt, soccer, afl, volleyball and netball. In my role as physical education specialist, I monitor the programs on offer and ensure they are catered to student needs and interests. The impact that these opportunities have on our students has been profound. We have found that our students learn better, have increased motivation and participation in the classroom, fewer instances of anti social behaviour in the playground, better cooperation skills and increased resiliency.
This process is very thorough but it has been extremely rewarding for us as a school to highlight the impact that PE, SS and PA have on our students. It has enabled us to celebrate what we do well and to identify any areas for development. From here we will continue to monitor and improve the quality of our physical education programs. Ensuring that we provide a place for our students to continually improve and make progress to achieve their full potential. We are proud to be the first school in Australia to achieve this prestigious award but hope other schools will follow our lead and undertake this valuable process.