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Inaugural education summit celebrates connection through sport

The inaugural AFL Schools Education Summit has celebrated connection through sport, presenting 14 teachers with individual awards, announcing a new-look website launching on 1 November, and hinting at a pre-school offering with age-appropriate resources coming in 2024.

About 150 teachers attended the Summit at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on 27 October (World Teacher’s Day).

AFL CEO Andrew Dillon with MC Nat Edwards. Image: Dylan Burns, AFL Photos.

Following a welcoming address from AFL CEO Andrew Dillon, the CEO of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Mr David de Carvalho, delivered a plenary session dissecting how the Australian Curriculum version 9.0 supports all young people to develop and promote positive health and wellbeing.

“My favourite teacher was my maths teacher,” de Carvalho told the delegates. “He would wander around the classroom waving a Chinese fan. One day I asked why. He said, ‘I’m fanning the flames of wonder’.

The exchange stayed with de Carvalho, who started his career as a secondary school teacher and now holds extensive experience in leading major reforms at both national and state level, and a deep personal passion for, and understanding of, education.

CEO of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Mr David de Carvalho. Image: Dylan Burns, AFL Photos.

Stepping delegates through the two strands of the Health and Physical Education (HPE) component of the version 9.0 Curriculum, de Carvalho spoke about why developing emotional resilience in students is a core focus of the HPE curriculum.

He also outlined revisions to the HPE curriculum including outdoor learning, diversity and inclusion, the role of gender, mental health and wellbeing, and consent.

General Manager of Women’s Football at the AFL, Ms Nicole Livingstone, hosted a panel discussion on AFLW, female participation in sports, and its connection to education.

She was joined by AFLW players and teachers, Steph Chiocci (St Kilda) and Kaitlyn Ashmore (Hawthorn), AFL/AFLW field umpire and former teacher Eleni Tee, 2023 National AFL Teacher of the Year Nuria Ushoroff and 2023 AFL Victorian Teacher of the Year Treesje Butterworth.

AFL/AFLW field umpire and former teacher Eleni Tee was a guest on the panel. Image: Dylan Burns, AFL Photos.

AFL’s National Schools Curriculum Specialist, Ms Stephanie Pearce, and National Superkick and Nines Lead, Mr Blaec Ablett, demonstrated in their presentation how the AFL is supporting teachers across Australia to help engage students and increase physical literacy.

Ablett said the AFL’s market research showed teachers want ‘safe’ inclusive physical activities for students, leading to the development of AFL Nines.

Suited to players aged 13+, AFL Nines is tackle-free and played on a smaller field to accommodate smaller teams (nine players per side) and increase the number of opportunities to touch the ball. The rules have also been simplified, to allow students to umpire games. The concept is now being integrated into schools.

Three breakout sessions during the day included:

  • Activate and build upon your teaching practice, hosted by Mark Pimlott, AITSL
  • Diversity and inclusion in sport, hosted by Kym MacMahon and Tim Nield, AFL
  • Developing the fundamentals for success: optimising AFL skill and strategy development in F-10 Physical Educaiton, hosted by Adriana Pinder and Greg Schneiders, ACHPER

AFL Teacher of the Year awards were presented to:
Nuria Ushoroff – Australian Islamic College, WA – National AFL Teacher of the Year
Benjamin Hangan – Ashdale Secondary, WA
Samuel Noite – Endeavour Sports HS, NSW
Tanya Crosswell – Hornsby PSSA, NSW
Mark Grosser – Karama Primary School, NT
Alesha Shepard – Nakara Primary, NT
Ben Hawthorne – Banksia Beach State School, QLD
Kristen Knight – Freshwater State, QLD
James Daley – St Francis, SA
Kristie Lewis – Clare High school, SA
Tom Witherden – Cooee Primary, TAS
Carolyne Paton – Waverly Primary School, TAS
Mark Robinson – Glen Waverley Secondary College, VIC
Treesje Butterworth – Mount Pleasant Primary School, VIC

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