The importance of sports in education

sport in education. barker college rosewood centre.


Many parents and children overlook school sports from a certain age. However, physical activity and sports is a fundamental element of education.

Your child’s sports participation in school can provide many benefits outside of physical health.

At Barker, we are committed to providing appropriate, diverse and challenging sporting programs to all students at the School. The reason for this is simple. Involvement in sport not only assists students physically and mentally; it creates opportunities for students to develop character, values and lifelong skills such as time management, teamwork and communication.

Mr Cam Anderson, Head of Sport at Barker College

Why do we need sports in education?

Sports in education can effectively contribute to your child’s weekly physical activity. Participating in sports at school has many other associated benefits.


Participating in physical activity is central to your child’s emotional and mental wellbeing.

Playing sports between 1 and 3 times a week is reported to reduce psychological distress by 34%, whilst participating in sports 4 or more times a week reduces psychological distress by 47%.

Physical activity increases self-esteem and reduces stress and anxiety.

Sports in education will also help your child:

  • Sleep better

  • Improve their concentration at school and throughout the day

  • Boost their energy levels

Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines provide physical activity recommendations for different age groups.

Children and young people are recommended to participate in at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. At least 3 days a week, children and young -people are encouraged to participate in muscle-strengthening activities.

Many are offered in sports at school including football, basketball, swimming, netball or running.

Providing balance at school

Students at school have different interests and strengths.

Sports in education may benefit children who do better in sports than the classroom.

“We believe by providing an extensive sports program we are actively promoting a healthy lifestyle and a nice balance between schoolwork and physical activity. This is imperative for the wellbeing of some of our students who thrive on the sports field a little more than they do in the classroom.”

Aaron Ayre, Director of Sports at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Sports in education provides your child with skills to become more well rounded.

“Overall, we believe that the opportunities we provide in our sports program aid students in becoming well rounded people who are able to juggle school commitments as well as sports passions.”

Children can develop and grow without sitting in a classroom all day. Research shows that schools which offer more sports have higher test scores and graduation rates amongst students.

Team Building and unity

Teamwork amongst children allows them to strengthen their cooperation and social skills.

For these students looking to socialise outside the classroom, team sports provides a network.

Teamwork is a very important life skill for children to carry outside of the sports field. A 2009 study revealed 57% of business leaders attributed their career success to participation in youth sports.

Similarly, sports in education allow for unity amongst students. Students from different backgrounds and social groups have the opportunity to work towards a common goal.

“We aim to provide a way for every student in the school to participate in sport across the year to not only promote a healthy lifestyle but also help build our school spirit.”

Aaron Ayre, Director of Sports at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Cognitive Development

Childhood and youth is an important and sensitive period for cognitive development.

Research demonstrates a correlation between sports participation and cognitive function in children.

sports in education. sports field. fencing at barker college.

According to Brain Boost from the Government of Western Australia, different studies show:

  • On average, academic achievement of children with extra physical education is higher

  • Participation in sports resulted in improved reading comprehension

  • Physical activity led to improved children’s maths scores

  • The cognitive benefits of physical activity were maintained over time.

In fact, children ‘can spend less time on academic learning, and more time being physically active during the school day without affecting their academic success or progress.’


Sports in education also help enforce discipline amongst children by:

  • Providing a physical outlet

  • Self-discipline to achieve goals and physical challenges

  • Requiring a dedicated time to train and play

Research reveals children who played structured sports were better at ‘following instructions’ and ‘remaining focused in the classroom.’

Sports in the curriculum

Mandatory sports in education are incorporated in the NSW and VIC teaching and learning curriculums.

Many schools offer an option of competitive/representative school sports and sports at school.

“We compete in the SACCSS sports competition against other Catholic Colleges in the area which forms our school representative teams. While these teams are based on a selection process, we also provide House sport opportunities for all students to further facilitate increasing participation.

Volleyball, Soccer and Basketball are the most popular sports however there is also a growing appetite for Badminton, AFL and Table Tennis.”

Aaron Ayre, Director of Sports at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Does my child need to play sports outside of school?

In Victoria, only 6 out of 10 children between 5-14 participated in sport outside of school.

Sports in education is a great way to achieve physical activity, however there is no harm in carving out time for extra activity during the week.

Whilst some sports schools provide specialised training, many private schools encourage independent sporting as well.

“Our training sessions and games are played within school hours or shortly after school, enabling students to travel to other sporting clubs for training. This allows for students to actively pursue their own individual sporting goals and opportunities outside of their College life.”

Aaron Ayre, Director of Sports at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College

Many schools also run or host sport workshops in the school holidays.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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