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Providing children with access to free sport and other structured physical activity programmes and establishing links with community clubs
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Australian Sports Commission
The AASC programme is run in more than 3,200 schools and after-school care centres in all states and territories, with approximately 190,000 children participating each semester. The programme offers up to 70 different sports and 20 structured physical activities for children to participate in after school.
Network of AASC Regional Coordinators
The Australian Sports Commission manages the AASC programme nationally through a network of locally based regional coordinators. These coordinators assist schools and after-school care centres to facilitate the programme, recruit and/or train community coaches, and work with local sports clubs and organisations to increase ongoing participation in junior sport.
The AASC programme is being delivered to approximately 3,254 sites during the first semester of 2013. 52 % of sites are located in remote and regional locations; 33 % of sites are located in low-socio-economic communities; 18 % of sites are either special schools or schools that cater for special needs; and 6 % of sites are located in Indigenous communities.
Over 54,000 community personnel have been trained as community coaches through the programme, and to date, there are approximately 600 schools and after-school care centres on the waiting list.
Promote sport and physical activity
The programme aims to enhance the physical activity levels of Australian primary school children through a nationally recognised and coordinated programme. AASC introduces children to sport and other structured physical activities in a fun, safe and inclusive environment which is achieved through the “Playing for Life” approach to coaching. This is based on coaching that uses games rather than drills to introduce the principles of a particular sport or other structured physical activity to children. Approximately 190,000 children participate each term in more than 3,200 schools and after-school care centres.
Support active societies
Primary schools and local sports clubs are at the heart of the AASC programme. The AASC programme began as a response to increasing sedentary behaviour and decreasing participation in physical activity amongst children. Mounting time and financial pressures on families makes it difficult for them to facilitate extracurricular physical activities for their children and declining daily physical education in schools has been seen due to the crowded curriculum.
Improve public health and well-being
The programme aims develop in primary school children a lifelong love of sport that motivates them to stay active for life. As children across Australia are becoming less active and subsequently less healthy, it is important to expose them to sport and other structured physical activities as early as possible so they carry a positive attitude towards sport and physical activity into adulthood. This will help shape the future communities that they inhabit.
The AASC programme recognises the need to use a variety of communication channels to reach the target audience. This includes use of the Internet, regional and state-based newsletters, fact sheets, flyers, posters, postcards, collateral such as show bags, stickers, tattoos and Frisbees, and the use of social media, which is currently being explored as a potential communication tool.
AASC regional coordinators regularly monitor the quality of the programmes being delivered in their region to ensure that sites, clubs and community coaches are working towards achieving mutually beneficial outcomes.
At the completion of each semester, participating sites are required to complete a Programme Feedback Form (PFF) to provide information on the programmes being delivered. This information includes feedback on the quality of their coaches, the number of transitions and the acquittal of grant funding. The PFF also provides sites with the opportunity to provide feedback on their local AASC Regional Coordinator.
Additionally, the AASC programme commissions an external consultant to conduct an independent evaluation of the programme. This research has shown that the AASC programme is achieving all of its objectives.