PARTICIPATION Active Schools Awards

Active School Awards 2006

Minister for Education and Science Mary Hanafin TD recently launched the Active School Awards 2006 – the nationwide search for the schools which encourage the healthiest approach to life by placing physical activity at the centre of their philosophy.  All primary and post-primary schools in the country have been invited to participate in the awards scheme. The awards scheme is supported by the Teacher Education Section of the Department of Education and Science and the Irish Sports Council.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Hanafin said:  “It is extremely important that we teach our children the importance of an active healthy lifestyle. Schools can reach children of all ages and demonstrate and encourage participation in sport. Physical Education is part of the curriculum at primary and post primary level and has been developed at both levels on the understanding that facilities differ from school to school. This means schools can be flexible regarding the sports and physical activities they undertake so that they make the best use of their own facilities and those close to them. Physical Education enriches children and helps them to not only stay healthy but to develop personal and social skills through interaction with others.”

The main objective of this scheme is to raise the profile of Physical Education and co-curricular physical activity in the context of the introduction of the Primary and Junior Cycle Physical Education syllabi and the promotion of lifelong involvement in sport and physical activity.

The centrepiece of the awards for primary schools is “Our Active School” week which will take place the week commencing the 6th March 2006.  The week will be devoted to promoting physical activity and some schools will invite parents to come to the school during the week and take part in planned activities. A resource pack containing suggested activities that encompasses areas of the PE curriculum is downloadable from the PE section of the website www.pcsp.ie. Other potential sources of ideas and activities are also available on www.irishprimarype.com. Schools are invited to submit projects on “Our Active Week” and the Physical Education programme and physical activities which take throughout the school year.

Post-primary schools are invited to outline the Physical Education programme and co-curricular physical activities in their school. This project can use elements of performance, multi-media and reportage and should illustrate all aspects of sports activity in which the school is involved. Participation, integration, links with local clubs and the involvement of parents and the overall sporting ethos of the school will be taken into account.

All projects from both primary and post-primary schools will be assessed on a regional basis, Connaught/Ulster, Leinster and Munster. Two primary and two post-primary schools from each region and two special schools, on a national basis, will receive €1000 each for the purchase of PE equipment. These schools will then be invited to attend the National Award Ceremony in May 2006, where they will showcase their work. One primary school, one post-primary school and one special school, on a national basis, will be announced as national winners and will receive an additional €2,000 towards PE equipment.

Sheelagh Hickey, Project Co-ordinator, said:  “Encouraging children to be active in life is an invaluable investment for their future.  The scheme doesn’t necessarily look for the school with best the facilities or best track record in competition but the overall approach of that school to the fitness and well-being of their students through physical activity. Involving parents and the community is extremely important.  We also want to emphasis and recognise the role of the physical education teacher in aiding and shaping students development and wellbeing”. 

Information concerning the Active School Awards Scheme can be found on the websites www.jcpe.ie   www.peai.org  www.pcsp.ie  www.irishprimarype.com