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Nepean takes small steps to change lives of students

Students from Nepean School enjoying Table Tennis

A small specialist school at Seaford in Victoria, Nepean has used Sporting Schools funding to bring in much needed sporting resources and equipment – and engage more than 100 students in a wide variety of sports they may not otherwise have a chance to try.

Nepean caters to students who have physical disabilities and a range of complex health issues. Since the school joined the Sporting Schools program in Term 4, 2015, they have participated in a number of inclusive sports programs, including: swimming, AFL, lawn bowls, ten pin bowling, table tennis, cycling and surf life saving.

Nepean's Sports and Aquatics teacher, Bethany Wolfe, said the school engages local coaching professionals, affiliated with the relevant national sporting organisations, to deliver almost all of these programs. New equipment also allows the school to continue their sporting activities at other times - using what they have learned from coaches to develop and practise skills.

“This has been important to us, because our students have different learning styles and movement needs,” Bethany said. “Having a coach there means we can be hands-on and participate in the program with our students.”

A particular highlight for the school was table tennis coach and champion Chamara Fernando (pictured below) turning up to play table tennis and coach wearing his full Australian uniform.

Students from Nepean School enjoying Table Tennis

“Our school has really enjoyed meeting new sports coaches who have a great knowledge and passion for their sport, and share this with us. We're enjoying being fit and active, and the programs are a fun and non-threatening way to give new things a try.

“Positive modelling of new games and sports has led to greater interest and participation among the student at other times throughout our school week as we're able to use the equipment and resources we've received from the funding.”

School Principal Carolyn Gurrier-Jones said the Sporting Schools program was “life-changing”.

“Sporting Schools has enabled our students to have so many accessible sporting options,” Carolyn said.

And what would the staff at Nepean say to other schools seeking to join the program?

“Get on board, why wouldn't you? It's a fun, friendly way to introduce new sports with support and knowledge from trained coaches. Not to mention a fantastic way to engage students in an active way.”

Sporting Schools is a $160 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school. Apply for funding today!