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Secondary students having a field day with Athletics

Athletics at Manor Lakes


Dedicated, passionate, and receptive – those are the words used to describe Athletics coach Duncan Large following the success of the Athletics program he delivered at Manor Lakes College in Victoria.

As part of the Australian Sports Commission’s Youth Participation program, an innovative sports participation project targeting secondary school students, Athletics Australia have been working with a group of schools across Australia to test and deliver pilot programs aiming to effectively engage students that are 13-17 years old.

The project is currently assisting schools and sports to design tailored programs and provides a platform for developing strategies around how to tackle the youth participation cliff. As a result of research produced through this project, Athletics Australia have further modified their Active Athletics program to improve the secondary school experience and engage the students at Manor Lakes College.

Matt Wilkinson, a teacher at Manor Lakes College believes the program has been invaluable to his school, having seen a huge shift in the attitude of his students.

As a teacher that is passionate about the program and dedicated to developing the students skills and leadership, Matt joins in on activities with the students and assists Duncan with the program delivery where possible.

“We have kids of all different ages, and they were all kids who didn’t enjoy participating in sporting activities at all,” Matt said.

“Since starting the athletics program our participation levels have gone through the roof; the kids are really enjoying sport and everyone is having a go,” Matt said.

Manor Lakes College prides itself on being an inclusive educational setting where the learning needs of all students are catered for.

“Having many kids with disabilities would usually provide some barriers for participation, but this hasn’t held them back at all,” he said.

“All of our students have been getting involved. Duncan has been great; he really motivates and engages the kids with the activities,” he said.

“The program has had a really positive impact on our school, we can’t thank Duncan enough” Matt said.


Sporting Schools is a $160 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school. Want to run an Athletics program at your school? Check out all the details on the Athletics Australia page.