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Sirius College trots out new approach to inactivity

Research has shown many students disengage from sport in their secondary school years – a problem Physical Education and Health Teacher Erin Wyatt knows only too well.

Wyatt, from Victoria’s Sirius College, says each year it is becoming more difficult to get secondary school children outside and active.

“I have found it increasing hard to motivate them if they have decided early on they don't like sport,” she says.

“It’s hard to encourage them to pursue sports outside of school as they usually only think of the mainstream sports which they already know they don't like or think they are not skilled enough for.”

Wyatt says a lot of their secondary students can become disengaged to an extent.

“They will turn up to class but won't always try 100 per cent,” she says. “I found this [Sporting Schools’] program helped spark their interest in other possibilities when it comes to sport they don't have to just do the traditional sports.”

Wyatt says she chose equestrian for her Year 8 students because “out of all the sports that was the one students were the most interested in”.

“I hope that by trying alternative programs such as this [Equestrian Australia’s Ready Set Trot program] they will find something they love,” she says.

“I also thought it was the sport which they were least likely to be able to do outside of school with their families as it can be quite expensive.”

The Ready Set Trot program taught students a lot about farm life and behaving around animals, such has how to groom, feed, saddle the horses, and how to lead and ride the horses.

“The students loved it. We have done the program twice now … Our Year 7’s are begging us to do the program with them, we are hoping to organise this soon. A lot of the students are interested in pursuing this sport during the holidays.”

Wyatt says students and teachers enjoyed sharing the experience together as “it felt like going on a day camp almost” and the students enjoyed being out of school and in a different environment.

“Students were encouraging each other and helping each other work through their fears. At the same time I also noticed a lot of students stepping up and showing confidence in leading that I had not seen at school before.

“The Melton Equestrian Academy run a fantastic program and are very relaxed and encouraging. They are very welcoming of the students and it has a great community feel.” 

Sporting Schools is a $200 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school. Want to run an Equestrian program at your school? Check out all the details on the Equestrian Australia page.

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