Teachers recognised at Victorian School Sports Awards

​This year's Outstanding Teacher Contribution Award winners went the extra mile to keep students active during remote learning

Physical Education (PE) teachers who stepped up their game during remote and flexible learning were among those recognised at this month's Victorian School Sports Awards.

The annual awards for students who have excelled at a sport, and teachers who have made an outstanding contribution to school sports, are the highest sporting accolade presented in Victorian government schools.

Lysterfield Primary School's Daniel Thomas and Darren Peters, from Rosanna Golf Links Primary School, each received an Outstanding Teacher Contribution Award for their efforts to keep students active and connected during remote learning in 2020.

Hitting the pavement with Daniel Thomas

During remote learning last year, Daniel invited students from three schools in the area to dress in school colours and walk, jog or run locally, and record the distance covered.

His three-week virtual cross-county event ended up being picked up and adapted by 17 more schools across the state.

In total, 3237 students from the 20 schools covered more than 3300km.

At a time when the community risked disconnection, Daniel said one of the biggest highlights of the event was seeing students from different schools engage as they crossed paths, with parents and carers cheering participants on from front yards.

'2020 was a challenge that my community needed a positive solution for; I felt I had something valuable to contribute,' he said.

Daniel added he was happy that PE played such a vital role in helping keep students active and well during remote learning.

When on-site learning resumed, Daniel continued his focus on supporting the community by launching a challenge to help local students and their families, friends and teachers to reconnect.

The challenge invited participants to record their steps online, with each step contributing to school tallies. Some students even involved relatives from overseas.

Participants from 23 schools took a total of 191 million steps in just under three weeks, while also reconnecting with their schools and wider communities.

Daniel said the award was a welcome surprise.

'Being recognised for my passion is a huge honour and totally unexpected,' he said.

Achieving goals with Darren Peters

During remote learning last year, Darren motivated students at Rosanna Golf Links Primary School to take out School Sport Victoria's Virtual Track and Field challenge, earning their school prize money to build new soccer goals in the process.

The challenge invited students to try skills featured on the School Sport Victoria web page at home and enter their results.

Darren promoted the challenge and updated students regularly on the school's progress. This led to more than 12,000 entries, equivalent to about 24 entries per Rosanna Golf Links Primary School student.

Darren said the Virtual Track and Field challenge created community when the school was apart and brought comradery and a team atmosphere at a time when all junior sport was not permitted due to COVID-19 restrictions.

'Most importantly, it gave students the opportunity to strive to achieve their personal best and feel that they were part of something bigger in a year of disconnection,' he said.
'Though it may have been the most challenging year we may face in our lifetimes, it brought me joy to know our students could unite and focus on a unique sporting challenge and then revel together in celebration of their amazing achievement.'

Darren's award also recognised his efforts to build partnerships between the school and local sports clubs, leading to more students than ever before taking part in sport outside of school.

Find out more

To view the full list of recipients and videos featuring this year's Outstanding Sporting Achievement primary and secondary school winners, refer to the School Sport Victoria web page.

School Sport Victoria, as part of the Department, delivers an extensive school sport program to primary and secondary students across Victoria.

To view an article featuring this year's student winners, refer to school sports stars recognised for their outstanding achievements story.