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Frequently asked questions

Back to Health and Physical Education

What are the focus areas in Health and Physical Education?

The Health and Physical Education curriculum contains twelve focus areas. The focus areas provide the context through which the content descriptions and achievement standards are taught and assessed. The focus areas are not discrete topics. This means that when designing teaching and learning programs, a teacher may draw on more than one focus area. 

Advice about the inclusion of the focus areas across the bands is provided in the band descriptors. It is expected that each focus area identified in each band description contribute substantially to the health and physical education teaching and learning program for that particular band of learning. Decisions about specific timing for when each focus area will be taught within the two-year band are the responsibility of the school. For example, a school may decide to teach about safety to the Year 3 cohort and have only a minor coverage for the Year 4 cohort. 

For a list and description of the focus areas see Health and Physical Education Structure

What are challenge and adventure activities?

The focus area of challenge and adventure activities explores how individuals participate in a variety of physical activities designed to challenge individuals physiologically, behaviourally and socially in diverse contexts and environments. The content supports students to develop knowledge, understandings and skills to assess hazards and manage risks.

Challenge and adventure activities from Year 5 to Year 10 could include:

  • initiative games
  • movement challenges (as individuals and in teams or groups)
  • recreational activities in natural and outdoor settings
  • navigational challenges.

Schools could also offer the following activities within this focus area if they have access to specialised facilities and equipment and relevant teacher expertise:

  • bushwalking
  • camping
  • biathlon and triathlon
  • rock climbing
  • canoeing and kayaking
  • cycling (mountain biking, BMX, road and track cycling)
  • surfing
  • skiing (snow or water)
  • swimming for performance (with a focus on technique).

What are lifelong physical activities?

The focus area of Lifelong physical activities explores how participation in physical activity can enhance health-related fitness and wellbeing across the lifespan.

Lifelong Physical Activities from Year 3 to Year 10 could include:

  • individual and group fitness activities
  • active recreation activities.

Schools could also offer the following activities if they have access to specialised facilities and equipment and relevant teacher expertise:

  • swimming
  • tai chi, yoga, or Pilates
  • bushwalking
  • recreational cycling
  • resistance training.

Does rhythmic and expressive movement just mean dance?

The focus area rhythmic and expressive movement explores how movement can be composed and performed in response to stimuli such as equipment, beats and sounds, images, words or themes. This focus area includes dance styles and dance elements but can also include other forms of creative movement and movement exploration.

Schools could also offer the following activities if they have access to specialised facilities and equipment and relevant teacher expertise:

  • circus skills
  • rhythmic gymnastics
  • educational gymnastics
  • aerobics
  • calisthenics
  • cheerleading
  • yoga
  • tai chi.

Is 'respectful relationships' part of Health and Physical Education in the Victorian Curriculum?

Learning about respectful relationships will draw from content in both Health and Physical Education and the Personal and Social Capability in the Victorian Curriculum. 

The Health and Physical Education curriculum develops knowledge, understandings and skills to promote respectful relationships and safety. Through the Personal and Social Capability, students learn about how relationships are developed and understand and develop interpersonal skills to establish and maintain respectful relationships.

More information about the place of respectful relationships in Health and Physical Education can be found in  Learning in Health and Physical Education

How does Home Economics (Food) link to Health and Physical Education within the Victorian Curriculum?

A Home Economics teaching and learning program will draw content from the both Health and Physical Education and Design Technologies in the Victorian Curriculum. 

Content drawn from the Health and Physical Education curriculum will focus on food and nutrition, and making healthy choices. Assessing nutritional information and exploring the range of influences on healthy food choices is included in this curriculum area.

Content from the Design and Technologies curriculum is drawn from the food specialisation context. The characteristics and scientific and sensory principles of food selection and preparation are included in this curriculum area. Students are required to design and prepare food for specific purposes and consumers. 

More information about the place of home economics in Health and Physical Education can be found in Learning in Health and Physical Education

Is Outdoor Education part of Health and Physical Education in the Victorian Curriculum?

Elements of learning in Outdoor Education will draw on content from across the Victorian Curriculum F–10, including Health and Physical Education, Geography, Science and Personal and Social Capability. The primary content drawn from Health and Physical Education will be in the areas of outdoor recreation and the influence of connection to place and communities on health and wellbeing. In the Health and Physical Education curriculum, outdoor recreation refers to recreational activities or the act of engaging in recreational activities. These are typically associated with outdoor, natural or semi-natural settings. 

More information about the place of outdoor education in Health and Physical Education can be found in Learning in Health and Physical Education.

What level of swimming and water safety knowledge and skills are students expected to achieve?

Health and Physical Education in the Victorian Curriculum F-10 identifies that by Level 6, students should achieve the competencies identified in the Victorian Water Safety Certificate. These competencies form one small but important component of the knowledge and skills that students should be able to demonstrate by the end of Level 6. Teachers are required to make an on-balance decision regarding student demonstration of the Achievement Standards for Level 6 in Health and Physical Education.

If a student is unable to demonstrate the competencies outlined in the Victorian Water Safety Certificate, teachers should consider this together with the other knowledge and skills that students are able to demonstrate and make an on-balance decision about where the student sits on the Victorian Curriculum F–10 continuum.

For students who are able to demonstrate the competencies required to attain the certificate, teaching and learning programs should provide students with the opportunity for extension activities in an aquatic setting beyond Level 6.

Ideas for teaching and learning activities for swimming and water safety can be found here.

Information about the Victorian Water Safety Certificate is contained in a teacher guide which can be accessed from the Life Saving Victoria website.

What are the school and/or teacher responsibilities when outsourcing swimming and water safety programs?

Schools are responsible for ensuring that the swimming and water safety program delivers content drawn from the Victorian Curriculum F–10, Health and Physical Education. From Foundation through to Level 6, the Victorian Curriculum includes swimming and water safety that primarily focuses on practicing, performing and refining movement skills in aquatic settings, and identifying and practicing strategies to stay safe in different situations and activities.

Primary schools should plan their teaching and learning programs to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills identified in the Victorian Water Safety Certificate. The Victorian Water Safety Certificate includes water safety knowledge, swimming competency (50 metres), survival sequences and rescue skills.

If using an external provider for components of swimming and water safety within the Health and Physical Education curriculum, teachers and schools - through their curriculum planning - determine the content to be delivered/addressed by the external provider and the content to be delivered in a classroom setting. Schools should require external providers to document student knowledge and skills, which can then be used to inform teacher judgments about student progress in relation to the Achievement Standards.

Further information regarding Department of Education and Training policy for conducting school swimming programs can be found here.

How can schools report against the Victorian Curriculum F–10 Achievement Standards in Health and Physical Education?

NB: Specific sectoral requirements related to curriculum provision and reporting are the responsibility of and published by the relevant sectoral authorities. The advice set out is provided to assist teachers reporting student learning achievement based on the Victorian Curriculum F–10 only, and does not replace sectoral requirements.

The Department of Education and Training (DET) requires all Victorian government schools to report on every student's achievement against the Victorian Curriculum F–10 standards. Specifically, for Health and Physical Education, DET directs:

…schools report student achievement separately:

  • in Physical Education twice a year
  • in Health Education whenever it is taught (within the two year band of schooling).
    (DET Student Reporting Requirements, 2018)

Given these requirements, how can government schools report against the Victorian Curriculum F–10 Achievement Standards in Health and Physical Education?

The Victorian Curriculum F–10: Health and Physical Education includes Personal, Social and Community Health and the Movement and Physical Activity strands and the Achievement Standard, which provide a continuum to map student progress from Foundation to Level 10. The knowledge and skills students achieve are not discretely placed in Health or Physical Education. Rather the achievement standard is written to reflect the knowledge that students are expected to attain and the skills they will be able to demonstrate on achievement of the standard.

The Health and Physical Education Achievement Standards across the F–10 curriculum have both knowledge and skills which are specific to the Personal, Social and Community Health and the Movement and Physical Activity strands. Some aspects of the achievement standard are predominately associated with the Personal, Social and Community Health strand and are more likely to be reported within Health. Some aspects will be more closely aligned with the Movement and Physical Activity strand and are more likely to be reported in Physical Education. There are aspects of the Achievement Standard that cover content from the Personal, Social and Community Health and the Movement and Physical Activity strands. Teachers and schools may report against these aspects of the achievement standard in Health, Physical Education or both.

A whole-school approach to curriculum mapping will assist teachers to identify where content descriptions and achievement standards are being explicitly addressed within the school's teaching and learning program. An important aspect of curriculum planning is being able to articulate what student progress looks like, using the Achievement Standards in the curriculum continuum.

Further information on whole-school curriculum planning can be found here.

Further information regarding determining a student's indicative progress can be found here.

Health and Physical Education may be taught by more than one person. When more than one teacher teaches the same curriculum area to a student during the reporting period each teacher will make a judgement about where the student is located on the learning continuum. Assessment tasks will be linked to relevant parts of the achievement standards, enabling teachers to make informed, evidence-based consistent judgements about the student's levels of achievement.

Student reporting requirements, DET 2018

In the following example, the Achievement Standard for Levels 3 and 4 has been used.

In an inquiry Unit such as 'Who am I?' the classroom teacher may report the students' ability to: recognise strategies for managing change and the students ability to examine influences that strengthen identities.

The teacher responsible for delivering the Physical Education program may report on the students' ability to: refine fundamental movement skills and apply movement concepts and strategies in different physical activities and to solve movement challenges.They investigate how emotional responses vary and understand how to interact positively with others in different situations including in physical activities.

In the following example, the Achievement Standard for Levels 9 and 10 has been used.

In a Health unit such as 'Keeping safe' the Health teacher may report the students' ability to: compare and contrast a range of actions that could be undertaken to enhance their own and others' health, safety and wellbeing.

The Physical Education teacher, teaching 'Recreational Activities', may report on the students' ability to: apply and transfer movement concepts and strategies to new and challenging movement situations.