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One of the most exciting conclusions resulting from our 2019 Secondary Review was that Kingswood College’s Model for Learning – which seeks to nurture each student’s mind, body heart and spirit – continues to be supported by research, by our shared and enacted values, and by those re-imagining the future of education.
To holistically nurture our students, we naturally adopt a broad understanding of health, which integrates our physical health, our emotional or psychological wellbeing, our capacity to learn, and our lifestyle habits. Schools have an essential role to play, as factors which shape our lifelong health and wellbeing are developed through childhood and adolescence.
Participation in physical activity is a key determinant of mental and physical health ,, yet for many of us, physical activity is not integrated into our regular routine. In fact, over the past 50 years, our lifestyles have become significantly more sedentary . As a College, we are considering a range of options to increase the level of physical activity for our students, as a means of supporting their general wellbeing.
One key step in this journey is to switch from the current uniform, to a ‘wardrobe’ with activewear options. Students will be able to wear this activewear wardrobe every day from the start of the 2021 school year. (To support those who enjoy the current uniform, we will have a long transition; the current uniform may be worn until the end of 2022.) Ensuring students wear clothing that is comfortable and versatile removes a key limiting factor which otherwise can inhibit physical activity.
The challenge of engaging young people in regular physical activity is not new, but is more important than ever, in a world (a) where fewer students walk or ride to school, and (b) of increased screen time. A WHO-funded 2019 report  suggests that 89% of young Australians do not meet the current recommendations relating to daily physical activity.
Importantly, in our work with students, we not only need to encourage physical activity, but we need to better explain why students should be active, and the direct link to mental, physical and emotional health.
The case for increasing the physical activity of young people is compelling; ensuring that this is easy is the most important reason why we are moving to a wardrobe. In parallel with this development, key staff at the College are working to develop the structure for our timetable which will facilitate active engagement in physical activity on a daily basis.
Last term we shared with you the key findings of our community survey about the activewear wardrobe proposal. In case you missed it, you can find the summary here. In summary, 218 community members responded, 111 of whom were parents – my thanks to all who contributed. Overall, 71% of respondents were positive about the proposed wardrobe. Based on your responses, we will add additional items to the wardrobe. Following the survey, a working party including parents, students and staff met to analyse, clarify and finalise proposals which have now been approved by the College Executive and the College Council.
Students in Junior and Middle School will be able to wear any combination of items from the wardrobe. Students in Senior School will continue to have a dress code, which will include the option to wear items from the wardrobe.
There are special occasions, such as Concerts and Celebration Night, when activewear will not be suitable. For these events, we will adopt a dress code for all students outlining the dress requirements for key College events. A dress code describing appropriate clothing in different situations is already in place for Senior School students.
Some items from the wardrobe will be required, particularly for inter-school sports, just as they are a requirement now.
The wardrobe is currently in development, and further information on ordering and logistics will be available in coming weeks.
Thank you for your support and feedback in what is another exciting forward step in educating students for a healthier future.
 US Department of Health and Human Services, “The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance,” [Online]. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/Health_and_academics/pdf/pa-pe_paper.pdf. [Accessed 2019]
 VicHealth, “Participation in Physical Activity: A determinant of mental and physical health,” VicHealth, Melbourne.
 AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare), “Australia’s health 2010,” Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra, 2010.
 WHO (World Health Organization), “Global strategy on diet, physical activity and,” World Health Organization, Geneva, 2004.
 WHO (World Health Organization), “scimex.org,” 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/global-report-shows-around-9-in-10-aussie-teens-are-not-doing-enough-physical-activity. [Accessed 2019].
 B. Holland, “ACHPER (Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation),” [Online]. Available: https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/letter/articles/issue-49-school-spaces.