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Our Community

At ACHPER QLD, we’re committed to sharing best practices and encouraging networking in the field of HPE, as well as showcasing innovative health and physical education programs and inspirational teachers. Our community page aims to share stories from our schools, educators and activities across Queensland.


Linda Gough, HPE Teacher, Kuranda District State College

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ACHPER QLD is very proud to introduce Linda Gough as our first feature teacher for 2020. Linda has been teaching in the Cairns region for 15 years and has been at Kuranda District State College since 2009. Linda is passionate about student participation in sport and enabling students to reach their highest potential in their chosen sporting area (district/region/state) and engaging students in quality health lessons and utilising community health coordinators to provide informative lessons. She has a particular passion for student wellbeing and strives to continually learn and develop skills and strategies to assist students with their wellbeing.

In 2009, Linda created the Kuranda Stars Cheerleading team. The cheerleading program is offered as an extra-curricular activity, catering for all students across Prep – Year 12.  The team trains every Monday and Wednesday afternoon.  Not only do the students develop and learn cheer and dance skills/movements – they learn communication techniques, leadership, resilience, team building and fundraising. Over the 10 years, the teams have travelled and competed at Scholastic National Competitions in Townsville, Brisbane, and Gold Coast and in 2019 – Melbourne.  The team has experienced excellent success at these competitions as well as learning to work hard to make their goals and dreams in cheerleading be achieved.

Linda was recently recognised as a finalist in the 2019 ACHPER QLD Inspirational Teacher of the Year Awards. This excerpt from the nomination illustrates the dedication and passion Linda has for her students and school community.

“Mrs Linda Gough has been coaching the Kuranda Stars Cheerleading team for 10 years. Every year she puts her heart and soul into the team, and this year she has excelled. She is currently coaching three cheerleading teams - Prep-Grade 3, Under 12's and a senior Hip Hop group, 27 girls in total. The teams are competing in the Nationals held in Melbourne in November/December this year. Mrs Gough is always full of energy and life and encourages each member of the team to do their best. She organised fitness classes for the teams (and their families) one morning per week and has organised numerous fundraising events for the team so that every girl can participate in the competition. These include a school trivia night, sausage sizzle, bake sale and applying for grants. She freely gives up her own time to coach the teams, and trains with them 4 days a week, before and after school, even though she has her own young family at home. She is an amazing person and is an inspiration to the whole team to achieve their very best.” 

Linda’s top tip for teachers: Always take the time to get to know your students – not only does this build rapport, but it leads to quality and effective classroom/outdoor teaching.


Peter Upton, Head of Department, King's Christian College

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Peter Upton has been a passionate educator of Health and PE for almost three decades. Currently Head of Department at King's Christian College on the Gold Coast, Peter loves helping create positive change in his students' lives, enabling his students to develop their skills and building connections within the school and wider community. 

Peter is particularly proud of the school's Rugby League and Touch programs but is an enthusiast of all sports. He is committed to senior PE and  strives to help his students develop their leadership capabilities. He was inspired to personally take on leadership roles because he believes that there is more that can be done when committing to these roles.

Peters' Top Tips for Teachers: Be authentic. Focus on why you do what you do, and love what you do.


Cameron Francis, HPE Teacher, Marymount College

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There are lots of reasons Cam Francis loves his job as an HPE teacher at Maymount College on the Gold Coast.

“The fact that we have an opportunity to help young people every day. No day is ever the same. The school community is a fantastic environment to work in. I really believe we have the best job!”

Cameron is four years into his teaching career and is passionate about instilling activity as part of his students’ daily routine, and is really proud of the increased focus on, and opportunities that female students have to play sport and be active at Marymount College.

“For me, being active is being able to participate in everyday activities and explore the great outdoors that Australia has to offer.”

Cam is interested in developing his leadership skills and attended the ACHPER QLD Leadership Retreat earlier this year. He is committed to delivering on the vision he and his colleagues have for HPE at Marymount, to being part of a team and striving to achieve this common goal.

Top Tip for teachers: "Find a mentor that will help support you. Follow ACHPER and other teachers on Twitter / FB – some of the best PD you will do!"


Julie McCarthy, Acting HoD, Park Ridge State High School

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Julie McCarthy from Park Ridge State High School in Logan is this month’s feature teacher. Currently the Acting HoD for Health and Physical Education, Julie has spent the last 12 years honing her skills as an educator. Julie is passionate about instilling a lifelong love of physical activity and learning amongst her students. She enjoys positively influencing her students and inspiring others to be better and achieve more. Seeing her students develop from their beginnings in year 7 to graduating in year 12 is a real highlight for Julie.

As an educator who wants to continually grow, learn and develop, Julie was inspired to take on a leadership role so she could be in a position to make positive change and inspire others – particularly to help others take up their own individual ‘next challenge’.

Julie is particularly proud of Park Ridge’s AFL Excellence Academy. The AFL Excellence program aims to provide students an opportunity to develop towards ‘elite’ levels in Australian Rules Football, through coaching opportunities and specialised strength and conditioning. Targeted support is provided to encourage students to reach their full potential as athletes, whilst promoting academic success and instilling the AFL Academy core values of attitude, commitment and success.

Julie’s Top Tips for Teachers: “Ask for help. Look for the good in all students and remember what inspired you to become a teacher in the first place”.


Chris Sikora, HPE & ICT Teacher, Marymount College

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Meet Chris Sikora, this month’s HPE Feature Teacher from Marymount College in Burleigh Waters, South East Queensland. Chris is passionate about promoting lifelong, healthy attitudes towards physical activity in his students. He is also committed to helping his students develop a well-rounded approach to Health and PE, rather than just producing single-sport focused athletes.

Chris loves teaching HPE because it is a high energy environment that is constantly changing. He is able to continuously learn and deepen his knowledge of teaching and health and well-being while also seeing the positive impacts and changes in his students lives that stem from this vibrant environment.

Chris is particularly proud of his school as Marymount College has an extensive range of extracurricular sporting and cultural activities run by the enthusiastic staff at the school. From the large rugby and netball teams on the sporting side, to the technology-based programs such as Code Club, Marymount strives to offer additional learning opportunities for a wide range of interests and abilities.

Chris’ top tip for teachers: “Ask plenty of questions and be open to feedback!”


Ben Carter, Head of PE, All Souls St Gabriel's, Charters Towers

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Meet Ben Carter this month’s feature teacher. An educator for eight years, Ben is passionate about teaching a range of sports to his classes. He loves changing a student’s perspective from “why are we doing this?’ to ‘That was great, let’s do it again!”

“I loved seeing the lightbulb moment in a student when they learn something new. Instilling passion and enthusiasm for learning is what drives me to be a teacher, leader and mentor.”

Ben spent the first few years of his career in Sydney and Camden, NSW, before heading north – very north, to Charters Towers where he is currently the head of PE at All Souls St Gabriel’s School. The school is committed to promoting a sense of positivity in both the individual and the school community. Students are encouraged to display the positive attributes of sportsmanship as well as demonstrating high attendance in class. Those reaching these goals are awarded with a badge or “colours” that the students wear on their collar.

Taking on a leadership role in his department and the wider school, Ben hopes to inspire others to be better educators and to give teachers the support they need to excel in and enjoy their jobs.

Top Tip for teachers: “Believe in yourself, stay true to yourself, and remember that you are only human.”


Patrick Atkinson, Head of Department, Villanova College, Brisbane

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Our Feature Teacher this month is an amazing ambassador for the H&PE profession. Patrick Atkinson is Head of Department at Villanova College on Brisbane’s southside, a position he has held for 25 years. Patrick’s career spans an impressive three decades, from his first teaching positions in north west England and then outback Queensland to joining the Villa team 31 years ago. During this time Patrick has also coached the rugby team, leading the 1sts to Premiership in 2010 as well as coaching the basketball team for over a decade. When asked what he loves about teaching, Patrick doesn’t hesitate.

I love the lightbulb moments with students. I also love catching up with former students when they reflect on their time at Villa. I value the relationships that are formed with friends and colleagues.”

As Head of Department, Patrick has responsibility for programs across junior, middle and senior school. With Australian youth facing a surge in mental health concerns, drug education and positive mental health strategies are the big issues his team are attempting to address. Recently, a drug education program was implemented across the junior and middle school, as well as the inclusion of mental health units.  Across the senior school, Patrick’s main area is examining socio-cultural influences on physical activity. They have also recently included the Certificate 3 in fitness.

Patrick also manages to find time to support both the H&PE and wider communities. He is an ACHPER member and is a member of the Professional Standards Committee at the Queensland College of Teachers responsible for approval of university education programs. Patrick also donates his time to community outreach programs. He is currently a board member for the Paul Finnimore Trust, a foundation that raises money for disadvantaged students. Patrick is also a local coordinator for Rosie’s Outreach Program for the homeless.

Patrick’s Top Tips for Teachers:

  • Don’t over commit
  • Your job is what you do, not who you are
  • Perfection is for the next life
  • Maintain your focus on what is important
  • If you’re not enjoying it, ask why


Aaron Harding - Teacher, Head of Subject, Churchie, Brisbane

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Aaron Harding’s career in education spans over a decade. Currently teaching at Churchie in Brisbane, Aaron holds a variety of roles critical to the success of health and physical education at his school. As well as teaching, Aaron is Head of Subject for Certificate IV Fitness, Recreation Studies; First V Head Coach for Basketball and club basketball coordinator as well as the Boarding Recreation Officer. Aaron’s fundamental love of teaching stems from empowering his students to achieve more than they thought possible. He is passionate about developing strong habits in students that transition to post-high school life; educating students on the benefits of health and physical activity and supporting emotional growth of students over their journey from year 7 to year 12.

Aaron is particularly interested in facilitating the healthy emotional and psychological development of his students. By promoting an active lifestyle and using a constraints-based approach to learning, Aaron adapts lessons to enable students to practice problem solving within a group context. His involvement with Basketball allows Aaron to focus on sports specific instruction as well as the fundamental benefits of teamwork.

Aaron is particularly proud of the Certificate IV Fitness program that he has championed in the schools at which he’s taught. One of the significant benefits of this program is the integration of senior students in the prep and middle year classes which allows the seniors to develop leadership and coaching abilities through the Cert IV and Recreation Studies subjects. 

Aaron’s Top Tip for Teachers: Aim to enjoy your job every day and ask yourself the question “If your job was advertised in the paper, would you apply”. Don’t dwell on the negatives, make the most of the opportunity because we all started in the role for a reason.


Vale Hilda Brooks, PE Teacher and Advocate 1924 - 2018

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Hilda Lillian Brooks was one of a select band of teaching graduates who were chosen to conduct schools of instruction in teaching physical education for classroom teachers in metropolitan and county schools in Queensland. She had completed a diploma in PE during World War II and had attended a school of instruction at Ascot State School, Brisbane, that aimed to give teachers the knowledge and skills to teach PE to their classes. Teachers were instructed to conduct PE activities commensurate with a child’s age and development in a happy, recreational atmosphere. This reflected a philosophy of individual development of personal and social skills. Hilda was committed to these values of PE.

Hilda had a love of sport from a young age and participated in swimming, athletics, hockey and netball through her school years. After obtaining her diploma from UQ, Hilda moved to the Mackay District where she instructed teachers from schools from St Lawrence to Proserpine on teaching primary school PE. She later returned to Brisbane to continue in the role of PE education instructor to classroom teachers. An article from the Courier Mail of 1945 details her nomination as an entrant in the Miss Australia contest. The article mentions her prowess at swimming, netball and softball.

Hilda Brooks championed PE for all students throughout her life. She put her time and energy into teaching students and coaching sports teams. Her legacy lives on through her daughter Caroline, herself a PE teacher and advocate for a healthier and more active Queensland.

Words by Caroline Brooks


Talia O'Callaghan - HPE and Senior PE Teacher, St Margaret's Anglican Girls School, Brisbane

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Talia O’Callaghan from St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School Brisbane, is this month’s feature teacher. Talia has taught in both Toowoomba and Brisbane over the last nine years and one of her greatest teaching joys, is seeing those moments when a student’s application and effort come together. “I love working with students who want to improve and put in the hard work, especially in areas they struggle with, and to see their self-esteem grow as they make progress. It’s also a great day at the office when a student has their ‘ah-ha’ moment!

Talia has a real passion for sports psychology and its links to pastoral wellbeing for girls’ education. Using these principles, Talia has been instrumental in developing programs that support students outside the school’s competitive, extra-curricular sporting streams. Using the physical education unit of Sport Psychology for a Year 9 cohort, Talia modified the unit to include general wellbeing and management for her students with high anxiety and stress in their daily tasks. In the past, anxiety prevented some of her students from engaging in the practical applications of HPE; however, by discussing content in terms of sports in conjunction with academic performance, students with high absenteeism or low participation in HPE gradually started to engage in the practical classes. The assessment project for the non-participating students was designed to improve their performance in a subject outside HPE, where they could apply strategies to a classroom environment. These students were willing to come and actively observe the practical lessons to see how the strategies worked and gain feedback on transference to academic classes.
By the end of the assessment project, these students were actively engaging with their peers in physical activities, where previously they didn’t want to attend due to the fear of being judged. These students provided feedback that they would like to be more involved in the school community outside of competitive extra-curricular sport and HPE lessons. This led PE staff to progressively trial lunchtime activities such as ‘Just Dance’, with mindful colouring stations at the back of this space for these students. The PE team have also introduced a lunchtime interhouse theatresports competition and are now looking into running lunchtime activities for health and wellbeing most days of the week to include yoga, meditation, mindful colouring with group chats, strength training and free game play to encourage girls who are not part of the competitive school sports environment with a space to be actively involved in activities that will support their health and encourage community participation outside of the traditional lunchtime environment within all-girls schools.

And Talia’s Top Tips for teachers: “Be flexible: I find that I have students more willing to participate in class when consideration is given to where they are at on that day and adapt to engage them based on their needs.
Be proactively visible: Say hello to students as you travel between classrooms and throughout the school. It brightens your day, too, when students call out hello when they spot you just because they know you will respond with: [NAME], how are you?”


Tyler Hardy, PE Teacher - St Joseph's and St Kieran's Catholic Schools, Mt Isa

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Our Feature Teacher for August is Tyler Hardy from St Joseph's and St Kieran's Catholic Schools in Mt Isa. Tyler received a highly commended after being nominated for the quality teacher of the year award by St Joseph's - only three years into his teaching career, this is testament to the positive impact Tyler is having on this remote community. 

In an excerpt from the nomination submitted by his principal Mrs Helen Wade, she writes  “Mr Hardy joined our remote school community in 2016, a graduate teacher with a passion for teaching Physical Education to young students. He has developed a comprehensive HPE school program that engages students from Kindergarten to Year 6. Mr Hardy is inclusive, considerate of individual needs and cultural diversity. He stives to develop high-expectations relationships with students, parents and staff, to ensure that our students are in an environment where a healthy lifestyle is promoted.

Mr Hardy has had a positive impact on student, staff and parent involvement in physical activity. He participates in the local school sports board, ensuring that our students have access to regular sport, where participation is the focus. Students are involved in various school sports and also attend to their individual pursuits through Mr Hardy's support for local, district and state sport selection processes. He serves as a coach, manager and convenor for local sport and inspires teachers and parents to contribute their skills and expertise to mentor our students. He organises opportunities for high students-parent-teacher participation in carnivals and events so that our school community can come together in sport and celebrate the ideals of teamwork, participation and fairness.”. 

For Tyler, the calling to teach means every day is different.  “There is always an opportunity to further develop someone’s love for sport or understanding of what it means to be ‘Healthy’. “

Top Tip: Look for opportunity! Always do your best to provide your students with new experiences, new sports and the opportunity to taking their sporting further. 


Riley McGregor, HPE, PE, Rec and Health Teacher, Bundaberg State High School

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Riley McGregor is our July Feature Teacher. A recent nominee for the 2018 Teacher Award series, Riley has helped grow the department and subject of HPE with more kids selecting HPE in senior at Bundaberg State High than prior to his employment.  He runs extra-curricular sports and also works with other members of the school team to run pastoral care activities such as camps and team days.

“I love the fact that HPE is an ever-changing profession that allows for a number of different career paths. There is no such thing as a boring day as a teacher as you never really know what the 100 or so students you see each day will bring to the class. It can certainly be a challenge, but I have found teachers are more than happy to help out other teachers with anything that is needed. “

Riley is passionate about HPE’s place in curriculum and broader development in children.

“To me, Health and Physical Education is the single most important subject there is. Everything else comes second place if you are not physically, emotionally and socially healthy. No other subject can teach kids all three pillars of health in such a fun and rewarding way. HPE can truly set students up for a fantastic and fulfilling life.

Bundaberg State High’s HPE department runs several programs including a sports extension class for Rugby, Netball and Touch football. It also has an extensive Physical Recreation and Physical Education pathway for students, so that regardless of their chosen pathway they can be involved in Sport. 

Riley’s deputy principal, Narelle Hayne, has praised his innovative approach to HPE teaching and learning.  “He engages kids with a variety of pedagogy. His curriculum knowledge is excellent and he encourages other staff members with his passion and enthusiasm to teach in this area.”

Riley’s Top Tip for Teachers:

Failing means you have tried something new and is more important than doing the same thing over and over. As long as you learn from it, it means you are improving, and that is all teaching is about.


Michael Tucker, HPE & Science Teacher, Injune P-10 State School

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For Michael Tucker, HPE and Science teacher at Injune P-10 State School in Queensland’s south west, there’s really an endless list of reasons to love teaching. From helping guide future generations, and witnessing lightbulb moments, through to the constant and dynamic challenges of working with young people and the changing landscape of education in Queensland. However, getting to share his love of physical activity and social sport with students who already love it and with those still discovering ‘the sport for them’, is a special motivation for Michael.

“I enjoy helping students find the perfect activity for them, knowing it will help boost their lifelong health and confidence. I am passionate about creating an HPE classroom which encourages and rewards all the different ways people can engage with physical activity, from competitive to social, refereeing to playing, or just getting some walking in. My number one goal as an HPE teacher is to give students the knowledge, enthusiasm and skills to engage in lifelong physical activity. I believe this is achieved by HPE lessons that put the emphasis on self-awareness of physical activity benefits, social sport, enjoyment, and intrinsic motivation. Looking more broadly at education, I am focussing on building my skill set to facilitate classrooms where students can follow their interests and create their own life-links.”

Michael has been teaching for a year and already he and his colleagues have had some big wins for Injune State School. Having secured funding and equipment to install lighting in the school’s “big shed” undercover sporting area, it will be used to run social sport activities for the town. This will provide both an opportunity for physical activity in the community, and a way of reinforcing the social benefits of sport to students. It will also give students an avenue to explore team sports and refereeing opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have in a small town.

The school has made a concerted effort to provide students with clinics and after school programs that provide exposure to sports beyond the typical netball and rugby league of Western Queensland. This has already led to students discovering passions for Tennis, AFL, Rugby Union, Basketball, and Volleyball.

Recently, Injune State School has begun shifting towards school-based units which focus on PE beyond physical performance. This shift sees students engaging with a number of sport education elements, such as coaching of lower-year grades, social media learning, and management and refereeing of peer games.

Michael’s top tip for teachers: Know why you’re in the classroom. The curriculum is your framework but understand why it important for you to present that knowledge.


Peter Simons, HPE Teacher, Woodridge State School

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Meet Peter Simons, an accomplished primary school teacher with just shy of 20 years’ experience under his belt. Currently teaching at Woodridge State School on Brisbane’s southside, Peter believes playing a part in the development and growth of students from early years through to young adults is one of the most rewarding parts of his job.

Students come to Woodridge State School from many different backgrounds and have a variety of sporting skills as well as experiences from their own cultures.  Peter enjoys the challenge of engaging students in a new sport, developing skills they already possess and ultimately encouraging his students to succeed further.

Woodridge SS has much to be proud of regarding their health and PE curriculum and additional opportunities. “From our perceptual motor development programs in the lower school right through to our interschool and intra-school sport programs in the upper school where all students at Woodridge State School have the opportunity to participate and learn in a sporting context.  From there, students have avenues to succeed in representative levels in our local district where yet more fantastic PE teachers volunteer their time to coach or manage representative teams.  We also have great partnerships with outside agencies who also provide opportunities for our students in sport.”

Peter’s top tip for teachers: Remember that failing is just the first step in succeeding.


Derek Cliff - HPE Teacher, Bray Park State High School

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Derek Cliff’s impressive career in education has spanned almost 20 years. Over that time, he has held positions as a PE Teacher, HPE Coordinator and Deputy Principal in several Brisbane and Central Queensland schools. Currently, an HPE Teacher at Bray Park State High School and the Pine Rivers District Sport Executive Officer, Derek’s fundamental love of teaching stems from making a difference in his students’ lives.

“The moment when students believe in their abilities and have a desire to improve even more, is something that makes teaching all worthwhile.  The return visits from students or the letters at the end of the year with thanks for your work or for the positive impact you have had reinforces why I do what I do.”

Derek’s interests are varied in terms of health, active living and education. Leading an active lifestyle is very important, both from a personal fitness perspective and also to provide a positive example to his students and community.  Regarding education, Derek is committed to creating a learning environment that extends beyond the classroom setting.

 “I have a huge passion for initiating change to help students engage with information and enhance their learning not only in my subject but in life.  When it comes to sport I really enjoy coaching various sports and have been involved at District, Regional, State and National levels across numerous roles.  Over the past years I have switched my focus onto increasing the number of young women in sport and providing opportunities for them to engage with sports, especially non-traditional ones, such as Rugby 7’s.” 

Bray Park SHS has been heavily involved in the development of Rugby 7’s in the North Brisbane area, with their team having great success in the tournaments.  Additionally, the school runs a sporting development program known as Future Athlete Specific Training or FAST.  This program is a non-sport specific athlete improvement program that focuses on athletes with potential and building on them in a holistic way, through training and education.  In 2016 when working with Olympian Damon Kelly, this group attended QLD All Schools Weightlifting and won several medals across female and male categories, as well as taking out the overall title in the boys’ competition.

Derek’s top tip for teachers: “Set a standard for your students that you want them to strive for and surpass.  This should start with a passion for learning and you should have this on display every day.”


Nyree Wood - HPE Teacher, Loreto College, Cooparoo

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Our Feature Teacher this month is Nyree Wood, HPE Teacher and Basketball Co-ordinator at Loreto College, Coorparoo. Her career in HPE education spans almost three decades and it’s evident from her testimony below that Nyree’s passion for her profession continues to grow with each new class.

“Being in the classroom with students who enjoy physical activity is motivating. Teaching Physical Education is a demanding job but it is also invigorating when you see a student learn a new skill or improve their performance. To help develop self-esteem and self-confidence is very important in today’s challenging society. I love the connections you can establish with students, the humour that often occurs in a physical education lesson and the fact that no two lessons are ever the same. I love the energy of a practical lesson and I love the fact that I am still learning as a teacher some 27 years into the profession.

I am passionate about teaching Senior Physical Education. In this time of great change leading up to the implementation of a new syllabus, there is always uncertainty. I believe it is important to stay informed and remember that our subject is of great value to students while at school and beyond.

I am very interested in promoting the “thinking” that occurs in Physical Education. People often overlook the fact that athletes make thousands of split second decisions to evaluate, predict and interpret complex movements in their chosen sports. Higher order thinking occurs constantly in physical performance and our subject must be valued for this aspect of brain cognition. Increased blood flow and oxygen levels through physical performance stimulates brain activity and therefore cements the value of our subject.

 I try and remain fit and active as this is a personal goal of mine. Having a mother who is still very active at 83 years of age, playing competitive tennis until 80, provides me with a strong role model. Having the energy to teach with enthusiasm is important, as we are role models to our students.”

Nyree is also very proud of the culture Loreto instils through its staff, students and community.

“Loreto embraces the “Cultures of Thinking” as integral in the learning process. Students are challenged to think rigorously in every subject. In Physical Education we incorporate the Habits of Mind into our teaching practices and value the inherent thinking that occurs with physical performance.

Every student at Loreto engages in at least 2 physical education lessons per week. Loreto values the health, social, emotional, mental and physical benefits of our subject and promotes this through active participation. Year 12 students readily enjoy their Core PE lessons and see them as a welcome break from the classroom environment.”

And Nyree’s top tip for teachers? “Enjoy the “magic” that happens in your classroom every day. We do make a difference in students’ lives; it’s often later that they and we realise this!”


Sally Hannah - HPE Teacher, St Peters Lutheran College

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Sally Hannah, an HPE teacher at St Peters Lutheran College, has a teaching career spanning the last 30 years. Currently the coordinator of the Junior School Perceptual Motor Program, Sally is passionate about developing students’ motor skills, especially in the younger years of school.

“Without sounding too cliché – I really love the opportunity to help and watch children grow. I teach motor development to the younger students, many of whom are presenting to prep and year 1 with poor or underdeveloped motor skills and to be able to assist these students to reach the acceptable benchmarks of growth and to see their excitement when they can finally complete a task is just about the best feeling you can get.”

Sally’s particular areas of interest are child physical growth and development and the growing concerns around the impact that mobile devices and reduction in physical activity is having on this development. While not directly linked to greater academic outcomes, Sally believes strongly in the link between perceptual motor skills and ability to concentrate and focus in a classroom setting.

St Peters run two perceptual motor skill lessons a week alongside their HPE program. Additionally,  in conjunction with The University of Queensland, they officially assess their prep students at the beginning of year for motor development, balance and strength and flexibility so each child’s progress can be monitored.


Pauline Harvey-Short - Dean of School, Brisbane Girls Grammar School

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Few educators are as experienced and passionate about the field of HPE as this month’s Feature Teacher. Meet Pauline Harvey-Short, Dean of School at Brisbane Girls Grammar School. Pauline’s career has spanned the last four decades, beginning as an HPE teacher on Brisbane’s south side, before moving to BGGS and holding a variety of roles including HPE teacher, Director of Health, Physical Education and Sport and Associate Dean.

I love the creativity of teaching, the interaction with young people, the feeling that you can make a difference, the opportunity to challenge students, particularly girls, to take them out of their comfort zone and experience success and failure and learn to believe in themselves. I love that you are in a position to help young people discover their passion and develop their skills.”

Pauline is particularly interested in competitive sport and its historical importance and its place in developing resilience, confidence, challenge and self-discovery. She believes the HPE teacher provides the opportunity for every child to aspire to become the best athlete they can be, and develop a passion for physical activity. Health and Physical Education is an essential part of every child’s educational experience and pivotal to every individual’s health and well-being.  

Pauline was the ACHPER Chair of Women in Sport and Recreation for 15 years and was a foundation Board member, vice-president and president of Womensport Queensland (1993-2014). In 2011, Pauline’s book on the BGGS history of Health, Physical Education and Sport was published.

Pauline has been an integral part of the BGGS faculty for close to 40 years. When asked if there were aspects of her school’s approach to HPE of which she is particularly proud, Pauline had this to say:

“I am probably most proud of the fact that HPE is compulsory in my school and has been since 1875. Across the years, many programs have been developed and integrated into the fabric of the curriculum and I am blessed with innovative female thinkers as leaders. The BGGS Senior Physical Education program, celebrating its 40-year anniversary in 2018, has been a strong and original program, with the Lifesaving unit used as an exemplar within Queensland.”

Top Tip for Teachers: “Be passionate about your discipline. Be thorough. Be prepared. Teach because you love it!”


Jaime Scott - Texas P-10 State School

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ACHPER QLD is very pleased to recognise the efforts and achievements of Jaime Scott from Texas P-10 State School, recipient of the 2017 Inspirational HPE Teacher Award.

Jaime has had a profound impact on the lives of her students and school community. A few years ago, Jaime implemented a morning program called Smash Up for the entire school which focuses on fitness and skills development. All students and staff participate in the 15 minutes of physical activity at the beginning of each day. Jaime then coordinates these sessions with Friday afternoon sport, reinforcing students’ abilities and interest in specific sports. Smash Up also includes ‘crunch and sip’ encouraging students to bring a piece of fruit or vegetable and water to school every day. Coupled with Jaime’s ‘Nude Food’ program, where students are encouraged to limit pre-packaged foods in their lunchboxes, this attitude of health and well-being has seen eating habits change through-out the school community, with a more healthy mindset becoming the norm for many school families.

Jaime shows extraordinary commitment to her students. An accomplished athlete in a number of sports, Jaime coaches students in a wide variety of sports including cross country, athletics, netball, touch football and girls’ rugby league. One of her students explained that State titles for cross country were scheduled straight after a holiday period. Jaime trained with her students every morning over the holidays, completing the activities with her students and motivating, encouraging, mentoring and ultimately enabling her students to be the very best version of themselves.

The results speak for themselves. Over the time Jaime has been at the school, Texas has had increasing representation in State teams across a variety of sports. In the last few years, Texas students have represented State in swimming, cross-country, athletics, girls’ and boys’ rugby and water-polo.

Another achievement has been the school’s Little Athletics program. When Jaime started at Texas, Little A’s had almost ceased to operate. Jaime re-invigorated the program by designing ‘coach the coaches’ sessions, on sports that were unfamiliar and spending time developing confidence in support staff and colleagues. Jaime’s infectious enthusiasm and ability to make every individual feel valued and special saw Little A’s expand exponentially and now involves around 100 out of the 190 students who attend Texas P-10. Students from other schools also attend the program and Jaime is now helping other school communities set up their own programs. Little A’s Association have also expressed interest in templating Jaime’s classes.

There countless other examples of Jaime’s commitment and dedication to her community and sport; a community netball club, driving students long distances so they can attend training for zone teams, as well as teams for girls rugby, girls rugby league tag and touch football, which are particular passions for Jaime. Again, Jaime will devote time to additional training before and after school, during lunch times and weekends for students hoping to make regional and state teams or for those who just want to develop their skills.

Jaime encourages every student, colleague and family member in the community, no matter what their ability. Jaime is sensitive to cultural differences and uses sport to bring her community together, encourage participation and as a way to positively change behaviours. Testimonials from her students and colleagues say Jaime “goes beyond inspirational” and “has completely changed lives”. An extremely worthy recipient of the 2017 Inspirational HPE Teacher Award.

Inspirational Teacher - Special Mention 2017


ACHPER QLD recognises and thanks the following teachers for the significant contribution they have made to their students' lives in 2017:

Glenn Carpenter - St Mary's College Ipswich

Belinda Hammett - Southport State High School

Rebekah Horsey - Faith Lutheran College, Plainland

Angela King - Shailer Park State High School

Jen Mauch - Samford State School

Tania Scott - Gatton State School

Stephanie Ullmann - Northern Beaches State High School

Caitlin Wilesmith - Cleveland State School



Lucas Nicholls – HOD for Junior Secondary, Redbank Plains State High School

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Lucas Nicholls, a Head of Department at Redbank Plains, is passionate about setting his students up for success, using their HPE studies as a pathway to further tertiary education. With 10 years teaching experience and a Certificate III in Fitness, Lucas values the opportunities to impact and create positive change in his school environment.

“One of the most rewarding parts of teaching is seeing the ‘lightbulb’ moment when a student understands a new concept, idea or movement. I’m proud of the opportunities our school provides staff and students to engage with sport at all levels – school, district, state and beyond”.

Lucas believes firmly in the value of robust curriculum development and implementation and is proud of Redbank Plains’ willingness to get the Australian Curriculum embedded in Years 7 – 10, particularly in HPE.

Top Tip for Teachers: “Never be too big to do the small things that need to be done”.

2017 Fellow Award Recipient

Dr Louise McCuaig

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Dr Louise McCuaig resides in Queensland. Louise’s support and commitment to ACHPER since joining in 2010 has been unconditional and unwavering and makes her a most worthy recipient of the ACHPER Fellow Award.

Read Louise’s citation below:

Louise, you have been an asset to ACHPER. Your support and commitment to the organisation have been unconditional and unwavering. You have made an immense contribution to the professional development of health and physical education teachers at ACHPER conferences across Australia, especially in Queensland. By sharing your knowledge at events like these, and through your work on industry advisory committees and syllabus writing teams, you have provided strategic leadership to the profession and influenced the practices of health and physical education teachers in Queensland and elsewhere. You have been a tireless supporter of early career health and physical education teachers, a passionate advocate for ACHPER, and a mentor to many past and current members of the ACHPER QLD management committee - a committee you served on with distinction.

Read about the other 2017 Fellow Award Recipients here.


Bruce Lee – Teacher, Brisbane School of Distance Education

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With over 32 years in teaching roles, Bruce is a highly experienced educator. As a teacher in distance education, he is passionate about developing ways in which technology can enhance the learning experiences of his students. In appropriate situations, this can provide tailored opportunities for student learning, which is especially helpful in distance education where there are such a broad range of students. Introducing 360 degree 're-coaching' using video, has allowed students who are separated by vast distances to experience places and events in a virtual environment together and other teachers are now being trained in the further use of this virtual space.

Bruce believes in providing experiences not usually available to distance education students and encouraging students to think outside the box and participate in activities they might otherwise overlook.

Top Tip for Teachers: "As much as possible, personalise learning for each student based on ability, needs, interests and context."

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