Penrhos College has top junior school fitness program in Australia

Physical education coordinator Kenrick Armitage, rear left, Eva Douglas (12), Lara Jordan (11), Eve Sargent (10) and Dr Garry Tester holding the perpetual trophy. Mya Richards (11, front left) and Hannah Slyth (12). Picture: David Baylis.
Physical education coordinator Kenrick Armitage, rear left, Eva Douglas (12), Lara Jordan (11), Eve Sargent (10) and Dr Garry Tester holding the perpetual trophy. Mya Richards (11, front left) and Hannah Slyth (12). Picture: David Baylis.

PENRHOS College junior school is the inaugural winner of the Best Physical Health program for primary aged children across Australia.

The award was given by Sports Challenge Australia this week, an evidence based organisation which has a database of more than 55,000 students’ fitness and skills level normalised to an IQ scale.

Sports Challenge Australia chief executive Garry Tester said the minimum score for adequate fitness skill was 85 and Penrhos College was the top junior school with a score of 126.14.

“Every year, there’s been incremental rise and the great thing about the data this year, there was only 3 per cent of the girls who were below 85 points, which was about 7 girls,” he said.

Penrhos College junior school physical education coordinator Kenrick Armitage said the staff implemented little tweaks to the program to improve on specific areas while making sure the kids have fun.

“I think this is our fourth year of testing, we’ve noticed the areas that we were lacking were our flexibility and our upper body strength,” he said.

“That just means we have a little bit more focus on stretches, before and after physical activity, and incorporating little warm up games that improve the girls’ upper body strength like wheelbarrow races and handstand competitions.”

The top five scores were 126.14 by Penrhos College, 125.6 by Asham Junior School in NSW, 121.6 by Floreat Primary School, 118.45 by Guildford Primary School and 100.2 by Melville Primary School.

Dr Tester said the climate and lifestyle in WA reflected the fact that four of the top five schools were West Australian.

“It’s the lifestyle we have here, we very much have an outdoors lifestyle,” he said.

“I think private schools are a little bit better off than the government schools too because only 1 in 9 primary schools has a trained phys ed teacher.”