2023 PDHPE Teacher Award winners

14 September 2023

Northlakes High School

ACHPER NSW is pleased to announce winners and highly commended for our 2023 PDHPE Teaching Awards. As always, it’s fantastic to receive a range of nominations highlighting the outstanding work of PDHPE educators. Our winners receive ACHPER NSW membership and professional learning vouchers and packs from our sponsor RHSports.

Below are the winner profiles and highly commended nominations.

Caitlin SmithWinner – Early Career Teacher 
Caitlin Smith,
Ambarvale High School

In her early teaching career Caitlin is having an impact on both students and the school community. A dedication to student growth, innovative curriculum approaches, and community engagement have led to improved student outcomes and experiences.

Caitlin has taken on many school roles including Internal Sports Organiser, Preliminary CAFS Coordinator, Child Studies Coordinator and Premiers Sporting Challenge (PSC) Coordinator.  Her thorough approach to internal sport ensures a seamless experience for students and teachers. Caitlin’s resourcefulness has resulted in new funding and engaging external providers, such as the NRL, GWS Giants and Netball NSW.

An innovative leader of the Child Studies program, Caitlin designs programs, curates teaching materials, updates assessments and arranges enriching excursions. This includes a collaboration with a local childcare centre providing students with hands on experience and reinforcing classroom learning. As PSC Coordinator, she also worked with local primary schools to facilitate student referring and coaching at gala days.

Caitlin embraces professional development. Teaching Community and Family Studies for the first time, she is drawing on her internal and external networks to continually enhance her expertise.

Caitlin’s work has resulted in improved student engagement, deeper subject understanding and skill development. Her approach of going beyond classroom boundaries and fostering community connection is helping prepare students for well-rounded lives.

Highly commended

  • Georgia Douglas, Singleton High School
  • Brooke Foley, Cheltenham Girls High School
  • Madeline O’Connor, St Bede’s Catholic College, Chisholmn

Rainey SargantWinner – Primary teacher 
Rainey Sargent, St Philip’s Christian College, Cessnock

Rainey is a dedicated primary PDHPE teacher fostering a love for physical activity with innovative and inclusive teaching. She has increased student enthusiasm, skills and healthy habits by focusing on skill progression and wellbeing.

Rainey thoughtfully structures and prepares lessons making sure students understand the purpose of activities.  She creates an inclusive classroom environment through a variety of strategies and ensures that every student feels valued. Her programs have resulted in improved student attitudes towards physical activity.

Rainey’s focus on skill progression empowers students to develop physical abilities and improve fitness. Students set personal goals and track their progress, instilling  responsibility for their own physical wellbeing. The approach promotes individual growth and cultivates a culture of sportsmanship and mutual support among students.

Rainey encourages students to engage in regular physical activity, both inside and outside of school. She leads by example, involved in many extracurricular activities and after school sports.

Rainey’s comprehensive approach focuses on the development of lifelong skills and habits. Students aquire knowledge about being active, sportsmanship, skill acquisition, and respectful relationships. Rainey communicates the relevance of these concepts to everyday life so students can make informed health and wellbeing decisions.

Winner – Secondary Teacher
Lindsay McCallum,  Merewether High School

Lindsay’s work in health and physical education has resulted in improved student engagement, assessment rigour, and staff knowledge. She positively impacts students and staff through authentic learning experiences, community connection, and a successful sporting program.

Lindsay has played a key role in developing outstanding teaching and learning programs, accompanied by effective assessments. She meticulously develops programming protocols for each unit and lesson, along with teacher resources.  Through practical protocols, aligned with physical literacy and incorporating peer feedback, Lindsay has achieved higher student engagement and a deeper understanding of their learning journey. She proactively collects survey data from students ensuring a broader perspective when designing programs and assessments.

Through consistent engagement with stakeholders, she has elevated the rigor of assessments, resulting in a 31.6% increase in on-time submissions by Year 10 students within 12 months.

Lindsay has created all Stage 6 PDHPE resources and lifted the complexity of feedback provided to Stage 6 students resulting in a 17% increase in total average scores for the current cohort. As the leading developer of the school’s transition to the Canvas platform she has developed detailed blueprints for PDHPE and school-wide teachers to follow.

Lindsay has made significant contributions to the Premier Sporting Challenge, lunchtime activities, and weekly sports. A combination of diverse activities and regular reflection on physical activity has enhanced student participation. Lindsay has also established a school fitness lab, a state-of-the-art facility providing students with invaluable opportunities to analyse movement and performance improvement.

Highly commended

  • Jamie Slater, The Hills Sports High School
Northlakes High School

Winner – School/Faculty category
PDHPE Faculty, Northlakes High School

The Northlakes High School (NHS) PDHPE Faculty consistently go above and beyond in all aspects of PDHPE and the wider school community. With strong dedication and a positive attitude, they aim to inspire the Northlakes community to embrace physical activity and health.

In 2022/23 the faculty restructured school sport and PE programs to provide new and exciting experiences for students. There had been no student involvement with community recreation and sport for a decade, an area identified for change to build student confidence, respect and collaboration skills.  

The team prioritised providing opportunities to students facing social or economic barriers. They secured a variety of funding to support new equipment, including kayaks and mountain bikes, weekly whole school sport and expert coaches to support PE onsite. Funding also supports faculty qualifications, such as bronze medallions, and other professional learning.

The NHS PDHPE Faculty contribute to all aspects of the school community and are leaders in year advisor, Sydney North sport, cultural group, professional learning, and Aboriginal education roles. Each brings expertise to the PDHPE classroom and enable the faculty to have a strong supportive relationship with students.  The team seamlessly arrange school events including colour runs, carnivals, primary school round robins, Muru Bulbi Cup and more.

The team’s efforts have seen an increase in students trying out for sport teams, taking up whole school activities and year sports, as well as participation rates continually increasing in PE lessons. The PDHPE faculty continually improve culture and promote PDHPE as an essential part of education and school community wellbeing.

Highly commended

  • PDHPE Faculty, Singleton High School
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