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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the status of aquatics within the national Australian Health and Physical Education curriculum with a particular focus on the past decade. Swimming and water safety always has held a prominent place within Australia’s Health and Physical Education (HPE) learning area throughout modern history. The first national school HPE curriculum framework has recently been released, representing a growing number of stakeholders and focus areas. This raises questions surrounding the content traditionally delivered in schools under the HPE umbrella and how the new curriculum may be enacted. Early signs, such as the release of the Draft Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education (ACARA, 2012), and the response from the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER), indicated a diminished value and place for aquatics. This concern was reinforced and intensified by the final version of the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education (HPE) framework (F-10). The continued difficulties facing swimming instruction include the costs and time faced by families and school communities. This paper further explores the potential impact this curricular change may have on children’s swimming and water safety within Australian schools.

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