For the past 20 years, the Associated Independent Colleges (AIC) has offered sporting and cultural activities for our eight member schools across Brisbane. Last year, the AIC asked parents, staff and students for feedback on our sport offerings. It had been 20 years since the AIC was formed and it was timely to look at the activities that we offered. We wanted to ensure that the AIC offerings improved student wellbeing, provided healthy competition, considered the workload of staff and would be suitable for the new secondary education system – the Year 12 class of 2020 will graduate under the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) system, replacing the Overall Position as the standard pathway to tertiary study.
For this review, the AIC engaged a highly qualified team led by Professor Cliff Mallett and his colleagues from The University of Queensland. This team undertook a research phase that included survey contributions from more than 4700 parents, students and staff. Focus groups were also convened from each member College. The survey contributions were mostly positive about the AIC offerings and their value in helping to develop students.
In the first term of 2018, the review team delivered their report to the AIC Management Committee, which consists of all principals from the member schools. The committee has reviewed the report’s recommendations and discussed these with key stakeholders including senior sports staff. Today, the Management Committee is advising parents, students and staff of the agreed outcomes from the review. They include:
- The continuation of all sport offerings including the likes of swimming, volleyball, cricket, chess, football, rugby union, cross country, golf, basketball, track and field and tennis.
- The development of an AIC charter that will underpin our competition
- The introduction of an Australian rules football competition – on a two-year trial basis – to be played in the first term of 2019
- The introduction of a rugby league competition – on a two-year trial basis – to be played in the third term of 2019
- A proposal to switch track and field from the fourth term to the third term to help senior students to focus on their final exams
- Stronger partnerships with external sporting associations including national bodies
- A commitment to strong safety standards to all contact sports
Late last week, the AIC management committee signed off on a charter which is led by a motto: Learning and growth through sport and competition. The charter includes a vision, mission and guiding principles which summarise the nature of our interschool sports. The AIC has built an excellent reputation for developing quality young men whose development is enhanced on and off the field.
The research phase of the AIC review found that parents from all AIC schools were very satisfied with the current sport offerings. That was among the reasons why the AIC decided not to alter any of the current offerings. However, it became clear that many parents and students who were surveyed wanted to see the addition of Australian rules football and rugby league. We undertook extensive discussions on the viability of these competitions, including meetings with the AFL and the National Rugby League. We were satisfied that these sports could be offered in a term format. As part of our two-year trial, you will see:
- An opt-in format. Each member College has unique circumstances and these will be respected.
- An Australian rules football competition to be played in the first term on a Friday night for older students and Saturday morning for primary and Year 7 students.
- A rugby league competition to be played in the third term on a Saturday. Each school will provide one team for each Year level from Years 5 to 10. Each school will also provide an open age team.
Details of these competitions will be finalised later this year. The discussion around these new offerings will be led by principals, directors of sport and other key stakeholders.
The review raised concerns around the timing of fourth term sports, particularly for senior students preparing for important exams, and recognising the workload of staff across the year. To alleviate this, the AIC has initially considered not scheduling any structured interschool sport, requiring regular training sessions, in the fourth term. This would mean that track and field would potentially move to the third term. Individual schools will provide intraschool sport in the final term, noting that physical activity can assist in learning and study. This does not impact on players from Year 11 and younger who may begin training for sports in the following year.
During recent months, the AIC has strengthened our relationships with the likes of the AFL, the NRL and Queensland Rugby Union. We will continue to develop these relationships to ensure we provide the best sports offerings possible for our students while never losing sight of our motto to foster learning and growth through sport and competition.
Our thanks again to all who contributed to this review. We believe the accepted outcomes have set up the AIC for the start of our next two decades. They offer more options without forsaking our existing offerings. And we hope that they provide our young men with more opportunities to learn and grow.
AIC Management Committee