AUSTRALIAN Rules football will become a Year 12 subject under a ground-breaking initiative to boost male student retention rates.
As well as traditional subjects such as maths, English and history, students will be able to play and study football as a South Australian Certificate of Education subject from next year.
Players and staff from AFL premiers Port Adelaide ï¿½In conjunction with schools will provide intensive theoretical and practical teaching.
“I expect the course to prove very popular and it may be enough to convince some students, especially boys, to stay at school and complete Year 12,” Senior Secondary Assessment Board of SA chief executive Janet Keightley said.
“The subject is comprehensive students will not be passed for just having a kick and a catch.”
Male retention rates have been dropping in recent years, with boys making up just 44 per cent of Year 12 students this year.
Dr Keightley said the course would not only be for students wishing to become top-level footballers earning a lucrative salary but also those seeking a career in sports administration and marketing, teaching other aspects of physical education and physiotherapy.
The course, which will be a full-time unit of SSABSA’s Year 12 Vocational Studies program, will only be run by two schools next year Immanuel College and Sacred Heart College and those studying through the Open Access College.
Up to 100 students are expected to take part and, if successful, the subject will be introduced into more schools in 2006.
Dr Keightley said that depending on the reaction from boys and girls the course could become one of the most popular Year 12 subjects within the next few years.
While there are no gender or talent restrictions on enrolment, only students playing school or club football can apply.
Students would be assessed on their training and match-day performances as well as theoretical work throughout the year.
Two days of the practical and theoretical study will be at Alberton Oval in the October school holidays under the supervision of Port Adelaide AFL premiership coach Mark Williams.
Students’ final gradings will be reviewed by SSABSA moderators.
During the course, players including premiership ruckman Brendon Lade will provide mentoring roles for students while Williams’ sister, Jenny, a physical education teacher at Sacred Heart College, will also be involved.
“Hopefully, a subject like footy will help keep kids interested in going to school,” Mark Williams, a former PE teacher, said.
“As well as those going on to play professional football, the subject will help others across a number of career paths.”
The subject is an extension of the Australian Rules football SACE unit run as part of physical education studies for the first time this year.
Sacred Heart College student Cameron Hromin is looking forward to taking football as a Year 12 subject next year.
“Football will be a lot more entertaining than sitting in a classroom doing book work,” the 16-year-old said.
“I’m thinking of doing a physiotherapy course at university and would love to work at an AFL club so this subject will be great.”
Any student interested in studying Australian Rules football should inquire at their school to determine whether it is viable to run a course in 2006.