NSW sports high schools going for gold with new partnership


New South Wales has scored an Australian-first with the state's 7 Sports High Schools officially becoming 'Australian Olympic Pathway Schools' from today.

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the unique designation from the Australian Olympic Committee for these schools was fantastic news and would help boost the state's efforts to create future generations of Olympians and Paralympians.

"Our 7 Sports High Schools in NSW are the only secondary schools in Australia to have this prestigious recognition".

"This reflects the great strength of our sports high school network, and their excellent track record in fostering both sporting high performance and academic achievement. I can't wait to see the next generation of medal-winning athletes coming from our public schools as we look to Brisbane 2032."

The 7 Sports High Schools in NSW receiving this recognition are Endeavour Sports High School, The Hills Sports High School, Hunter Sports High School, Illawarra Sports High School, Matraville Sports High School, Narrabeen Sports High School and Westfields Sports High School.

This news comes as the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government confirmed a $1.5 million boost to extend the successful "Olympics Unleashed" school program, aimed at supporting students through the power of sport, until 2026.

"The award-winning Olympics Unleashed program, which teaches our students important life skills in decision making, goal setting and overcoming adversity, has reached more than 75,000 Year 9 students over the last 3 years," Ms Mitchell said.

"Continuing it for a further 3 years will mean thousands more young people, including primary school aged students for the first time, will benefit from the program delivered by Olympians and aspiring Olympians.

"Sporting heroes are made in our public schools and particularly our amazing sport high schools, so it is fitting and incredibly exciting to recognise their role in Australian sporting excellence by acknowledging them as 'Australian Olympic Pathway Schools'."

Minister for Sport Alister Henskens said the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to supporting the state's 7 sports high schools in their endeavour to develop future Australian Olympians.

"The students at our sports high schools today will be our heroes standing on the podium at the Brisbane 2032 Olympics, and this partnership will strengthen their opportunity for international success," Mr Henskens said.

"The first-of-its-kind in Australia, this initiative will encourage even more high school students to reach for the stars, as well as provide programs to help young people stay focused and motivated while they're studying and trying to forge a pathway in their respective sports."

Today's announcement builds on the signing of an MOU between the sports high schools and the NSW Institute of Sport, which strengthened the pathway for talented athletes with a specific focus on Olympic sports.

AOC Chief Executive Officer Matt Carroll said the Australian Olympic Pathway Schools designation is an important endorsement of the value of the sports high schools network in NSW.

"The key to sporting excellence is to align participation, pathways and high performance. To have this alignment at high school level is powerful, particularly as we look to Brisbane 2032 and beyond.

"We have seen Olympic Training Centres recognised around Australia and overseas, but never at the school level.

"The AOC is also thrilled by the extension of the Olympics Unleashed program. Our Olympic athletes can deliver these sessions across the state, including regional areas and Indigenous communities. We will reach 1800 schools across the 3 years.

"It's important that our young people pursue a passion - we want people to get active but finding your passion may lie beyond sport."

Since Sydney 2000, the state's Sports High School have produced 36 Olympic and Paralympic athletes, including Brandon Starc (Track and Field), Caitlin Foord (Football) and Amanda Reid (Swimming and Cycling - Paralympics).

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