Institutional influences on equity and sports participation
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Institutional influences on equity and sports participation. Topics. Community and school sport page 359 Sport in the community page 359 Sport in schools page 360 School and community influence on sports’ popularity page 369 Sports rules and regulations page 371

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Institutional influences on equity and sports participation


  • Community and school sport page 359

  • Sport in the community page 359

  • Sport in schoolspage 360

  • School and community influence on sports’ popularitypage 369

  • Sports rules and regulationspage 371

  • Religious institutionspage 372

Back to

chapter overview

Community and school sport

Page 359

Community and school sport

  • Figueroa’s institutional level examines how effective institutions within the community are at providing opportunities to access sport and physical recreation pursuits.

  • Two major areas:

    • Community sporting associations

    • Educational institutions

      • Schools

Back to

chapter overview

Sport in the community

Page 359

Sport in the community

  • Approximately 4.4 million Australians aged over 15 participate in activities organised through sporting associations

Personal reflection

Is your family involved in a local sports club or association?

Community sporting facilities

  • Types of facilities in communities will vary

  • Factors which will impact are:

    • Location

    • Physical environment

    • Community traditions

  • This will impact on opportunities available

  • Successful individuals within a community can increase:

    • Government funding

    • Participation rates

Personal reflection

What sports facilities are available in your community? Do you use them?

Sport in schools

Page 360

Sport in schools

  • Schools are a powerful socialising agent where essential personal and social skills are developed

  • Sport is compulsory for all Yr 8&9 students in Qld

    • 120 minutes each week

  • Many attitudes towards physical activity are influenced by experiences at school

    • Types of sports played

    • School sporting culture

School facilities

  • Quantity and quality of facilities will vary from school to school

  • Many schools utilise community facilities to increase access to a wider range of activities

  • Schools can provide venues for community organisations to conduct their competitions.


If money was available, what sporting facilities would you like to see developed in your school?

School traditions

  • Sport can be a major factor to develop school pride and status

  • Prestige associated with being a member of the “first” team

  • Inequitable recognition and status of sports within a school

    • Reinforces the marginalisation of other sports

  • School cultures require:

    • Winning culture

    • Staff members with a passion for that sport

    • Success


List the sports in which your school is known for its sporting excellence.

What effect has the school’s success in these sports had on your participation?

School and community influence on sports’ popularity

Page 369

School and community influence on sports’ popularity

  • Some of the most popular school sports do not achieve high levels of participation amongst school leavers

Percentage of 5–14 year olds and main sports participated in, by gender

Percentage of 15+ year olds and main physical activities participated in, by gender

School and community influences continued

  • Why the discrepancies?

    • Access to facilities

    • Lack of suitable competition format/structure

    • Media promotes a product that is more “TV friendly”

      • Indoor volleyball versus beach volleyball

    • Player burnout

    • Athletes choosing a different sport

      • Financial benefits

Back to

chapter overview

Sports rules and regulations

Page 371

Sport rules and regulations

  • An agreed set of principles, policies and standards of conduct which govern a sport or physical activity.

  • Rules and regulations often set by a governing body.

    • These are often steeped in tradition.

    • Can become inflexible.

  • Equity and access issues can arise:

    • Clothing

    • Costs

    • Religious beliefs

    • Conditions for participating

Personal reflection

Do any rules at your school deter particular individuals or groups from participating in sport?

Religious institutions

Page 372

Religious institutions

Back to

chapter overview

Now that you have finished ...


1a Outline how schools provide opportunities for participation in physical activity.

  • Compulsory HPE in year 8 (Key Learning Area)

  • 120 minutes of physical activity each week (Smart Moves)

  • School sport

    • Social sport

    • Interschool sport

  • State-wide competitions:

    • Vicki Wilson Cup—Netball

    • Bill Turner Cup—Football

    • Broncos Cup—Rugby League

  • Representative sport

  • Elective subjects in school curriculum

    • Senior physical education

    • Recreational practices

    • Junior health and physical education

1b Referring to relevant levels of Figueroa’s framework, explain why different schools will provide different sport and physical activity opportunities.

  • Cultural

    • School traditions

    • Successful sports

  • Structural

    • Government funding

  • Institutional

    • Facilities available

    • Location

  • Interpersonal

    • Teachers

    • Past students

    • Student population

2a Explain how school traditions can cause some sports to become dominant at the expense of others.

  • For many schools, sport plays a large role in developing and sustaining a school culture and pride. Schools that have a successful sporting history often promote their sporting achievements to future students and their parents, as well as to current and former students. Schools use their web pages to outline their successful sporting history. A culture of winning and competing at the highest level is extremely marketable.

  • Coaches will often use “tradition” as a motivating factor to exhort their students to achieve excellence. Students can gain prestige by being a member of the “first team”. Students from many schools have their sporting representative honours embroidered upon their school blazers.

  • Equitable recognition amongst all sports within a school environment is rare. Individuals can become frustrated by the promotion of specific sports over others within a school culture. Students involved in non dominant sports can often feel ostracised, perceiving that certain individuals playing dominant sports receive special treatment. Resentment to the perception of special treatment given to the sports stars of the dominant teams, real or not, can see participation numbers in other sports decrease as recognition is not always equitable.

2a Continued.

  • Marginal sports in schools will remain marginal, whilst the recognition and promotion of its achievements is consumed by the dominant sports. One plausible reason for this could simply be which teachers are at the school and how much effort they put into promoting their sport. A school with one passionate teacher can create a culture of success for their sport. Two teachers with the same drive for their sport can create more support for their sport. Teachers can raise the school profile by developing a squad of players and creating opportunities to participate in this sport.

  • The impetus creating a new culture is the dedication and commitment from the school leaders, or in this case, the teacher. Some initial success is achieved and this creates more motivation for everyone to become involved. From here, the sport’s credibility gains momentum and can become a significant part of the school. There is often a correlation between the student population of a school and the opportunities that exist. More students results in the need for more teachers and consequently, a greater number of teachers with passions for differing sports broadens opportunities for student participation.

2b What strategies can schools put in place to provide more equitable recognition of all sports?

  • School parades:

    • Select different teams each week to provide details about their competition results

  • Newsletters:

    • Regular competitive and social updates from all sports:

      • Competition status

      • Player profile

      • Achievements

      • Benefits

  • Captains for each school sport to promote their sport

  • A greater diversity of visiting coaches/regional directors

  • Open school days highlighting various sports played

2c Do you believe that schools should have to recognise all sports equally? Why?

3Referring to Figures 11.10 and 11.11, consider the discrepancies in participation rates in netball and rugby league between children (aged 5–14) and adults (15 years and older). Discuss the factors in the cultural, structural and institutional level of Figueroa’s framework that might have led to these discrepancies.

3Discuss the factors in the cultural, structural and institutional level of Figueroa’s framework that might have led to these discrepancies

  • Culturally both sports have a strong support base and are valued by parents, hence the high participation rates as juniors.

  • Both sports reflect stereotypical views as gender-based sports compared to gender-neutral sports such as swimming, tennis, basketball and athletics.

  • Structurally, both sports have strong support through government funding for developing juniors.

  • Institutional level: both sports have strong facility bases due to significant junior numbers.

  • There are limited opportunities to continue sport into adulthood as a full-time career; as a result, sports which have maintained or increased their numbers can be performed individually and at any time suitable to the individual.

  • Institutional: Both sports would have high levels of parental involvement as coaches/administrators (not reflected in tables).

4a Which has had the greatest effect on your personal sports participation—community or school sport? Explain why.

  • Answers will vary.

4b Which should cater for the grassroots level of sports participation—community or school sport? What extra support is required to ensure success?

  • The school has greater flexibility to ensure that a broad range of sports and physical activities can be delivered.

  • Minimal cost to students

  • Schools have funding provided to purchase suitable equipment for a range of sports:

    • Gross body activities

    • Ball games

    • Racquet sports

  • Teachers have knowledge to impart basic skills to all students

    To increase success the following would help:

    • Funding for more equipment (general and specialist)

    • Professional development for teachers

    • Regional and community sport associations coordinating expo days to promote their sports / activities

4b Which should cater for the grassroots level of sports participation—community or school sport? What extra support is required to ensure success?

  • Community sport has potential to cater for a greater number of students due to:

    • Increased support network base

      • Parents

      • Community members

      • Local teams (F.R.E.D.)

    • Facilities

      • Larger space available

    • Promote family involvement

    • Provides excellent opportunity for “free time”

    • Create pathways for future participation

      • Representative and professional level

  • Future success

    • Community involvement

    • Subsidise costs for families

    • Government funding for facilities and equipment

5Every student from Year 1 to Year 12 should participate in compulsory physical activity. Develop a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis for this statement to determine whether compulsory participation would cause long-term participation rates to rise and obesity levels to decrease.

5Compulsory physical activity

6Provide three reasons why religious and cultural beliefs should be considered when developing policies for sports participation.

  • Australia is a multicultural society

    • Almost 25% of Australians born overseas

    • More than 40% of Australians have at least one parent born overseas

    • Approximately 16% of Australians speak another language

  • Demonstrates respect for individuals’ beliefs, values and customs

  • Increase opportunities for greater participation by scheduling activities that cater for religious beliefs

  • Improve cultural tolerance and understanding through participating in sport.

Image credits

  • Slide 1, Photolibrary/Hufton & Crow

  • Slide 4, Newspix/Mark Evans

  • Slide 9, Fairfax/Dallas Kilponen

  • Slide 10, Newspix/Andrew Ritchie

  • Slide 12, Newspix/Mark Evans

  • Slide 18, iStock Photo/Heidi van der Westhuizen

  • Slide 19, Getty Images/Dean Purcell

  • Slide 21, AAP Image

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