John Curtin College of the Arts physical education teacher Rob Venn won an AFL School Ambassador Award for his role in developing the college’s first female AFL team.

Rob won for the Most Outstanding Female Program at the award ceremony last night.

The AFL School Ambassador Awards recognise teachers who actively promote football at their school and have run exceptional AFL programs over the past year.

The team was created primarily by female students who wanted to learn or who played outside school and, with the support of Rob, the girls have helped grow the team and bring in more students.

Rob said the team was not concerned about game results or training, but concentrated more on building skills, confidence and motivation.

“We’re not really looking at results right now, we’re more about teaching, instructing and coaching during the games, and then relying on those girls coming back next season and recruiting others,” he said.

The college runs a Specialist Soccer Program and Gifted and Talented Arts Programs, but football is a new focus for the college and it has increased students’ interest in sport overall.

Rob said sport was an important part of students’ education and had a beneficial impact on students’ learning and wellbeing.

“It gives them an outlet to socialise, to stay fit and to have a stress release,” he said.

“There is more sport around the school than there used to be and I think that is because the students see that sport is an important part of a rounded education.”

Team member and Year 9 John Curtin College of the Arts student Madeleine Culver started playing football last year and said it was important for girls to be involved in the sport, and that Mr Venn had a large influence on the team.

“I think it’s really empowering that we are fighting for our acceptance into this sport and to show girls can play footy just as well as boys,” she said.

“Mr Venn has definitely played a very big role because he organises almost everything including new footy jumpers, constructing a bigger team of girls, and he has supported us in and out of school,” she said.

The AFL School Ambassador Awards will be presented on Thursday 9 August from 6.30pm to 10pm at Claremont Oval.

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