The currently valid syllabus is an outline plan. The central idea for all levels is Exercise - Games - Performance - Health. The aim of the subject, Physical Exercise, is, therefore, the ability to take exercise, to play, to perform and to develop a healthy lifestyle. Building on the concept of sports disciplines the syllabus creates the framework within which the teaching contents are chosen with particular reference to basic motor skills.
Within the aim of „motor empowerment“ pupils should be taught not only multiple motor skills in the sphere of exercise and the realm of sports but also the ability to recognise the importance of sport to health and to society.
In the course of syllabus reform, for schools attended by 10- 14 year olds, a new syllabus will from school year 2000 at the earliest extend the scope for individual schools to organise their own programmes. Independent planning, Core Syllabus 1999 decision-making and evaluation processes will be put in place in each respective school location as a quality guarantee.
This syllabus differentiates between the core (two thirds of teaching time) and the extension (one third of teaching time). For the core area obligatory goals will be set. The content by which these goals are translated will be the responsibility of the individual school. The extension area can be adjusted to suit the intensive, extended or interdisciplinary learning outcome and is for the individual school to organise.
The subject syllabus for Physical Education places at its focal point the varying importance of physical activities:
Along with fundamental motor skills for physical activities, pupils should be shown access to the world of physical activity through the explanation of competitive, playing, organising, health oriented and experience oriented physical activities. This will contribute to their initiation into an exercise-oriented, health-conscious, environment sensitive lifestyle.
Teaching Principles 2000
The training and learning exercise targets at each level must be met as a function of the emphases established in relation to age and stage of development. These emphases are to be assigned equally to the syllabus area physical activities and also determined with due attention to sex-specifity. If contents of the extension area are planned which do not link to the core area pupils will need the establishment of an adequate foundation as appropriate to their previous experience.
In their choice of teaching methods as in their setting of requirements teachers must consider both data and standards in order to take into account pupils' motor development or competition level. Competition checks can act as a learning and training incentive for pupils and also as feedback for lesson-planning and execution
The acquisition of fundamental motor skills must always take place with due consideration of the health and motor development perspectives. In this context belong the most varied possible exercise options subject to careful consideration of health and physiological incentives and the upper and lower limits of effectiveness.
Readiness to learn can be increased by the inclusion of the pupils own sports activities and appropriate trends in free time activities. A further possible motivation to taking up sport is preparation for and participation in youth events and competitions (school events and competitions, club and federation competitions) as is the acquisition of competition badges (OGA, OJSTA, OSA, OLTA, Assistant certificate...).
A sensible distribution of course content e.g. variety completion, contrast is to be achieved over the four years. In this context, the course content should not only depend on the circumstantial constraints of the school concerned but also on the possibility of school events and competitions and on cooperation with external partners. For most of the contents e.g. the learning and improving of swimming ability the success of the teaching is to be guaranteed by the provision of teaching in course or block format in an appropriate venue.
As from academic year 1993/94 school autonomy found its way on to the educational statute book. As a result of changes in the law (Amendment BGBI.323/93 to School Organisation Law 14), schools may now by their own authority extend their room for organisational manoeuvre the better to respond to the regional interests and prerequisites of their pupils and to make use of the on-the-spot resources in premises and personnel which respond to their needs.
By the preparation of a flexible lesson quota in the context of the conditions applying to autonomous timetabling and to opening and divisional numbers, it is possible to:
- develop a new image or emphases,
- create new subjects,
- give extra teaching time to existing subjects and
- to introduce new learning and working methods to the school.
The decision on how this organisational freedom is to be used is taken by each school - with the cooperation of all parties. Autonomy also allows room for organisational manoeuvre and opportunities in physical education.
School profile - school programme
Broadening autonomy requires intensification of the leadership function. In pursuit of the new curriculum reforms schools are locally altering curriculum default settings and creating their own school profile.
With the reorganisation of the Austrian school system into a flexible, decentralised and autonomous system of education, schools will as a consequence have repeatedly to debate how they use their freedom of manoeuvre and which aims (for physical education and sport) they wish to achieve.
It also becomes thereby a question of greater attentiveness to the development and assurance of quality. Five quality areas can serve as pedagogic landmarks: teaching; class and school premises; school partnerships and external relations; school management; professionalism and development of personnel.
In the future all these named quality requirements will be incorporated within the subject of physical education and will lead to:
- the subject establishing its own quality concepts,
- appropriate quality indicators being incorporated at the local planning stage and
- these constantly being checked and further developed.
In view of changes in the world of physical activity and the active lives of children it will become necessary to bring more physical activity into the generality of school life and into other areas (e.g. in the current current school programme).
Physical Education in interdisciplinary teaching and projects
Of great importance is networking in and with the school (e.g. teacher teamwork, presentation of the subject in the life of the school, advising parents) and with external agencies (e.g. demonstration of possibilities of cooperation with sports clubs and other bodies).
The development of pupils' specific and personal social competence takes on a key role in the new physical education curriculum concept. The acquisition of these competences will be based upon practical experience. Theory-based content (links, foundations, intellectual content) also finds its way into teaching planning from interdisciplinary teaching and learning processes.
Therefore a strengthened physical education must look beyond subject boundaries to work up key themes and contemporary problems for pupils to understand.