Active After-school Communities (AASC)

Active After-school Communities (AASC)    
Prepared by  Prepared by: Christine May, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport, Sport Australia (formerly Australian Sports Commission)
Last updated  Last updated: February 2016
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The Active After-school Communities (AASC) program was an Australian Government initiative that provided primary school-aged children with access to free sport and other structured physical activity programs in the after-school time slot of 3.00pm to 5.30pm. It operated from 2005-2014.

Key Messages 


The AASC program was introduced in response to societal trends influencing children's participation in physical activity.


AASC program activities were based upon a 'Playing for Life' philosophy.

The AASC program was developed by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) in response to societal trends influencing children’s sport participation, including:

  • the decline of physical education and sport in Australian schools
  • reduced opportunities for families to support out of school activities
  • less opportunities for children to be physically active in the home due to families being concerned about children playing unsupervised.

The program provided primary school children with access to free sport and structured physical activity programs in the hours directly after school. The program was delivered either at a primary school or an out of school hours care service (OSHCS).

The AASC program objectives were to:

  1. Enhance the physical activity levels of primary school-aged children through a nationally coordinated program.
  2. Provide increased opportunities for inclusive participation in quality, safe and fun sport and other structured physical activity through the AASC program.
  3. Stimulate local community involvement in sport and other structured physical activity.

In the 10 years that the AASC program operated 2 million children from 60,000 schools and OSHCS participated and 70,000 coaches were involved across six states and two territories with an average of 190,000 children taking part per semester. [Source: Celebrating 10 years of the AASC (PDF File  - 6.8 MB), Australian Sports Commission, November 2014]

The Australian Government announced that the AASC program would cease at the end of 2014 and that a new program, Sporting Schools, would commence in 2015. [Source: Australian Sports Commission Media Release, 14 May 2014]

A core concept of the AASC program was the Playing for Life philosophy.

Playing for Life uses games rather than drills to introduce the skills and tactics of a particular sport, or structured physical activity. Each session is purposely designed so that the games progressively introduce and develop particular skills. The emphasis is on providing safe, fun, engaging activities that ensure maximum participation from all children, regardless of their level of ability.

The Australian Sports Commission developed a variety of resources to assist people to deliver Playing for Life sport activities as part of the AASC program including; a Playing for Life resource kit; companion books for individual sports; and Sports Coaching Manuals for junior sports programs were developed in partnership with National Sporting Organisations. Resources for  Indigenous Games and Olympic Sports Activity Cards were also developed. These resources remain useful for teachers, coaches and others interested in developing sport and physical activity skills for children and young adults and are available through the Australian Sport Publication Archive.

In August 2015, as part of the Sporting Schools program, the Australian Sports Commission re-launched the Playing for Life resources to align with the draft Australian Health and Physical Education Curriculum. The new activity cards can be accessed through the Sporting Schools website.

The AASC program was evaluated using social research to assess the impact of the program. Key findings of the evaluations showed that the AASC program had a high satisfaction rate among participants, decreased sedentary behaviour in the hours immediately after school, and improved the capacity of the community to deliver sport.

Full reports from the 2005-2007, 2009-2010 and 2011 evaluations are available on the Australian Sport Publication Archive.

Participation reports and case studies provide insight into the success of a particular sporting program. The NSOs participating in the AASC program reported on a combination of statistical analysis as well as a qualitative review of the information.

Sporting Schools

The Australian Government announced that the AASC program would cease at the end of 2014 and that a new program, Sporting Schools, would commence in 2015.

Sporting Schools is an evolution of the AASC program and forms an important part of the ASC’s participation strategy with a focus on children and young adults and improving the capacity of NSOs to develop and grow.

Further information on Sporting Schools is available on the website.


Sporting Schools is a key component of the Australian Government participation game plan, Play.Sport.Australia. which sets out a big picture vision for boosting participation in sport in the years ahead.

Play.Sport.Australia. paints a compelling picture of how sport has changed in the last decade and plots the opportunities the Australian sports sector must embrace and maximise in the years ahead. It also provides a clear outline of where the ASC expects sports participation to be in the future, with the keys aims being:

  • more Australians, particularly young Australians, participating in sport more often
  • year-on-year membership and participation growth for all sports
  • strong sporting organisations that deliver the products and opportunities Australians want.

Where possible, direct links to full-text and online resources are provided. However, where links are not available, you may be able to access documents directly by searching our licenced full-text databases (note: user access restrictions apply). Alternatively, you can ask your institutional, university, or local library for assistance—or purchase documents directly from the publisher. You may also find the information you’re seeking by searching Google Scholar.



  • Celebrating 10 years of AASC (PDF  - 6.8 MB). Australian Sports Commission (2015). E-book about the ten years of the Active After-school Communities (AASC) Program (2004-2014).
  • Validation of Playing for Life philosophy for children aged five to 12 years (PDF  - 1.7 MB). Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL), Victoria University, (May 2013).
  • Active After-school Communities Program : Australian Sports Commission (PDF   - 4.9 MB). The Auditor-General audit report ; no.12, 2008-09. This document is an evaluation of the AASC program which is designed to engage traditionally non-active children in structured physical activities that focus on mobility skills and motor-skill development. The program also aims to build pathways within local community organisations in order to stimulate community involvement in delivering sport and physical activity programs.
  • School's out, get active learnings from the out of school hours sports program (PDF  - 2.2 MB). Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (2006). Evaluation of the Out of School Hours Sports Program Pilot implemented by Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth). This program was the forerunner of the Active After School Communities (AASC) program, a major component of the Australian Government's Building a Healthy, Active Australia package aimed at tackling the growing problems of declining physical activity and poor eating habits of Australian children.

Books & Resource Kits


  • Turn to Sport and Play for Life. Sport Australia, YouTube
  • Playing for Life Activity Cards. Sport Australia, YouTube
  • Carol Byers - Recruiting Coaches. Netball Australia, YouTube
  • Engaging inactive children in sport. Judy Flanagan, Smart Talk Seminar Series, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra (26 June 2006). Judy Flanagan's presentation reports on the preliminary findings of the Active After-school Communities Program. (Held by Clearinghouse for Sport, VE RC1235.62)
  • Active Kids, Active Communities. Wenda Donaldson and Cecilia Hemana, Smart Talk Seminar Series, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra (28 November 2005). This presentation provides an overview of the impact and outcomes of the AASC program in its first 12 months. It also highlights some great examples of communities working together to get kids active, having fun and developing a passion for sport. (Held by Clearinghouse for Sport, VE RC1235.43)
  • Active After-School Communities : helping kids and communities get active. Australian Sports Commission, (2005). Promotional DVD highlights the aims of the AASC program and features brief comments from participating children. (Held by Clearinghouse for Sport, V GV3.13)


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