A new innovative app will help schools increase the number of students playing tennis as part of the Abbott Government’s plan to get more kids fit and healthy through its Sporting Schools programme.

Minister for Health and Sport Sussan Ley joined Tennis Australia and the Australian Sports Commission at the Australian Open in Melbourne today to launch the new app – the first of 12 pilot programmes to be rolled out as part of the $100 million programme.

Ms Ley said Sporting Schools – announced in the 2014/15 Budget – was Australia’s largest school based participation programme for children.

“We know that supporting participation at a young age is critical to help children develop a deep connection to sport and lead healthy and active lifestyles,” Ms Ley said.

“This is particularly important when one-in-four children are now overweight or obese.

“Sporting Schools is a key part of our plan to ensure sport continues to play an important role in delivering positive health and well-being outcomes for our children.

“With this investment, the Australian Sports Commission will help bring schools and sports together to provide a supportive environment that encourages participation for more than 850,000 Australian children.”

Each year more than 5,700 schools will be funded through Sporting Schools for practical delivery of sports activities that suits their local needs.

All registered schools will also have access to teaching resources and skilled coaching networks across Australia to support their involvement.

Australian Sports Commission CEO Simon Hollingsworth said it was important for sporting bodies to work together to develop a supportive environment for Australian children.

“We are excited to be partnering with Australia’s key participation sports to develop the Sporting Schools programme,” Mr Hollingsworth said.

“From tennis to bowls, athletics to cricket, we are committed to providing an environment for Australian school children to get involved in sport based activity before, during and after school.”

Tennis Australia revealed its Sporting Schools application, which Participation Director Craig Morris said would facilitate a fun environment for teachers and coaches to arrange tennis competitions in schools.

“At Tennis Australia, we see technology as a key enabler of new participation strategies. Our research shows that parents and teachers struggle for inspiration to arrange sporting competitions in schools. This new app, or platform, will support schools to plan and manage competitions and bring the fun back into school tennis,” Mr Morris said.

Sporting Schools pilot programmes involving 12 sports will be rolled out over the next six months, with the programme to include more than 30 sports in total from July 2015.

Tennis Australia’s new app will be made to all schools as part of the Sporting Schools programme once the current pilot is complete.

More information on sporting schools will be made available via this link.