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Transforming lives through netball

The Diamond Spirit Educate program uses netball as a vehicle to empower and educate Indigenous girls in remote and regional communities (Credit: Netball Queensland).

​Improved confidence, comradery, health and education outcomes – the girls at Cairns State High School and Bremer State High School have been shooting goals lately, literally and figuratively, and it's all because of their involvement in a holistic education program centred around netball.

Netball Queensland's Diamond Spirit Educate program has empowered and engaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female students in Years 7–12 since 2018.

The program framework is unique as it weaves netball into the school's formal curriculum, and uses rewarding extra-curricular activities and incentives to excite and engage students.

Teachers Erin Byrnes and Amanda Black are delivering the Diamond Spirit Educate program in Bremer and Cairns State High Schools respectively.

Mrs Byrnes said the program has been designed to offer participation and education pathways for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls living in regional and remote communities.

"It's really exciting to be part of a program that uses netball as a vehicle to support our girls in their learning journey," she said.

"Not only do we want our girls to have fun playing the sport and feel proud of their achievements, but we're ultimately working towards improved school attendance and Year 12 attainment."

Ms Black said the integration of extra-curricular activities and incentives help to keep students on track to reach their education goals.

"Through the Diamond Spirit Educate program, we offer weekly netball and fitness classes and lunchtime health clubs as an opportunity for additional mentoring and guidance," she said.

"Another way we encourage school attendance is by incentivising leadership camps and excursions – so every time our Diamond girls show up to class, they know they're working towards an exciting end goal, like playing netball with the Firebirds."

Netball Queensland CEO Catherine Clark said the program has already shown positive outcomes for participating students.

"Our first year of Diamond Spirit has been incredibly successful at Cairns and Bremer State High Schools, with students showing improved attendance rates and taking on exciting leadership opportunities," she said.

"We are so passionate about supporting improved participation, education, health and leadership outcomes, and are excited to see these young girls continue to thrive, both on and off the court."

For more information about the Diamond Spirit Educate program, visit Netball Queensland and Cairns State High School.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) ( )
Last updated
10 June 2019