House of Lords National Plan for Sport and Recreation Committee – Roundtable
June 16 2021: 1600 – 1800
Terry Graves MEd (Cantab), BSc (Hons), PGCE, QTS
A Physical Education practitioner for over forty years and counting; covering a myriad of roles including: PE teacher, Leader of PE (34 years), PE Associate Adviser (Hertfordshire), Assistant Headteacher - Greneway School, Royston (20 years), School Sports Coordinator and currently a PE consultant for the Association for PE (afPE) on the Sport England Teacher Training Programme and afPE Quality Mark Validator.
Also still an active player/coach/referee for football and basketball (including coaching in my community for over 25 years).
Thank you for the opportunity to provide further formal evidence regarding how community sport can enhance and enrich the physical education, school sport and physical activity (PESSPA) offer, and how PESSPA can support participation in sport and physical activity within the community.
Q1. What are the main challenges you face when delivering PE to pupils?
*Ofsted/afPE Quality Mark standards
Q2. Is the curriculum for PE fit for purpose and how could it be improved?
Q3. How would you describe your relationship with local sports clubs, external providers and coaches, and parents?
As stated earlier, building, developing and nurturing positive relationships are vital in learning communities. We pride ourselves in Royston, a small rural town on the Hertfordshire/Cambridgeshire border with limited sporting facilities, on developing mutually beneficial partnerships with:
● Our Local Sports clubs:
○ We worked tirelessly in establishing, developing and nurturing positive relationships with our local community clubs who shared the same values and ethos as us i.e. inclusive, equitable, enjoyable ,sustainable, supportive
○ All school-linked clubs signed formalised agreements which were annually reviewed
○ The school facilities were used by the local community sports clubs at very low costs
○ Club coaches often supported the school’s extra-curricular activities where appropriate
○ PE teachers (NGB Qualified coaches) supported some of the linked clubs e.g. basketball
○ NGB CPD programmes are aligned/shared e.g. Saracens Coaching seminars, basketball coaching and officiating courses
● Our External Providers:
Because of our geographical isolation we had to make the school a sporting centre or hub for our community and have developed beneficial partnerships with:
○ Club coaches often supported the school’s extra-curricular activities where appropriate
○ PE teachers (NGB Qualified coaches) support some of the linked clubs e.g. basketball
○ NGB CPD programmes are aligned/shared e.g. Saracens Coaching seminars
○ Local feeder schools use our expertise to upskill their inexperienced teaching staff to teach NC PE - coaches were not used in Royston for curricular PE
○ Communication with our parents/carers has always been a key driver for our PESSPA programmes and forums used have included:
■ Information sharing evenings
■ Website updates
■ Twitter accounts
■ PE Parent governor
■ Local press
■ Parental volunteering – officiating, tours, visits, clubs
Q4. The Committee has heard that secondary school is a key ‘drop off’ point when many pupils lose interest in PE and sport. Do you see that in your own school and how can this be tackled?
Not in our experience in fact, most learners view the KS2/3 transition as the next step in their exciting journey to being physically literate and opening more doors for lifelong physical activity and learning in, and through, the physical.
The key to ensuring that KS2/3 transition is an exciting positive step and not a dip is the transition process built on continuity, progression and engagement in the PE curriculum continuum. Part of the process includes:
● A relevant, engaging and enjoyable PE curriculum continuum KS1 – 5 involving collaboration between all schools
● Establishing and developing relationships with pupils through:
○ Festivals at the school run by our Sports Leaders
○ Visits to feeder schools to see the pupils in action and talk with them
○ Taster days (Year 6)
○ Transition period
○ Accurate and relevant assessments of where the pupils are at upon transition so that learning continues to be built upon.
Q5. Do you think there are sufficient opportunities and support for training and Continuing Professional Development for PE teachers?
● I believe that there still needs to be more in Primary PE including schools enabling more Primary Pre-Service teachers (PPST) to have as many PE experiences on placement as possible
● Also for Secondary PE Teachers, Sport England are currently in Phase 6 of their Secondary Teacher Training Programme which uses PE Advisers/Consultants from afPE and Youth Sport Trust (YST) to advise and support PE Leaders in schools to ‘access funded CPD and put pupil’s enjoyment at the heart of PE and School Sport’:
● The impact in the first phases has been significant:
○ Greater awareness of the benefits of PE, school sport and activity, with whole staff cohorts leading delivery and recognising the positive impact physical activity has on students' behaviour and academic performance.
○ Increased staff competence and confidence through whole school continuing professional development (CPD) and upskilling of staff.
○ Changes in practice, including collaboration within and between schools, and more student-focused approaches.
○ Better quality PE, school sport and physical activity delivery, achieved through more variety, greater focus on wellbeing and supporting disengaged students.
○ A tool for whole-school improvement by focusing on health, wellbeing, knowledge and life skills.
○ PE, school sport and physical activity higher up the agenda through senior leadership team (SLT) engagement and support for curriculum changes.
○ Enhancing student wellbeing through improved awareness, staff training and developing role models.
Hot off the press, afPE and Sports Leaders UK have teamed up to create and deliver during the Pandemic the remarkably apposite course:
Q.6 What could Government do to support and improve PE in schools?
● Fully understand and value PESSPA with ONE key action: Elevate PE to being a core subject within the NC because…
“...(PE) is the only subject whose primary focus is on the body and, in this respect, it uniquely addresses the physical development aim of the curriculum and it also makes a significant contribution to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of children…” (Dr Jo Harris, 2018)
● PE already has statutory programmes of study and attainment targets for physical education at key stages 1 to 4. “They are issued by law; you must follow them unless there’s a good reason not to.”
programmes-of-study Therefore, the leap to core subject status would be a small step!
○ “…In addition, (PE) develops an interest in, and patterns of, physical activity which are essential for healthy development and lay the foundations for active lifestyles.
○ This is increasingly important given growing concerns about children’s health (e.g. over 75% of children do not meet physical activity for health guidelines; 20% of children experience mental health problems; and 1 in 5 secondary age children are obese)…
○ (The Covid-19 Pandemic has exacerbated this)…
○ …Making PE a core subject in the NC would stimulate significant health and educational attainment benefits, lead to improved physical, mental and personal well-being of children, develop essential life skills and contribute to whole school improvements.
○ It would also ensure that physical competence is valued as much as reading, writing and arithmetic, and that well qualified specialist teachers are employed to teach physical education in primary and secondary schools.
○ High quality PE in schools can also reduce the health burden of physical inactivity and contribute to the economic prosperity of the country.
○ Elevating PE to core subject status would build on the 2012 legacy in a sustainable way by potentially reaching all children in the country and it would demonstrate a genuine commitment by government to addressing significant, systemic health issues amongst children…” (Dr Jo Harris, 2018)
● Consequently, until the current deficit model in schools, and in society, of PE being only a foundation subject, is transformed then the system from Higher education recruitment and training, producing new PE teachers for our schools and beyond, will continue to undersell the true power of PE and it’s delivery in our communities. The result being that the truly transformative impact of PESSPA will never be fully realised in every school.
● PE is Powerful Education – learning in, and through, the physical is unique.
Some other shorter term solutions that can be done:
● Primary PE and Sport Premium funding and it’s spending must be more rigorously scrutinised in schools with the focus on ‘Upskilling’ QTS teachers to teach their own PE and become specialist PE teachers.
● Continue to fund high quality, kite-marked PE CPD projects like the Sport England Secondary Teacher Training Programme enabling PE practitioners to continually ‘upskill’ to enable PE programmes to be inclusive, fresh, relevant and enjoyable which fully engage everyone and ensure lifelong application.
● Reduce the overly saturated Primary curriculum to enable more PESSPA to take place in a physically active curriculum
● Physically active learning is a key asset in contributing towards children’s health and wellbeing and should be a focus for the whole school community to make it an integral part of the school day.
● In Primary school enabling every child play to have a 15 minute outdoor break to play every hour of the school day (Finland) https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/apr23/let-children-play-the-educational=message-from-across-europe
● Enable all primary age children regular, subsidised access to swimming pools - The Impact of Coronavirus on School Swimming and Water Safety report reveals that 1,186,555 pupils are expected to leave primary school between 2021-22 and 2025-26 unable to swim 25 metres unaided. https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/impact-coronavirus-school-swimming-report/# These are truly shocking statistics and need to be rectified now.
● ITE to provide additional experiences to core movement skills - swimming, gymnastics and dance
● Ensure that the delivery of Primary PE is the domain of a teacher with QTS as specified by the APPG Physical Education (2016) Report https://royalpa.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/pereportfinal.pdf
Some thoughts from a passionate Physical Education practitioner for 41 years and counting …
16 June 2021