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All Ages

PE lessons can be a nightmare for any teacher faced with the repercussions of a lost shoe, misplaced pair of school trousers or, even more worryingly, a stolen pair of underpants.

How many minutes, hours and days are spent in lost property boxes while staff bemoan the lack of a name label in a particular item of school clothing that has gone missing or "been taken"?

Pupils, often in a rush to begin a PE lesson, will carelessly throw their uniform down on a bench or sometimes in the vague direction of a hook in the hope that the same items will be there at the end of the lesson.

To train our charges to undress properly requires a system that reduces lost items and saves distress and discomfort - and that is just for the teacher.

The method is quite simple, yet effective, and is as follows: school coat is hung on the allocated hook or peg as the coat is generally the largest item of clothing; school shoes are removed and placed in a pair under the bench; socks come off and are placed inside school shoes; school tie is also rolled up and placed inside the trouser pocket (not hung over the peg).

School jumper or sweat shirt is placed on the peg on top of the coat. If there is little space above the coat, neatly roll and place inside the arm of the coat. School shirt is removed and placed on top of the coat and finally underwear can be placed in the pocket of the school coat.

The principles are that each item is neatly placed and that the child works in reverse order at the end of the lesson with the last items taken off being the first items to be put back on.

It is of course blindingly simple, obvious and easy and yet how many of us actually train our pupils to undress in a systematic way?

Do not assume that pupils will know how to do this; they have to be shown how to do it and you have to train them.

If it saves time, helps pupils to be organised and allows for a quicker start and finish to PE, then it is well worth doing Chris Conway is assistant headteacher at Archbishop Grimshaw School in Solihull, West Midlands

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