Primary schools are focusing too much on games and neglecting aesthetic activities such as movement and dance in their teaching of PE, according to HMIE.
Where they teach dance well, it tends to be Scottish country dancing, says a report on primary PE published last week. Pupils do well at indoor and outdoor team games, but this is at the expense of other aspects of PE provision.
"Many pupils who may not have strengths in the games setting can become skilful performers in movement and dance. It is important, therefore, that pupils have the opportunity to develop their confidence and skills in these areas as part of a balanced and varied programme," said inspectors.
Many teachers did not plan PE lessons well enough to differentiate between children's abilities, according to the inspectors. "Most lessons were whole-class activities which did not always meet all learning needs," they said. "Higher achieving pupils were too often insufficiently challenged. Pupils with difficulties in their learning were not helped to achieve success by breaking down tasks, slowing down the speed of the activity, adapting equipment or the level and choice of task," said the report, Developing the four capacities through physical education: focusing on successful learners in primary schools.
Although there is an expectation that all primaries should provide two hours of PE a week, most did not yet provide all pupils with sufficient time each week for "high quality experiences", said the report. The time needed for changing into PE kit continued to eat into lesson time - and many schools did not have suitable changing facilities, leaving children to change in the classroom or toilets.
There was insufficient use of the outdoors and outdoor education and not enough use of ICT, such as digital photographs and video work to observe, analyse and improve performance. Only a few schools encouraged pupils to engage in "active homework" activities.
On the credit side, however, pupils were praised for their positive attitude to physical activity, their responsible attitudes to safe practice and consideration of others, and their understanding of how to keep fit and healthy. Inspectors said a key strength was pupils' ability to cope with winning and losing in competitive situations.