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PE teaching no walk in the park

I was rather disappointed to see PE teachers get yet another bashing, this time from your columnist Ms Anne Thrope (TES Magazine, June 11). Contrary to popular belief, being a PE teacher is not easy. Far from it.

Why? Perhaps because it is the hardest subject to teach on the basis it covers more disciplines than any other subject. It involves biology, biomechanics, physics, energy systems, chemistry, psychology, nutrition, physiology, health and business to name but a few aspects.

Then there is not only having to know the rules of a vast multitude of sports, but also how to coach them - from beginners to near enough elite. To do this progressively in a fun and engaging manner can be complex. PE teachers do not stand there in a tracksuit for 90 minutes and give the kids a ball to play with, despite what Ms Thrope thinks.

Yes the summer term is great if the weather is good and sports day looks a doddle. But taking a group of "Kevin and Perry" teenagers through the mud and cold of winter for rugby, cross country or football is not always fun. Classrooms are permanently warm and dry, the sports pitches frequently are not.

The days of Brian Glover in the film Kes are long, long gone. Thankfully PE has developed enormously since then.

Good luck to Ms Thorpe in her next life ventures as a PE teacher. It certainly takes more than just a whistle.

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