From the archive - 08.01.1988

31st August 2012 at 01:00

The head who feels guilty about games

Like many heads, I suffer pangs of guilt at my inability to reconcile the various pressures at work on primary school sport. Should we be teaching a graded series of ball skills: dribbling round cones, passing, shooting, hitting and catching? And, if so, ought I really to expect this from every teacher who takes games?

I cannot find it in my heart to grumble when I see Mr X enjoying an apparently uneducational game of rounders with his class. What is a games lesson for anyway? It certainly has little to do with getting fit - the very last way of getting a child fit is to set him or her once a week to an activity with lots of pauses for instruction.

Are there social aims and, if so, are they of a kind that cannot be achieved in other curriculum areas? Is it all connected with the laying of foundations for future national sports glory?

And what of my team fixtures? I see a colleague on the phone trying to fix up a series of inter-school matches before the evenings grow too dark. I see him later coming off the field in the freezing murky twilight and I wonder exactly what, in educational terms, is going on.

Mr X with his rounders match may cause the PE adviser to have the vapours. He may well, however, be teaching a whole set of values: that Jimmy, for instance, who never hits straight, is not to be jeered but helped.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today