Derby - Kung-fu kids kick-start PE

2nd October 2009 at 01:00

Don't mess with pupils from Pear Tree Junior. Children at the Derby primary are among the first in the country to receive martial arts classes as part of their PE curriculum.

Pupils from Year 3 on will learn karate, kick-boxing and jujitsu, interspersed with age-appropriate self-defence moves. But teachers insist that pupils will not be throwing each other over their shoulders, or karate-chopping in the playground, as there will be no physical combat during the lessons.

Maddie Oldershaw, Pear Tree's headteacher, said: "The classes are not just about physical activity, but also about self-discipline and respect, which is at the heart of martial arts."

The classes, she added, will be an extension of anti-bullying and "stranger danger" work, carried out during PSHE lessons. If the lessons prove popular this term, they will be extended for the rest of the year.

While many schools offer martial arts as an extra-curricular activity, it is unusual to include such lessons as part of the timetabled PE curriculum. Local martial arts instructor Ryan Lawson, who is delivering the lessons, believes that Pear Tree will be the first primary to offer such classes. AB.

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