Letters extra: PE teachers work just as hard as others

5th October 2001 at 01:00

We were sad to read of Mr Brooks' poor experiences regarding physical education lessons ( Friday , talkback, September 21).

Certainly his findings are not typical of our experience. Ofsted inspection evidence is supported by the findings of a QCA project on high quality PE ( www.qca.org.ukcasubjectspe ). This shows that where pupils are valued, challenged and supported, participation levels are very high.

PEAUK and BAAPLE (two professional associations for PE) acknowledge that not everynbsp;PE teacher is of the highest calibre, a situation reflected in all other subjects, and consequently we are always seeking ways of supporting colleagues as they strive to improve their teaching.

What he describes is far from being typical of teaching in PE. It is an insult to thousands of teachers who apply positively all the principles he caricatures so derogatively. To address his original question, the vast majority of PE teachers work just as hard as colleagues in other subjects.

Mr Brooks articulates a great deal of frustration about PE teachers from a professional and parental viewpoint. We feel that it is rather unfortunate that Mr Brooks as a deputy head should choose such a public arena to express his concerns.

His generalised condemnations do little to contribute to a professional debate; we repeat our offer to help him provide support for the PE department at his school. Similarly, we would welcome the opportunity to direct Mr Brooks to schools where he can observe good practice in action, this will hopefully restore his faith in PE.

Peter Whitlam
General secretary, British Association for Advisors amp; Lectures in Physical Education
John Matthews
Chief executive, Physical Education Association of the United Kingdom

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