PE - Inspired by greatness

1st March 2013 at 00:00
A values programme keeps the Olympic legacy alive for pupils

The 2012 Olympics may seem like a distant memory but Games fever continues to inspire and motivate many pupils.

At Watford Grammar School for Girls, we have been running a programme for key stage 3 pupils that aims to get everyone to explore their character, ideals and values through a poster template and web-based resources. Called Inspire Aspire, it is based on Olympic and Paralympic values and has proved a powerful way to encourage pupils to examine their beliefs and goals.

Our pupils began by studying an athlete who inspired them, examining their motivation, major challenges and the key factors that helped them to succeed. They then reflected on their own motivations, ambitions and beliefs. After this, we asked pupils to explore a set of values in more depth, before choosing one value to focus on for their own self-improvement.

One pupil, for example, decided that one of her personal strengths was trust but that she needed to be more forgiving.

The project concludes with pupils producing posters on their findings. Gold, silver and bronze medals are then awarded for the best posters in regional ceremonies across the UK.

One of our Year 8 pupils chose to study American gymnast Kristen Maloney, and explained that she would incorporate the Olympian's values into her own life by becoming more "open-minded, understanding and forgiving".

Taking part in Inspire Aspire has produced some surprises. While many pupils chose athletes who competed in the 2012 Games, one pupil opted for track-and-field gold medallist Jesse Owens, the runaway star of the 1936 Berlin Games.

Another unexpected boon was watching pupils become more excited about taking part in PE and other extra-curricular activities. This enthusiasm has had an impact on other subjects, too. Geography teachers, for instance, have looked at Olympic and Paralympic values and the sustainability of the Games.

Last year, about 90 pupils on our gifted and talented register for PE participated in Inspire Aspire. This year we are expanding it to more pupils after incredibly positive feedback. The programme has also had a particular impact on less motivated pupils, whose attendance and performance has improved.

Samantha Mitchell is head of PE at Watford Grammar School for Girls. To sign up to the Inspire Aspire programme and receive the resources, visit

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