Sports council helps teachers to hop to it

20th February 2009 at 00:00
Nursery and primary staff taught how to hop, leapfrog and run like athletes

Nursery and primary staff will be taught how to hop, leapfrog and run like athletes as part of a plan to raise the game in PE in the play-led foundation phase for under-sevens.

As TES Cymru reported last week, the Sports Council for Wales is developing new resources for staff to help pupils master techniques while they are young, a key part of the "learning through play" curriculum.

Ann Hamilton, of the Sports Council, explained what teachers could expect from the training and how the skills could stop pupils being teased for "running like a girl" in the future.

"Teachers were not sure how to identify what children were doing wrong in activities such as running and how to correct it," she said. "We looked at what a child needs to know and in what order. They have to be able to walk before they can run, and hop before they can skip."

The council is developing resources through a nationwide programme. Co- ordinators, funded by the Assembly government, work with clusters of schools.

In reviews of the scheme, Estyn found it had helped non-specialist primary staff to become more confident with PE, but this is the first time the sports council has worked with nurseries and people so young.

"It's very easy as an adult to assume everyone can run," said Ms Hamilton. "But it doesn't just happen. If a child gets a good play-led education, they will do all these sorts of things without realising. But if a child misses out on them, it can have lasting consequences."

New resources include skills cards for teachers and pupils, as well as games and storybooks. And staff will be encouraged to use dynamic stories to get pupils moving.

"Boys love it, but it's also creative, so it's attractive to girls too," Ms Hamilton said.

She said the project would particularly benefit girls. "If you don't learn to run properly when you are young, you are more likely to be embarrassed later and to stop being interested in sport," she said.

The council also plans to look at how the resources can help pupils with special educational needs.

Special flair for PE

Teachers in special schools are the best at PE, says a new Estyn report. It found pupils with SEN lived up to high expectations from "very skilled" staff, and the chance to do extra-curricular and outdoor work helped them become more confident. But the report found teachers needed more help to engage pupils with specific learning difficulties and disabilities in sport.

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