Support for non-specialists

10th October 2003 at 01:00
TOPS Sport. Youth Sport Trust Tel: 01509 226 600.

The Youth Sport Trust has launched a new, improved version of TOP Sport, which supports non-specialist primary teachers in delivering PE.

The resources are now closely linked to the requirements of Curriculum 2000 and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority PE schemes of work.

Cards for dance, gymnastics, outdoor activities and athletics will be released this term. The packs are colourfully presented and organised in line with the four national curriculum strands: acquiring and developing skills, selecting and applying skills; tactics and compositional ideas; evaluating and improving performance and knowledge, and understanding of fitness and health.

The cards and teachers' resources are no longer sport specific, but are based around families of sports, such as striking and fielding, net, wall and invasion games. Each card shows how children involved in a particular activity can acquire and develop skills, select and apply them, and evaluate and improve their performance.

Ideas that help to develop knowledge and understanding of health and fitness are given, along with suggestions of how to adapt each activity to other games within the genre and meet the needs of pupils with disabilities.

Andy Martin, who helped develop the pack, says: "The new resource is relevant to the needs of the modern teacher, but also based on familiar concepts already known to work well in primary schools."

One of the most useful aspects of the package are the ideas for differentiation contained within the STEP (Space, Task, Equipment, People) framework. Many suggestions are given to adapt either the "space" where the activity is happening, the "task" being performed, "equipment" used or the "people" involved.

Ros Shorrocks, PE co-ordinator at Turnfurlong Junior School in Aylesbury, echoes the thoughts of many non-specialist primary teachers: "Organising differentiation within PE lessons can be very difficult. Expert advice on how to do it will be extremely useful."

To get hold of packs schools have to attend a four-hour training course being run by LEAs around the country. Every teacher attending the workshop will be given a set of cards and a handbook.

Judy Dean, the national programme manager for TOPS, says the resources have been designed to tap into existing practice. "The key for us is that it is not the be all and end all of PE education. It is not a games scheme of work. It has been produced to support teachers with some new ideas," she says.

Not only does TOPS provide a framework for every teacher to teach PE in a serious and developmental way, it also provides detailed links to sports governing bodies, which encourages schools to work in partnership with specialist organisations.

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