A new mindset is needed in PE

12th August 2016 at 01:00
Teachers adapting to updated content and assessment requirements should interrogate their own practice

Physical Education is high on the agenda as the nation battles obesity, and it has become an increasingly popular option among students, too: the number taking PE at GCSE rose in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

That attention and popularity also puts PE under more scrutiny, which comes at time of significant change in the subject.

The upcoming academic year will, therefore, be an interesting one for teachers. TES has teamed up with the Association for Physical Education to offer some support and insight into what to expect.

What you need to consider in the next 12 months

Assessment is a key driver to ensure mastery learning and it should therefore be central to planning. As such, it is obvious that planning for PE lessons cannot be based around one skill per week. This has major implications for teaching: we have to create authentic contexts for performance that are holistic and interrelated.

Teachers should not adopt “I can” statements to tick off. Rather, they should construct an idea and judge over time whether pupils have attained the expected standard. “I can” statements create a superficial approach to learning and progress, and a layer of administration that is not required, especially at a time when teachers are struggling with workload.

Other strategic questions for those in charge of PE in schools include:

Can we ensure that the PE curriculum is all-through and builds progressively from the early years through to post-16?

Are we preparing young people to understand the principles and processes of physical activity? Are the questions we ask routine or challenging? Do they support pupils’ knowledge of how the body works and how they can improve their physical competency?

Are we preparing our young people through carefully planned PE to cope with anxiety and stress and therefore improving their emotional wellbeing?

Are we providing a diverse and balanced diet of activity that suits their individual needs so they can succeed and flourish?

Is the PE curriculum we are providing fit for purpose? Do we take account of social change? How well do we provide quality routes from school PE and sport to clubs?

Tips and strategies for the year ahead

Question your teaching

Ask yourself: “What is the learning purpose of what I am doing?” If you cannot justify certain practices, why are you using them? Plan in terms of learners and their learning rather than content and coverage – there are no activity areas in PE any more. Understand mastery learning and how it can be constructed through various contexts

Less is more

Most paperwork around assessment is not required. Even Ofsted has produced videos to inform the profession that they do not expect to see data spreadsheets.

Focus on more than just skills

Frame learning around the thinking physical being, the feeling physical being and the doing physical being (head, heart, hands). In this way, teaching and learning are seen as holistic and not just skill performance.

Be wary of salespeople…

Be discerning about commercial products and whether they are fit for purpose. Tracking systems are not assessment systems.

…and spend money wisely

In primary, the PE and sport premium can be spent on professional learning in order to close gaps in teacher knowledge and in turn boost pupil learning.

Sue Wilkinson is strategic lead and director of the professional support unit at the Association for Physical Education

PE: changes for 2016-17

This year, new content and assessment requirements for GCSE, GCE AS- and A-level PE are being introduced.

New sports-related qualifications have been approved by the Department for Education for teaching to 14- to 16-year olds from September 2016, including:

NCFE level 2 Certificate in Health and Fitness (VRQ);

OCR level 1/2 Cambridge National Certificate in Sport Science;

OCR level 1/2 Cambridge National Certificate in Sport Studies.

An updated version of Keeping Children Safe in Education was released by the DfE in May. This guidance needs to be implemented in schools from 5 September.

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