We are often celebrating sporting success at Gateway but in the last couple of weeks we have been reflecting on and developing the other half of our physical programme. The provision of Physical Education (PE) can take many forms and those like me who are in charge of departments must consider factors such as expertise, contact time and facilities when devising programmes. Often this leads teachers to revert back to their own childhood and use sports (often traditional ones) as the sole vehicle for teaching PE. In our sector we are lucky though, we have the curriculum time to provide both Sport and PE in almost equal measure. This has enabled us to create a specific PE programme that focuses on holistic development by creating physical problems that children are able to solve with their friends and on their own, just as they would in the classroom.
This week, we welcomed Danny Newcombe who is a master in environment design to help us reflect upon and improve our practice in PE. This type of professional development is something that I value highly and will undoubtedly improve the quality of our day to day provision. Danny and I then spoke to the rest of the teaching staff and delivered key messages on how they can support what we are trying to achieve and to emphasise that the purpose of PE is not simply to exercise our children but to educate them and equip them with the tools for lifelong participation in physical activity. Of course, exercise will inevitably occur during these times but PE should not be seen as a ‘runaround’ to ‘blow off steam’ for classroom lessons. In the same way that numeracy and literacy are preparing the children for life, the purpose of PE is to develop the skills, knowledge, confidence and motivation (physical literacy) to enable them to become more rounded individuals and to enjoy being active beyond their time in our care.