“Exercise not only changes your body, it changes your mind, your attitude and your mood.”
“I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Subject Leader: Mrs Jane Kirby
Physical Education is a central part of the curriculum at Abbeyfields. We encourage all of our children to be physically active and to develop positive habits, which support their health, fitness and mental health and well-being.
Teaching children to remain healthy and safe is an integral part of our curriculum. We understand that sport and physical activities support development not only of the working memory, but they build character, help to embed values such as fairness and respect and develop positive mental well-being.
Scientific research shows that there are explicit links to being physically active and having positive mental health which is why at Abbeyfields, we value both areas as of equal importance to a child’s development. As a school, we aim for pupils to learn about these two areas so that they continue to be healthy and active in later life. The links between physical and mental health support the development of greater self-esteem, self-control, and the ability to rise to a challenge through developing resilience. This work starts during a children’s early development in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
Our school grounds are fundamental for developing fitness and having fun. From the beginning of their school journey at Abbeyfields, the children are actively learning both indoors and outside; physical activity is encouraged wherever possible. In the EYFS outdoor area, the children have access to climbing equipment, a large construction area, a mud kitchen, large sand and water play and space to play games.
Lessons are planned so that children develop an understanding of the importance of health and fitness whilst they acquire and develop key skills. Children are taught to evaluate and improve their performance and are encouraged to use their collaborative and leadership skills.
Competition and collaboration are promoted and are part of our school ethos, which in turn supports the development of independence, pride, belonging and the establishment of good relationships. Children are given ample opportunities throughout the year to compete both within school, against other schools in the locality and across the wider Morpeth Partnership of schools.
The impact of our clearly structured progressive physical education curriculum shows pupils are becoming increasingly confident with developing resilience and applying their knowledge and skills.
How is the content chosen?
At Abbeyfields we follow the National Curriculum for Physical Education and ensure a clear sequenced progression, which is taught systematically so that all pupils acquire the intended knowledge and skills alongside associated vocabulary as they move through the school. The content may be adapted or changed, based upon the needs or interests of specific cohorts or links to up and coming sporting competitions. We complement this through our use of the Cambridge PE scheme of work.
How is the subject taught?
The teaching of P.E lessons is protected time each week. Children across school from Year 1 to Year 4 receive two hours of discrete P.E teaching each week; some of this is taught by our specialist teacher who is on-site for one day a week.
Our PE subject leader has regular contact with all members of staff to ensure they are following the Abbeyfields ‘ PE progression of skills document’, to ensure skills are taught at the appropriate stage for each child.
In Key Stage 1, the children will cover the four main areas in the National Curriculum:
In Key Stage 2, the children will also cover these four strands, but in addition they will be taught:
- Outdoor and Adventurous Activities
Children across the school are also given opportunities to take part in additional activities delivered by non-staff members, such as football skills and yoga. We choose a group of Year 4 children who form our School Sport Organising Crew and attend a School Games Leadership day.
This gives them training and ideas to take back to school where they can:
- Contribute to decisions about sporting activities and sports competition in their school.
- Engage in aspects of school life outside timetabled lessons.
- Air views and have opinions listened to.
- Influence and shape school sport for their peers.
- Assist in the development and planning of ‘their’ School Games programme of activities — based on student voice and need.
- Organise intra-school competitions within their school.
- Be valued and seen as an integral part of the workforce.
This is a fantastic opportunity for some of our children to learn leadership skills and build on their confidence.
Our children take part in daily bursts of physical activity including the ‘Daily Mile’ and GoNoodle activity breaks. Lessons are as active as we can make them and taken outdoors whenever practical. We have extensive grounds at Abbeyfields and, with the addition of our new Outdoor Education Centre, staff utilise these as much as possible. During unstructured times such as break time and lunch time, pupils are encouraged to stay active. There are varied opportunities provided for our children after school, so that children can attend a range of active after school clubs e.g. football, gymnastics.
How do we teach PE in the Early Years?
At Abbeyfields we expect our children to develop a specific set of skills and knowledge appropriate to their age. The children in EYFS are working towards the Early Learning Goals for Physical Development (Gross Motor). We teach the children the relevant skills to reach these goals, but also a step further to prepare them for Key Stage 1. Nursery and Reception children receive one taught PE lesson each week. This is taught by their class teacher, using our carefully planned curriculum to ensure skills are taught progressively and that the children are ready for Key Stage 1. In addition to receiving a PE lesson each week, the children in EYFS are given the opportunity to continually practise and embed their gross motor skills through the areas of provision set up in the indoor and outdoor learning environments.
How do we know that our children are making progress?
Ongoing assessments of the children’s knowledge and skills is observed by the class teacher and our specialist PE teacher. At the end of a block of discrete teaching (or term) subject leaders gather an overview of children’s outcomes in each subject area. This is used to plan appropriate next steps for their future learning, as well as provide an overview of learning within a subject area across the whole school.
Our curriculum drivers are central to our curriculum. How do we promote reading, vocabulary acquisition, holistic education and diversity?
Children are taught about how to stay healthy and safe in all aspects of their lives. Themes from our curriculum ensure that this is often a lead focus for a topic. Healthy lifestyles permeate across the school day, from periods of spiritual mindfulness to extended physical activity and active learning. The mental health of our children is paramount and opportunities to support and promote ‘healthy minds’, as well as develop our understanding as a staff, are at the forefront of our health and well-being beliefs. Our children are given opportunities to develop their interest and creativity across the curriculum which in turn supports their mental well-being.
Through sport and P.E. our children are encouraged to build good relationships with their peers, work collaboratively and support one another. Children discuss their ideas using subject specific vocabulary, which is taught progressively throughout their time at Abbeyfields.
Children are taught the skills of resilience and perseverance, which prepare them for the challenges that they are given in school, as well as the wider world. Children have access to high quality texts (fact and fiction) about key events, such as the Olympic/Paralympic and Commonwealth Games and the London Marathon, where they will look at the history of these events and become inspired by famous sports people from all backgrounds.
Children’s successes both in school and out of school are celebrated and they develop a sense of pride in their achievements.
What wider opportunities are provided for our children?
Children participate in regular internal and external sports competitions. They experience a range of different sport and physical activities through the use of specialist coaches in school. We invite others into school to offer taster sessions and encourage out of school participation in sport e.g. Judo.
We invite sporting athletes into school to inspire the next generation and regularly participate in National events such as the Mini London Marathon for Schools and the annual Santa Dash. We invite families to become involved in events including The Children’s Cancer Run. We learn about international events such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games; their history, different sports and some famous people.
Extra-curricular clubs throughout the year always include sports and physical activities. These include a running club, Little Movers for our younger children and tennis and Futsall for our older children. Children and carers are signposted to clubs, lessons and events in the wider community and their achievements from these are celebrated in each class.