At Eastry Primary School, we see physical education as an essential part of children’s educational development. For us, physical education should be completely inclusive regardless of ability, experience or background. Of course, all children are encouraged to do their best, to meet their full potential and we hope to achieve excellence across various sports. However, to us here at Eastry, physical education is about so much more than winning medals and coming first. Getting our bodies moving not only has a direct positive impact on our physical health, but in the current climate, the effect on our mental health cannot be underestimated. It is so important that we give children strategies to deal with their emotions and feelings, positive and negative, especially considering all they have been through in recent times. PE should be something that all children feel they can access, at a level that motivates, interests and inspires them to feel better and want to do better.
‘Growing side by side in God’s love’ does not mean that all children will grow the same way, in the same direction and at the same pace. Rather that they make progress from their own individual starting points, academically as well as emotionally, spiritually and physically. At Eastry, we aim to celebrate children’s differences and cherish their own individual achievements collectively. The children will all be capable of different things, but sharing their successes and understanding the importance of their individual triumphs is what makes Eastry special. The children show respect and compassion during PE lessons, understanding that we all have strengths in different areas.
At Eastry, we aim to provide the children with 2 active, fun, varied and interesting PE lessons a week, in a variety of sports. Elite sports are involved in the planning and delivery of some of these lessons, aiming to upskill, motivate and inspire our children as well as our teachers. Our physical education curriculum aims to teach a variety of sports through a spiral curriculum, whereby sports are revisited and skills built upon as the children move through the school.
Children are taught from Fledglings to Year 6 about how to make healthy choices when it comes to diet, lifestyle, safety and physical activity, and we hope that teaching this in an inspiring way, based on experiences, creates a long lasting impression on our children. We want nothing more than for them to grow into happy, healthy adults, that have a variety of strategies at their disposable to help them when they need support. We hope that through our exciting lessons about physical activity that children may develop a love or passion for particular sport, or at least understand the importance of keeping our bodies and minds stimulated.
It is really important for us here that we create children that can win events and competitions with excellent sportsmanship, and that when things don’t go their way, display grace and respect for themselves and their competitors.
In early years, the focus is largely on children’s physical development; their fine and gross motor skills, their movements on and off obstacles, how they negotiate space and how they use tools. A large focus of physical development in early years is also on children’s health and selfcare – children are taught to keep themselves safe, to manage their own risk, to dress themselves, to manage their basic needs independently and about the importance of keeping their bodies healthy.
Key Stage 1:
In Key Stage 1, children begin their more formal PE lessons. Lessons are twice weekly and teachers aim to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding, so that they can perform with increasing competence and confidence in a range of physical activities. These include dance, games, gymnastics, swimming and water safety and athletics. These aspects of physical education may be first visited in Key Stage 1, but are revisited in Key Stage 2.
Key Stage 2:
In Key Stage 2, children are often revisiting sports or aspects of physical education they have practiced before. This spiral curriculum approach focuses on teaching key concepts to students at a young age, then covering them repeatedly, year on year with increasing complexity and difficulty, increasing children’s knowledge and skills.
For example, children in Year 1 dance lessons by the end of the term will be expected to perform simple movement patterns individually and as part of a group. By Year 6, the skills teachers would expect to see by the end of a unit would include comparing and adapting movements to create a longer sequence, perform movement patterns with fluency, ensuring movement flows with linked movements and using complex dance vocabulary to compare, review and improve work.
Formative assessment occurs throughout each PE lesson. During the terms PE lessons are taught by Elite, teachers are provided with an opportunity to observe children’s learning closely, providing time to carefully assess each child and think about next steps to move their learning forwards. Next steps are provided verbally and subsequent learning planned in accordance to what has been observed.
On our school site we have an ‘Active Mile’ running track, which allows the children active ‘brain breaks’ or to enjoy some walking, jogging or running during the school day – no matter the weather! We have lots of outdoor space for cricket, rounders and tennis in the summer or football, rugby, hockey, basketball or netball in the winter. Our hall is large and spacious and we benefit from wall bars and a variety of gymnastics and obstacle equipment.
Children leave Eastry Primary School with the view that physical education is something that everyone can do. We aspire for children to continue developing at a sport that interests them, at a level that inspires and motivates. We aim for our children to use the skills and techniques learned here to go on and master their particular passions. However, most importantly, we hope that children can use sport as a life long aid, to keep their minds, as well as their bodies, healthy and happy.