Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.
John F Kennedy
Sport represents the best school of life by teaching young people the skills and values they need to be good citizens.
Adolf Ogi Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace
What is Physical Education?
Physical Activity is a broad term referring to all bodily movement that uses energy. It includes all forms of physical education, sports and dance activities. However, it is wider than this, as it also includes indoor and outdoor play, work-related activity, outdoor and adventurous activities, active travel (e.g. walking, cycling, rollerblading, scooting) and routine, habitual activities such as using the stairs, doing housework and gardening.
Physical Education is the planned, progressive learning that takes place in school curriculum timetabled time and which is delivered to all pupils. This involves both ‘learning to move’ (i.e. becoming more physically competent) and ‘moving to learn’ (e.g. learning through movement, a range of skills and understandings beyond physical activity, such as co-operating with others). The context for the learning is physical activity, with children experiencing a broad range of activities, including sport and dance.
Why do we study Physical Education?
Physical Education (PE) improves motor skills and increases muscle strength and bone density, which in turn makes students more likely to engage in healthy activity outside of school. It educates children about the positive benefits of exercise and allows them to understand how good it can make them feel. Participating in PE puts children on track to make regular exercise a habit – one that can combat obesity and reduce the likelihood of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. It also helps to maintain their brain and mental health. By making exercise ‘normal’ from an early age, this becomes engrained in them throughout their lives.
Physical education motivates children to expand their skills, as grasping the fundamentals of one sport makes it easier to master the rules of another. Regular exercise reduces stress and anxiety, contributing to healthy sleep patterns, which in turn lead to better mental health, immune system functioning and overall well-being.
Physical education that begins in early childhood demonstrates the value of co-operation and being part of a team gives them a sense of identity. Discipline is essential for sport and this can be both mental and physical. In sport, children need to follow rules and take instruction from their coaches. Sometimes they must accept decisions that they may not agree with. This teaches children an important life skill that will help them throughout their life and careers.
The National Curriculum states:
A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically-demanding activities. It should provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect.
Through their participation and study of the Physical Education curriculum, we intend that pupils will:
1 Become physically fit and understand the importance of exercise for their body and mental health
We intend that, through regular participation in physical activity, pupils will develop strong muscles, bones and cardiovascular health. We want pupils to experience the benefits of restful sleep, positive mood, increased energy and self-confidence, which are associated with exercise.
2. Learn wide-ranging physical skills and the fundamentals, tactics and strategies of some individual sports
By mastering fundamental movement skills, pupils will find it easier to learn fundamental sport skills. The combination of these two types of skills forms the basis of physical literacy (this includes - play, physical activity, PE, sport, active learning) helping to build more confident sportspeople.
3. Gain knowledge beyond their experience
Many pupils will have the opportunity to participate in some, specific physical activities and sports in their family and community groups. Through our curriculum, we intend to provide pupils with the opportunity to explore a range of sports and activities that they may not otherwise know about or have considered. We aim to broaden their experience and open new possibilities.
4. Acquire technical vocabulary and use it accurately
Mastery of specific vocabulary in Physical Education supports pupils in gaining an understanding of the code of a sport and therefore enables them to work more effectively with coaches and team mates.
5. Demonstrate attitudes of fair play and teamwork
A sense of fair play and strong teamwork are essential for successful involvement in sport. They support the development of tolerance, respect, integrity and care. Demonstrating fair play and teamwork create a sense of hope, pride and identity.
6. Become inspired to succeed and excel in sports and physical activities.
We intend that pupils experience the enjoyment of physical activity through participation and competition. The promotion of excellence encourages discipline and perseverance, which can lead to high standards of achievement. Learning to both win and lose well – managing excitement and disappointment are important steps in pupils’ personal and social development.
Through the study of and participation in physical activity and sports, Opossum values are realised.
Being respectful - demonstrating consideration for others and the equipment and materials they use in lessons
Being aspirational – holding an expectation that all pupils can participate and achieve in physical and sporting activities.
Being caring – Developing the ‘whole child’ – social me, healthy me, thinking me, physical me
Having integrity – Following the rules of sports and games and demonstrating fair play towards team mates and opponents
Being creative – innovating in exercise, games and dance activities, using the technical skills acquired during lessons
Being community minded –recognising the role that sporting activities can have in bonding communities. Demonstrating positive support for teams.
Scope and sequence
The Opossum Physical Education curriculum fulfils and exceeds the requirements of the National curriculum.
Development Matters 2021 states:
Physical activity is vital in children’s all round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives.
By creating games and providing opportunities to play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility.
3-4 year olds
- Continue to develop their movement, balancing, riding and ball skills
- Go up steps and stairs, or climb up apparatus, using alternate feet.
- Skip, hop, stand on one leg and hold a pose
- Use large-muscle movements to wave flags and streamers, paint and make marks
- Start taking part in some group activities which they make up for themselves or in teams
- Increasingly be able to use and remember sequences and patterns of movements which are related to music and rhythm.
- Match their physical skills to tasks and activities in the setting e.g. decide whether to crawl, walk or run across a plank
- Revise and refine the fundamental movement skills that they have already acquired:
- Progress towards a more fluent style of moving, with developing control and grace.
- Develop the overall body strength, co-ordination, balance and agility needed to engage successfully with future physical education session and other physical disciplines including dance, gymnastics, sport and swimming.
- Use core muscle strength to achieve a good posture when sitting at a table or on the floor
- Combine different movements with ease and fluency
- Confidently use a range of large and small apparatus
- Further develop and refine a large range of ball skills including: throwing, catching, kicking, passing, batting and aiming.
- Develop confidence, competence, precision and accuracy when engaging in activities that involve a ball
Pupils should develop fundamental movement skills, become increasingly competent and confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their agility, balance and coordination, individually and with others. They should be able to engage in competitive (both against self and against others) and co-operative physical activities, in a range of increasingly challenging situations.
The National curriculum states-
Pupils should be taught to:
- master basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination, and begin to apply these in a range of activities
- participate in team games, developing simple tactics for attacking and defending
- perform dances using simple movement patterns.
The Opossum curriculum offers:
Introduction to Invasion Games: Basketball/ Football/ Tag Rugby/ Hockey/ Dodgeball
Introduction to Gymnastics/Dance
Introduction to Athletics
Introduction to Strike and Field Games
Introduction to Net/Wall Games
Pupils should continue to apply and develop a broader range of skills, learning how to use them in different ways and to link them to make actions and sequences of movement. They should enjoy communicating, collaborating and competing with each other. They should develop an understanding of how to improve in different physical activities and sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success
The National curriculum states-
Pupils should be taught to:
- use running, jumping, throwing and catching in isolation and in combination
- play competitive games, modified where appropriate [for example, badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball, rounders and tennis], and apply basic principles suitable for attacking and defending
- develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance [for example, through athletics and gymnastics]
- perform dances using a range of movement patterns
- take part in outdoor and adventurous activity challenges both individually and within a team
- compare their performances with previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best
The Opossum curriculum offers:
Strike and Field Games
Net and Wall games
Tennis/Table Tennis/ Badminton / Volleyball
In addition to discrete PE lessons, pupils have a range of opportunities to participate in physical activity during and outside of the school day. Classes take part in the Daily Mile fitness activity, enjoy ‘active playtimes’, some have scheduled dance/yoga activities at lunch time. Outside school hours, pupils are invited to register for sporting clubs, such as football and multi sports clubs. Teams enter competitions and strive to place well in inter school events. Interventions, such as Change4Life, are implemented to support pupils to make positive and healthy life choices.