PE, School Sport and Physical Activity
Why is PE part of the RFA curriculum?
At RFA, we believe that it is essential to teach our children how and why they should lead physically active lives; developing a love of movement and enjoyment of exercise at primary school is a vital starting point for children to maintain active, healthy habits all the way into adulthood. We want our children to understand and recognise the positive impact that exercise can have on both their physical and mental health and wellbeing. It is our responsibility to not only introduce children at RFA to a broad range of games, sports and physical activities, but to also develop the competence and confidence for them to excel in safe, efficient and intelligent movement. We recognise the close relationship between competence and confidence: the more competent children are in their movement, the more confident movers they become – and the more they will enjoy physical activity and be motivated to improve, thus continuing to build on their skills and effort.
The progressive curriculum that we deliver at RFA provides all children with the necessary skills for successful participation in physical activity of any kind and at any level of difficulty – at any point in their future lives.
We also recognise the many ways that PE strengthens essential personal and social skills such as communication, cooperation, respect, resilience and self-belief. At RFA, we want children to see exercise as something achievable and therefore enjoyable; we must equip them with the physical skills, knowledge and understanding, as well as the social and emotional tools, to feel successful in whatever activity they may participate in now and in the future: for RFA children to be life-skilled, lifelong active movers.
What is taught as part of the PE curriculum at RFA?
The National Curriculum for Physical Education informs our ambitious aims for PE at RFA. Children are taught to:
1. Lead a healthy and active life
2. Approach competition with confidence
3. Perform in a broad range of physical activities
4. Be resilient to challenges in physical activity, sport and wider life
5. Seek enjoyment and fulfilment through movement
The development of Physical Literacy underpins our whole PE curriculum delivery at RFA. This can be described as:
The motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding that provides children with the movement foundation for lifelong participation in physical activity. Enabling them to become physically literate supports their development as competent, confident and healthy movers.
We deliver a concept-based, values-driven curriculum, prioritising transferable skills of use across activities and focusing on attitude, aptitudes and abilities required to thrive in life. This links closely to our Character Education at RFA; through PE, we can actively teach children the values and virtues that develop the whole child and which will allow all children to thrive both within and beyond school. This ensures that the PE curriculum is holistic and provides our children with meaningful, wide-ranging and positive experiences.
Our Physical Literacy vision is strengthened through our ME in PE threads which run through the whole of the curriculum journey:
Physical ME (motor competence): developing physical literacy movements of the body
Healthy ME (physical wellbeing): choosing healthy behaviours and attitudes
Personal ME (personal skills): developing positive behaviours and emotions
Social ME (social skills); developing teamwork, cooperation and leadership
Thinking ME (knowledge and understanding): showing safe, efficient, intelligent movement and game-sense skills & strategies for success: rules, strategies and tactics; making efficient decisions and evaluations; application of movement in practice
The RFA PE curriculum is structured using the following building blocks at EYFS, KS1, lower KS2 and upper KS2:
Our concepts link to different physical areas of PE, as demonstrated on our PE Curriculum Map. Gymnastics, dance, team building (EYFS/KS1) and Outdoor Adventurous Activities (OAA, KS2) are revisited each year, to allow for depth of learning, progression of knowledge and mastery of skills. These areas complement the learning taking place within ball skills, games and movement pattern development, as well as athletics and fitness, which are also covered by every year group. The games being taught become more specialised and activity-specific as children move up through the school, including physical areas such as target games, invasion games, net/wall games and striking & fielding games.
How do we teach PE at RFA?
The RFA PE curriculum provides a clear learning journey for all children that is progressive and builds knowledge cumulatively, gradually increasing in complexity as the children move through the school. This includes coherent sequencing and connections throughout, allowing the children to make links and apply their prior knowledge to new contexts.
By revisiting and reviewing learning, all children can build fluency and mastery of their skills and knowledge across the curriculum. As the children move through the school, the learning becomes more specialised and complex. Technical vocabulary is used throughout the curriculum to strengthen the children’s knowledge and understanding. Children are provided with support and challenge appropriate for their skill and confidence level, to ensure that each child is able to feel successful and make good progress in PE. At each stage of the curriculum, teachers are aware of what the children know and can do, but also how to move the learning on to ensure that all children can know more and do more.
Within all lessons, active engagement is prioritised to ensure that the children are physically active for as much as possible. Teachers ensure that this allows for productive movement and purposeful practice through high quality instruction, applying their own subject expertise to accurate demonstrations and scaffolding which predict and reduce misconceptions. Children are provided with clear, precise, focused and meaningful feedback during lesson time: this allows them to understand where they currently are in their learning and what they need to do to improve. Through clear teaching points, consistent language and use of success criteria, children know what they are trying to achieve within each lesson. Discussion time and questioning are both vital elements to develop learning opportunities further.
EYFS have one formal PE lesson per week (lasting 45 minutes). This is in addition to other opportunities for Physical Development and Gross Motor learning, tailored to the children’s needs, within continuous provision and other adult-led small group teaching. In EYFS, children are taught PE primarily through thematic, story-based units. These include learning through the physical areas of games, gymnastics, dance, athletics and team building.
Children receive between 1 hour 45 minutes and 1 hour 55 minutes of PE teaching per week in KS1 and KS2. These lessons are taught in conceptual units, which link to different physical areas as shown on the PE Curriculum Map.
How does RFA deliver School Sport and Physical Activity?
Opportunities beyond curriculum PE are essential for our children to develop positive habits for maintaining a healthy lifestyle; they provide another way for us to engage children and encourage them to be physically active, as well as providing different contexts for them to apply their PE learning. Such opportunities help to further boost the physical and mental wellbeing gained by exercising for all children, as well as offering further possibilities for personal and social skill development.
Children can only be inspired through physical activity and sport, and be willing to participate fully and enthusiastically in it, if they learn about it and experience it; offering these opportunities makes the role that physical activity and sport can play in our children’s lives visible, accessible and achievable. We have a responsibility to expose our children to as many positive sporting experiences as possible, so that they learn to place high value in active participation both now and in the future.
Both School Sport and Physical Activity are fabulous avenues for building children’s professional, cultural, pastoral and aspirational capital, helping to develop the whole child. At RFA, we aim to offer sports and active opportunities and experiences to all children; we do through a wide range of initiatives and school routines which are always being developed and refined to best meet the needs of our children. Currently, they include:
- Healthy Mind, Healthy Body theme weeks in the summer term, including workshops for new or unusual physical activities
- Bikeability (for EYFS and Year 1) and Balanceability (Year 5 and 6) programmes to promote cycling
- Sports Days for all children
- Sports teams for KS2, which compete in a range of fixtures and events
- Sports event entries for KS1 and KS2, aiming to be as inclusive and varied as possible (Inspire: events aimed at the least active/least engaged children; Aspire: events aimed at children relatively new to a sport; Higher: events for children who are already engaged and active)
- Sports and physical activity after-school clubs, including those for invited children
- Physical activities on the playground during playtimes and lunchtimes
- 11 Before 11 Reach2 initiative, where several of the promises include a physical element: Y3 – hiking heroes (Box Hill hike), Y4 – ride a large animal (horseriding), Y6 – messing about on the water (residential and watersports activities)