How can you develop gymnasts without a gymnasium, rugby players without a rugby pitch or tennis players without a tennis court?
The quick answer is to think Physical Education, not sports coaching. Developing the physical fundamental movement skills and wider multi-ability skills (personal, social, creative etc) that every sports performer requires to compete at a high (or any) level, can be developed in a range of ways and in some less obvious locations.
I have blogged extensively about the role of PE in the development of the whole child. Since achieving QTS in 2002, I have shifted my PE ethos to a more holistic and inclusive approach where every child develops in a range of abilities through physical activity.
I keep coming back to a video that I stumbled across on Twitter via Dr Richard Keegan (@SportPsychAus). His video, which you can see embedded on my blog, challenges views on the role of PE. This approach aligns with my own ethos and inspired this parkour video where my students used the city of Bath as their classroom for a day.
I was blessed with excellent facilities in the first 15 years of teaching. We could guarantee appropriate indoor learning areas for all students / classes at all times of the year (including a swimming pool). We also had lovely playing fields onsite (big enough for 2 football/rugby pitches and a 400m athletics track in the summer) and beautiful cross country / OAA spaces adjacent to the school.
However, during my four years as a Specialist Leader in Education (PE), I supported in a range of schools and noticed a stark contrast between schools’ facilities. Some (but not all) stunning “new builds” clearly didn’t have PE at the forefront of the designers minds, leaving a significant lack of PE facilities. Often, SLT need to make pragmatic decisions to use spaces in the PE Department for exam arrangements. All of these factors have an impact on the ability to deliver a broad curriculum.
So how does a PE Department manage with limited space to deliver the curriculum?
I have been invited to talk about this very issue at the Optimus Education PE, Health and School Sport Conference on Thursday 18th November. The session will focus on how to maximise every possible space around the school (including the school hall, canteen, any open space inside, dance studio, corridors, outside areas (plazas). I will talk about how to approach SLT (to gain support), discuss health and safety considerations and explore how to engage learners in a fun and varied environment
Although a PowerPoint will be prepared for the conference, I plan to roam the IBIS Hotel Earls Court on a PE lesson to remember!?
Content from my presentation will be shared after the conference.