This afternoon, the Chairman of Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) Council paid a visit to Culverhay to present a certificate and cheque for £100 in recognition of the innovative work the PE Department is doing to encourage it’s pupils to engage in physical activity.
The award was for…
“The School that has shown the most innovative way to encourage its pupils to enhance physical activity and to regularly exercise”
Although we did not win the award, we were given a ‘highly commended’. The winning school was Wellsway Sports and Science Academy for the amazing work they are doing to inspire all of their pupils to engage with the Olympics. Lou Riddoch, Head of Specialism at the sports college, is doing a fantastic job at being a lead school both regionally and nationally to promote the games and inspire pupils.
Here is just one example of the work they are doing…
Below is my entry for the award.
At Culverhay school, we feel that every pupil has the ability to be successful in PE and through physcial activity, can become more resilient and motivated learners. With this in mind, we have done two things that have made a dramatic difference to how we deliver PE.
A change of ethos
Firstly, we redefined what it means to be ‘successful’ in PE. For years, it has been perceived that only those that are good at sport are good at PE (and therefore more likely to enjoy their experience). Those that either don’t like sport, or lack the physical motor skills to be ‘good’, often disengage from PE as the curriculum offer reinforces their perception of their own ability and their dislike of sport.
Secondly, we have considered what skills are required to develop a pupil’s physical literacy and to become a more effective learner. These come under 6 headings; physical, health and fitness, social, personal, cognitive and creative. For each of these areas, we use levels that link to the National Curriculum attainment levels. All of our lessons now focus on one or more of these skills, which we have found has allowed all pupils to make greater progress.
As part of the development of pupils personal skills, they become more skilled at setting appropriate individual targets which allow them to be ‘stretched’. They understand that if a task is too easy, then they will be in their ‘comfort’ zone and if a task is too difficult, then they are in their ‘panic’ zone. In both cases, learning is slowed. Understanding that when the appropriate ‘stretch’ is applied in tasks they maximise their learning, allows pupils to take ownership of their own learning journey, which increases motivation to succeed. Pupils have become more socially skilled in PE, which has developed a culture of respect and peer support. Pupils respect the fact that everyone is at different stages of their learning journey, and they have the skills and understanding to support them in that journey, especially those that are finding elements of their learning difficult. This has had a major impact on engagement in PE.
Our curriculum at KS3 is designed so that all pupils are engaged and challenged in PE. In our first term, we deliver ‘Dealing with competitive situations’ or ‘competition’ for short, and ‘problem solving in an outdoor environment’. This unit takes place predominantly in woodland adjacent to the school grounds. We focus on the ‘social’ and ‘personal’ skills of the pupils. We have found that pupils sometimes lack the skills to work with and support each other, and they can have a tendency to give up on tasks easily when the going gets tough, both of which can prove to be a significant barrier to their learning. By writing schemes of work to specifically target these issues, engages a higher percentage of the learners, and gives them a strong foundation on which to build on throughout the rest of the year.
Following the first 8 weeks of PE, pupils are crystal clear on the expectations on them as individuals in terms of how to conduct themselves in PE lessons and how it is appropriate to react in certain situations. The Olympic and Paralympic values are heavily used in the competition unit. Also, pupils are made aware of the challenges and benefits of working with others, and are given opportunities to develop the skills required to do this. By using social skill assessment levels, pupils easily understand what they need to do in order to progress. We find that this engages the pupils far more than running rugby in core PE. Rugby is offered as an extra curricular activity for all pupils.
Our curriculum at KS4 allows pupils to choose 9 activity areas from a possible 27. Pupils have to choose from a performance (focus on improving performance), leadership (developing leadership skills) or health/Olympic values (focus on healthy and active lifestyle and / or promoting the Olympic Values) option. This allows all pupils to engage in activities that suit their particular interests and skills. We cover a range ‘traditional’ sports such as football, rugby and basketball. In addition to these, we offer a more diverse range of activities including mountaineering skills, parkour, Parlympic sports, Waboba, volleyball, and walking units. Each unit is delivered in
Each term, we have an inter house competition in which all pupils have to participate in. In Term 1, we hold a Cross country event. Pupils are given three possible routes (Gold, Silver and Bronze). The boys are challenged to run the same (or harder) course than the previous year, and improve their time and/or position. The variety of courses provide an opportunity for all pupils to take part at a level that they feel stretches themselves, but doesn’t force them into doing anything that will be to much for them, and therefore demotivate them.
Pupils set their own individual targets, and if they meet or exceed that target, they win their race.
By redefining the way PE is delivered at Culverhay School, we have built a culture where all pupils are confident of making good progress in PE, are engaged with the curriculum and are more physically active as they strive to make progress on their individual learning journey. As a result, pupils are becoming more happy and successful learners in other parts of the school.