Following the introduction to Parkour lesson, students will now know what makes you a good free runner.

Possible follow up lessons may look like this:

The parkour roll
students to explore different ways of rolling safely
I will adapt the content on this parkour tutorial (maybe having it available on an Ipad) and provide a progressive framework for the Students to work through.

I have used the video delay app before now, so that students can walk over to the Ipad and make an immediate self assessment on their performance. They will match their performance to the criteria for the technique and identify an area for improvement or call me over to request they move on.

By the end of the lesson, students should be able to perform a basic vault (perhaps speed or step) or jumping over an obstacle (bench, low box), land and then roll onto a safety mat.

Those with more confidence should be able to vault and roll on just a gym mat.

The Tic Tac
There is a tutorial on the same link as the parkour roll link (above). This could be built into a longer sequence involving a vault / jump and prakour roll.

Precision jumps
The first lesson will probably be based on this skill. However, more progressions can be added to increase the level of challenge. See same tutorial for details.

Breaking down the run up, take off, flight and landing phases of different vaults. Focus on maintaining a rhythm / flow of movement. Combining different vaults in a sequence. Incorporating ideas from previous lessons.

Students to use tutorials from older students that have recorded them on the Ipads.

Vaults to include: speed, step, kong, dash, kash, lazy

Bringing it all together
Allowing the students an opportunity

Throughout the entire unit, learning intentions will be differentiated (using the Academy Must / Should / Could structure), focus on a range of abilities (social, personal, creative, safety, health/fitness), which must lead to improved physical performance.

Every lesson should allow students to move at their own pace through the learning intentions and a range of increasingly difficult movements (whilst always being appropriately challenged). Easier said than done when you have some students that compete at national gymnastic competitions and some students who lack the confidence to perform basic gymnastic movements.


What makes you a good Free Runner?

I am conscious I have not put finger to keypad for this blog in a while.

So here we go again…

I have spent significant time in the evenings this holiday addressing my leadership responsibilities as an Assistant Principal; reviewing the previous term, finishing off any actions outstanding, reviewing and improving my systems, planning agendas, updating and syncing outlook calendars, among other tasks.

Tonight is all about the classroom (sports hall / weights room / gym etc).

Whilst I was starting to plan my 6 week block of Core PE lessons I thought I may as well scribble my ideas here instead of in my planner ( as I rarely seem to have the time to blog these days once my commitment to my role at school and home life have been fulfilled).

First up…

Parkour / Gymnastics – Year 7

Lesson 1 – Introduction to Parkour (the same as gymnastics, but with a less restricted curriculum and a more attractive tag).

Aim –
to understand:  what makes a good free runner
to understand how you can be a good free runner

Three key themes throughout the lesson –
Physical – demonstrating and applying good Fundamental Movement Skills (Agility Balance and Co-ordination) to learn increasingly challenging / complex movement patterns and balances.
Mental – being able to chose appropriate activities that stretch yourself (read more about the Comfort Stretch Panic Curve) and continue to try having experienced failure.
Safety – Being able to stay safe by; identifying hazards linked to activities/tasks/practices, consider and implement appropriate control measures, choosing appropriate activities for your own performance level and knowing when to progress.

Out inclusive approach to PE is such that when we create success criteria, it will never solely be based physical performance. If we did this, I risk only a few in the class leaving the lesson having had a positive experience, whilst all others leave knowing that many (if not all) are better at PE than they are.

Instead, we might measure success by recognising physical progress, so that each student can be recognised by how far they have come in the lesson (progress), not necessarily their absolute performance level (attainment).

In this particular lesson, those that can challenge themselves appropriately (probably that experience failure on a frequent basis, but show resilience) and can exercise safely at all times (including being able to articulate safety issues) will be praised (regardless of the physical ability levels they are working at).

Students that can develop these learning behaviours, will make the best progress in the unit, and in time, become better free runners.

Jump BCA Bath

At the end of last term, a group of students resisted the temptation to go to Alton Towers or paint balling in favour of making the latest BCA Parkour Video.

The final edit has now been made (thanks to the outstanding I.T support at Bath Community Academy).

The opening sequence was inspired by the video embedded in the blog post about Physical Literacy.

In the video, Richard Keegan says that he “wants kids to experience the joy of interacting successfully with the world around them” and to “fall in love with moving”.

I felt that these two comments work quite nicely with the video.

By the way, what a lovely City we have the pleasure of living and learning in!

Huge thanks to everyone that supported us in the filming of the video.

Jack’s flying in PE

Our friend Jack has made more great progress in PE this week.
We have changed activities from FUNS (fundamental movement skills) to Parkour this week.
Jack turned up to the lesson saying he had forgotten his kit, but that he wants to help out. As he arrived in the gym, he was greeted with this sight…

Jack was then introduced to the learning intentions that looked like this…
Jack then said “Sir, I am just about to go and look in my bag to double check if I have kit”.
Three minutes later, he turned up in full kit and didn’t look back. He managed to achieve the must and should learn intentions, and in doing so, managed to learn and perform a step vault and speed vault with control and fluency.
The structure of the lesson included students working in small groups on a particular piece of equipment / station, having to watch each other’s performance and give helpful feedback. Students were encouraged to be creative with the equipment, experimenting with different ideas to travel over and around the equipment. Groups rotated around the stations, trying to find ways to challenge themselves, even when the apparatus was basic.
The main reason the social target was the must, instead of the personal target, was because the group  need to work on their ability to work with others and cooperate, as it is slowing the learning of the group. Being the main focus of the lesson forces the students to work on and improve their social skills and are rewarded for doing so. This helped the students make progress in the lesson ( in terms of their physical skills) which was then celebrated by their peers as part of their helpful feedback.
This lesson is very different from the gym lessons I used to teach to Year 7 students when I first trained. The students have much more opportunity to develop at a speed that is appropriate to them (rather than being restricted by a scheme work that saw me teach a forward roll, log roll, t balance, floor routes etc over several weeks). Students also have many more opportunites to develop socially and be far more creative in lessons, both accelerating the speed of learning.

Project Phoenix Parkour – Part II

I previously posted about a Parkour Project Phoenix option that myself and Ali Trippick ( – @alibaamoo) were leading during term 6. The post details the rationale behind the project and the learning focus for the students. Click here to read the post.

Ali did a great job of turning this around in a tight time frame, in addition to many other important deadlines that the end of term threw at her.

We recorded so much footage, that we had to leave a majority of it out. If I get the time, I would like to do a second cut.

Enjoy the show!

Check out for more videos involving students from Bath Community Academy and the wider Cabot Learning Federation (predominantly from Bristol Metropolitan Academy, where Tom Hooper leads the Cabot freerunning project).

Keep up the good work Tom.

A side thought… I wonder how many schools have a significant number of students choosing gymnastics as their most enjoyable activity in PE?

Project Phoenix Parkour

Following a lull in parkour at BCA, it is now back with a vengeance in term 6. The PE department at BCA are offering parkour as an option in Project Phoenix, a Friday afternoon enrichment programme.

There are over 30 Options this term, including street dance, lawn bowls, film club, international group (who plan and go on trips around Europe at the end of the term), ATC, community litter pick, road cycling (at Odd Down’s new cycle track where Chris Hoy opened on Wednesday – with some of our staff and students going to meet him and cycle around with him), volunteer work at Bath City Farm, skate board / scooter club, gardening, master chef, school production/drama group, Phoenix Radio broadcasting and more.

Despite this wide offer, 30 students from Year 7-10 chose to do parkour, making it the most popular activity.

The aim of this particular project is to produce a free running video, which involves all students, leading a tour around the BCA campus. The students are being challenged to use the environment in creative ways.

As is the nature of PE at BCA, the students will be challenged in a range of abilities, not just physically. Creativity, social, cognitive and personal skills are all being challenged and developed. As with our lessons, success is measured by the progress of these skills, allowing every student to make good progress and increase motivation regardless of their physical ability. The end result being that all students make more improvement in performance.

Each week, the students are allocated an area of the academy, where they then have to use the environment to come up with short sequences as individuals or in small groups. Once this has been achieved, they then ask myself or my colleague Ali ( to video it.

Creative Cog
We encourage all students to look at the environment around them and find creative ways of traveling around it. Students have to assess risk by identifying the potential hazards, and implementing appropriate control measures (putting a gym mat down, or having a spotter on the first attempt). If students want to try any “high tariff” move, they must first seek advice and permission from staff, who will assist in the risk assessment. A critical part of this assessment is knowing the students experience and skill level.

Personal cog
Through their experience in #realpe, students have become very good at creating tasks and then adapting them to increase or decrease the difficulty. For example, if a group of students wanted to use a picnic bench for a sequence (as they did yesterday), they created the following variations:
– some used the bench as an aid to stand on, to get up to the table and then again on the way down,
– some vaulted it without using the bench,
– one student jumped onto the table and did a hand stand with half twist on dismount,
– one student vaulted it length ways (who was the smallest in the group!).

Students, as always, are encouraged to find the appropriate levels of stretch for themselves, and to not compare themselves to others in the group. They do this as they know that is how they make the most progress. I have written before about how parkour has improved student’s ability to identify and manage risk 

Social cog
There is a large emphasis on working together, sharing ideas, supporting peers to think of ideas and then encouraging them when they are trying to master the skill/move/sequence. For the more socially advanced and more experienced free runners, they can give supportive feedback to the younger students and more detailed and critical feedback to improve their peers.

Cognitive cog
Using this method of delivery, students are constantly being required to select, execute, analyse, review and adapt to improve performance. The more ownership that students can have doing this, the better they become. An outstanding teacher will give students the structure and confidence to do this, holding back to allow them to experience the process, whilst at the same time keeping an eye on them, and supporting them when required.

We plan to edit a video to show at our “Hall of Fame” event on Monday 15th July. Watch this space…

Paris Parkour Trip

Just in case you haven’t seen my twitter feed lately…

9 students from BCA have just returned from a parkour trip to Paris. Organised by Tom Hooper (in my dept last year, now at another CLF academy (BMA) they blogged about their activities (including video).

You can read all about it and watch the videos at

Use the parkour tag in the tag cloud on the right of this blog to read about how the journey began two years ago.