Increasing physical activity and improving physical education at St Joseph’s Primary

Key Points

  • Increase the amount of physical activity of your pupils
  • Improve the quality of teaching of physical education
  • Make best use of your PE and Sport Premium Funding


What were your reasons for doing this development work?

Our school wanted to:-

  • Improve fitness levels of pupils
  • Support pupils to increase their motivation towards fitness
  • Promote physical wellbeing
  • Ensure effective use of our PE Premium funding by upskilling staff members to deliver high quality PE
  • Develop teacher subject knowledge with particular focus on dance and gymnastics
  • Ensure consistent progression in PE for each year group through the use of curriculum maps
  • Reduce behaviour incidents at breaktimes
  • Work towards all PE lesson being outstanding PE lessons

Who were the identified target learners?

  • All pupils in our school

What specific curriculum area did you intend to have impact on?

  • Physical Education

How were you intending to improve pupil learning?

Our school undertook a variety of activities in order to identify PE needs of teachers and pupils to increase physical activity and improve the quality of PE teaching:-

  • An audit of teachers’ skills, confidence and knowledge of PE was undertaken  – The audit revealed a need for specialist support to increase skills, knowledge and confidence for the teaching of gymnastics and dance
  • Pupils’ fitness was tested using approved methods administered by the YMCA – Pupils with lower fitness levels were then able to be identified
  • An audit of pupils’ participation in physical activity both inside and outside of school was undertaken via a letter sent home to parents and analysis of participation in extra-curricular clubs – Pupils with lower participation were able to be identified, and gymnastics, cricket and fencing clubs were the most popular sports clubs to introduce
  • Behaviour in the playground was monitored – Behaviour incidents were expected to be lower when structured activities were taking place

What were your success criteria?

  • More pupils being physically active
  • More outstanding PE lessons
  • Increased participation and enjoyment in PE lessons and extra curricular clubs
  • Improved behaviour at break times


What did you do - what teaching approaches did you use?

  • Elms Sport (external coaches) taught Year 1 and Year 6 for ½ term alongside class teachers for gymnastics. Class teachers fed back on their learning and skill progression to the rest of the class teachers
  • Main aim was to develop subject knowledge and confidence and ensure skill progression of pupils
  • Progression maps were made available to all class teachers including athletics, games, dance and gymnastics
  • Ensured that the Medium Term plan for PE was written in the same format and had equal priority as other curriculum subjects
  • As part of PE Subject Lead’s Professional Development, Camden PE consultant undertook teacher observation of PE lead and knowledge was disseminated throughout the school
  • Implemented 5-a-day physical activity programme which is used in transition between lessons
  • Involved in Race to Health to increase amount of physical activity of pupils (a Camden Health Improvement Initiative)
  • Pupils participate in “Wake up Shake Up” physical activity initiative when they line up from morning, lunch and afternoon break times.
  • Linked with the YMCA to offer an off-site extra-curricular sports club with a variety of sports on offer for groups of children. Fifteen pupils are accompanied to the club by teaching assistants
  • Playground was zoned and school now have a teacher trained in positive playgrounds
  • Two playground buddies per class were identified to make sure pupils feel happy and safe and equipment is being used correctly

What specific teaching resources did you use?

  • Val Sabin Gymnastics and Dance Resource to improve the quality of dance and gymnastics in both key stages
  • New equipment bought to support physical development in EYFS and for use at break times

What CPD experiences, materials, research and expertise have you drawn on?

  • Camden PE consultant worked with PE Lead to establish PE assessment documents. These were shared with staff and planning is now based on these progression documents. Clear progress across all year groups is identifiable
  • Elms Sport Coaches working alongside class teachers to improve the quality of PE lessons

Outcomes and Impact

What has been the impact on pupil learning?

  • Improved attitudes towards sport for pupils attending YMCA club as evidenced by attendance figures and positive feedback from parents and pupils
  • Pupils are more active at lunchtimes and there has been reduction in the number of accidents and behaviour incidents at playtimes as evidenced by log book
  • Increased physical activity, motivation and enjoyment of pupils through the purchasing of new equipment. This has also led to improved teaching as teachers are not limited by resources
  • Early indicators show that new sports/activity equipment is supporting the fine and gross motor skills of Nursery and Reception children. The children are also benefitting from the lunchtime zoned activities
  • Improved behaviour in playground as evidenced by log books

Evidence of impact on pupil learning

  • Fitness testing results of pupils
  • Monitoring of pupil participation in extra-curricular sports clubs
  • Feedback from pupils, parents and teachers

What has been the impact on teaching?

  • Improved teacher subject knowledge in Dance and Gymnastics
  • PE planning now shows a clear progression of skills across the year groups in gymnastics and dance and teachers feel more confident

Evidence of impact on teaching

  • Skills audit of teachers
  • Feedback from teachers and pupils
  • More lessons assessed as Outstanding

What is the crucial thing that made the difference?

  • Our school recognises the important role PE has in improving the health, wellbeing and achievement of our pupils and PE is a priority on our School Improvement Plan.
  • Our staff and pupils are enthusiastic about PE and keen to be more physically active. This enthusiasm along with the PE and Sport Premium Funding has  helped improve the quality of lessons and increase physical activity opportunities for our pupils.

What would your next steps be?

  • Continue with the development of PE subject leader’s professional development to ensure outstanding PE lessons
  • Undertake a further audit of teacher knowledge, confidence and skills to identify any additional needs
  • Undertake further fitness testing of pupils
  • Introduce additional after school clubs to appeal to a wider range of pupils

Sharing Practice

If another individual or school was attempting to replicate this work, where should they start?

  • Teacher observation corroborates the link between pupils being physically active and their readiness to learn so physical activity is well worth prioritising.
  • The workload to establish an off-site club may seem heavy at first (e.g. letters, risk assessment, permissions etc.) but it does get easier. Supporting teachers with specialist teachers for gymnastics and dance can make them feel more empowered.  Purchasing of equipment and resources has helped to increase motivation and teacher’s ability to deliver good and outstanding lessons.
  • PE has a really important role to play in helping deliver our school’s overall outcomes and PE is a priority on our School Improvement Plan.
  • Communication with staff regarding the delivery of PE in school is really important. Informal discussions, backed up by staff meetings and training are all beneficial. Be open with your information and involve other to develop plans.

Case Study

Increasing physical activity and improving PE lessons are priorities for our school.

Primary Schools
  • Published
    28 January 2016
  • Author
    Katie Stewart
  • School
    St Joseph’s RC
  • Whom to Contact

    To discuss this case study, please contact us via email

Rating / Stats

This will work in my school

We did this in our school and it worked


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