School Sport is the learning that takes place beyond the curriculum but within a school setting. A good school sport programme should develop and broaden the skills and values of the PE curriculum and should be consistent with the aims of the curriculum at each stage.
SHAPE understands that at KS1 the focus is on pupils developing their fundamental movement skills and becoming increasingly competent and confident in their agility, balance and coordination. Yes, they should be able to engage in competitive and co-operative physical activities, in a range of increasingly challenging situations, but for infants the focus needs to be on basic movement skills so that age appropriate competition can follow later! All too often we see examples of young children playing adult sports with over enthusiastic coaches and parents shouting from the side-lines.
At KS2 pupils should continue to apply and develop a broader range of skills, learn how to use them in different ways and learn how to link them to make actions and sequences of movement. They should develop an understanding of how to improve in different physical activities and sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success. They should enjoy communicating, collaborating and competing.
Competition is just one small element of a broad and balanced PE curriculum. Research in the British Medical Journal has found that competition is not always appropriate for all pupils. Pupils enjoy participation in PE and School Sport when they feel competent, in control and supported by others. Feeling competent depends on the choice of activity and on the pupils’ perceived physical capabilities and aptitude.
Feeling in control relates to having a choice of activities, being able to set personal exertion levels and having control over clothes worn while taking part.
Schools can positively influence their pupils’ enjoyment of PE and School Sport by understanding and supporting their personal goals, and by promoting a non-threatening atmosphere between pupils as opposed to dictating and controlling what they do and for how long.
Recently, rising obesity levels and concerns over the fitness of children and young people has returned the focus of PE and School Sport to its potential as a vehicle for promoting health.
The BMJ suggest that schools can positively influence the PE experience of both boys and girls by providing more choice of activities and letting pupils make their own decisions based on their personal needs.
SHAPE believes that teachers are best placed to meet this agenda with key guidance from SHAPE through CPD and specialist support in addition to age appropriate festivals and activities and, only where appropriate, competition.
It is worth noting that of the 5 key indicators for the Primary PE Premium Government funding, competition is the 5th priority.
Why not speak to us about the innovative work we are doing with the Youth Sport Trust and Active Derbyshire around the principles of competition and how this approach can have a positive impact on all pupils.