The Claremont Primary story - developing knowledge, confidence and skills

by Anita Richardson, Leader in Education for Claremont Primary School

The challenge: Knowledge, skills and confidence to deliver high quality PE

With an ever changing educational landscape, training and development opportunities offered to PE practitioners are often overlooked. Most teachers only receive between six and 10 hours of taught PE throughout their teacher training. Will Swaithes, YSTs Head of PE and Achievement, recently suggested that the average primary school generalist teacher would rate themselves as less than five out of 10 in terms of having the knowledge, skills and confidence to deliver high quality PE.

Supporting practitioners to gain confidence, improve their knowledge, and hone their skill set to deliver high quality PE requires access to resources and learning opportunities. This blog puts the spotlight on Claremont Primary School which has invested in the development and training of its teaching staff and is now seeing a dramatic improvement in the impact PE has on pupil wellbeing and performance across the curriculum.

A large, three-form inner-city school situated in the heart of Manchester, Claremont Primary School has a diverse cultural mix of pupils and staff with a higher than average pupil premium rate. Here, Anita Richardson, the school's specialist leader in education, discusses the impact of up-skilling the PE workforce with practitioner resources to ensure high quality PE is delivered across the school.

The Claremont Primary story

The staff at the school range from NQT, RQT to experienced teachers and last year I was brought onboard to up-skill staff by developing their knowledge, skills and confidence to deliver high quality PE and physical activity in school.

The issue

Initial feedback from questionnaires demonstrated that staff felt confident and competent in most areas of the curriculum. However, many experienced a crisis of confidence when teaching PE. Reasons for this included a fundamental lack of placement opportunities dedicated to learning how to teach PE, too few mentoring opportunities due to a shortfall in the qualifications possessed by in-school staff, a fundamental lack of experience across the entire PE curriculum and a scarcity of ‘free’ time to access training.

The solution

Over the past year the impact of up-skilling our teachers in PE and physical literacy has produced noticeable improvements in the quality of teaching throughout Claremont Primary. This has been reflected in pupils’ attitudes and behaviours towards PE in school. PE kits are regularly brought in and excitement for lessons is heightened. Most importantly, children’s fundamental movement skills are improving as teachers grow in confidence and utilise all their skills of assessment and behaviour management to deliver age and stage appropriate provision.

Anita Richardson, Claremont Primary School

Improved confidence has helped support increases in club participation by students, and the number of sports and health clubs delivered by Claremont staff.  In addition, there has been an evident improvement in attitude to learning and participation in PE, with over 80 applications for sports leaders and the numbers of participants in breakfast, lunchtime and afterschool clubs dramatically increasing.

Claremont experienced a personal best at the School Games because of this, reaching four citywide finals and gaining the Gold award for the School Games Mark.

Teachers found using the Manchester PE scheme of work, and programmes such as YST skills2achieve really useful in enabling a whole school approach to physical literacy and PE.

The YST Start to Move suite and Movement Assessment Tool app are resources which further support their confidence and competence by providing examples on how to track and assess key fundamental movement skills. They’re simple to use and visually support progression of physical literacy skills which allows me, as a PE leader, to have further evidence of the impact and quality of current school physical activity.

It is so important that trainee teachers are mentored by knowledgeable and skilled PE peers, and can be observed in an official capacity. The YST offer a level 3 mentoring programme to support in the up-skilling of colleagues around PE to help improve the mentoring opportunities available to trainee teachers. Resources and Learning programmes help empower PE practitioners, and promote a whole school approach to ensuring high quality PE is offered to all young people.

Challenge support

To help facilitate the development of PE practitioners, a range of solutions are now available for schools and practitioners to access. With the emphasis on ensuring high quality PE is confidently and sustainably delivered in schools, programmes like Start to Move focusing on Key Stage 1 delivery and TOP PE focusing on Key Stage 2, will challenge and support teachers to ensure maximum impact of PE on young people.

Access YST Resources and Learning solutions

Explore the full range of YST Resources and Learning solutions here.

With 28 providers of a primary PE specialism route registered with UCAS for 2017/18, there is an increasing workforce of individuals who have received more initial training to deliver and support the delivery of high quality PE and help ensure maximal impact of the Primary PE and Sport Premium. If you currently fulfil the role of ‘Primary PE Specialist’, or plan to on completion of your initial teacher training then we would love to hear from you and help connect that key network for a sustainable future of primary PE. Contact us here.