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PE and sport turned our school around

by Adam Hooper, PE coordinator, West Heath Primary School

PE and sport turned our school aroundWest Heath Primary School is a larger than average primary school that has used PE and sport to move from being in special measures to being rated as good by Ofsted in just over two years. PE Coordinator Adam Hooper reveals how they did it:

In November 2013 West Heath Primary School was in a difficult place. The school had very poor attendance and attainment and was placed in special measures, it was a challenging time for everyone. However, under the guidance of a new headteacher the school has completely changed its approach and PE and sport has become one of the school’s key curriculum drivers. The school is now rated as good by Ofsted and has ambitions to become outstanding.

At West Heath we aim to instil an ethos that with hard work and determination, children can achieve whatever they set their hearts and minds to. We want to inspire pupils to be the best they can possibly be and we believe that competition and sportsmanship develop confidence and key skills such as leadership, co-operation and communication. These are all skills that are required to be an active and responsible citizen who can contribute positively to society.

The turnaround of the school has been an interesting journey with a wide variety of factors contributing to our success. We have used our PE and Sport Premium funding to design a new PE curriculum and new assessment procedures, while also investing in extra-curricular activities. We design lessons where PE permeates cross-curricular links and core subjects and topics are integrated into PE lessons where appropriate. Importantly, we also designate time for teachers to observe their children in the PE environment and make comparisons with pupil motivation in class. West Heath School has above average numbers of pupils with special educational needs and/or disability (SEND) and it has been important for us to provide specialist clubs to ensure all young people have the opportunity to take part in sporting activities. Sports coaches and a specialist teacher run most of our extra-curricular activities and members of staff also contribute to our enrichment programme. Currently we have more than 20 after school clubs in addition to our lunch time provision, wrap around care and holiday programme.

To promote inclusion at the school we also signed up to the Sainsbury’s Active Kids Paralympic Challenge which encourages young people to learn more about Paralympic sports and try them out, using the free equipment that comes with the programme. Our journey out of special measures has also included us becoming involved in the School Games. The school now regularly participates in local competitions and has qualified for Level 3 winter and summer events. Multiple teams are run across a range of sports in order to provide as many young people as possible the chance to compete. The variety of our school sport offer is something that was acknowledged by Ofsted in our report in June last year. It stated that:

The primary school sports funding is used well, and physical education and sport are strengths of the school. Most pupils take part in physical activity or represent one of the many school teams for boys and girls that include rugby, football, netball, gymnastics, athletics and cross country. Pupils’ physical skills are improving.

So what is next for us? Well, we are determined to continue to build on the excellent foundations that PE and sport have given us and we have big ambitions to become an outstanding school. We want to inspire our girls to lead an active, healthy lifestyle through a new club, and we want to use sport to engage our community further through encouraging parents to engage in sport with their children. We also want to create some high quality club links in order to be able to signpost our children to the best community programme or, alternatively, establish our own. All of this for a school that in November 2013 was put in special measures. It has been quite a turnaround.

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