Power of PE – Wellbeing and Achievement

Whilst we all want to see Physical Education taught in a physical setting, with a significant proportion of moderate to vigorous physical activity, the subject can evolve to put more emphasis on the wider educational gains it has to offer in order to thrive within a competitive curriculum.

The aims and purpose of the National Curriculum cover much of what is needed, but their true benefits are often not understood or maximised because teachers often skip past the WHY and HOW, focusing almost exclusively on WHAT activities. 

This can lead to a curriculum lacking purpose, relevance and meaning for all except those ‘switched on’ by sport, and even then, only when their favourite activities are being taught. The impact of this is an activity/sport led curriculum that doesn’t meet the needs of all students or address the whole school priorities that PE can support so powerfully.

The shift needed, we believe, is to make these wider outcomes far more overt, ensuring individual learners are at the heart of curriculum planning and that teaching has three principal ambitions for all students:

1. Health and Wellbeing: Thriving due to good physical health, emotional and social wellbeing and confidence, self-belief and motivation to be healthy for life.
2. Physical Competence: Develop and apply skills, abilities and techniques to their performance in order to tackle increasingly demanding physical activities and achieve their personal best.
3. Character and Employability: The positive traits, attitudes, behaviours and skills of considerate, responsible and imaginative citizens, ready to access the world of work as resourceful, responsible, reliable and collaborative employees and entrepreneurs.

This guide will help you to reimagine your Physical Education offer to meet these ambitious but attainable goals. You will think about not only the content and success criteria for lessons but also the way you brand and market the subject to ensure it has relevance and meaning for all; including all stakeholders from the young people themselves to other teachers, senior leaders, governors and parents.

This brings to mind the equally important principles of Bloom’s Taxonomy and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Where the widely used teaching of Bloom challenges us to progressively and incrementally increase the level of thinking, in order to unlock higher level learning, Maslow challenges us to consider the fundamental needs of the child, in an incremental fashion. 

By re-positioning Physical Education in the way described in this document, we are challenging practitioners to address Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as the priority, before addressing the crucial aspects of cognitive development, described in Bloom’s work. 

Take time to view this slide share to help challenge your thinking:

To receive your copy of the Improving Wellbeing Through PE resource click here and for the 'how to' guide then please email membership@youthsporttrust.org