This month’s featured sport is gymnastics! I was never very good at gymnastics at school, and during teacher training, I dreaded when the time would come that I would have to teach it.  However, one week and an excellent gymnastics training course later, I love to teach gym to children of all ages.

My lecturer was Barry Benn and he and his wife, Tansin, have written some of the most useful gymnastics teaching books around, I would highly recommend checking them out.

So why traditionally has there been so much emphasis placed on gymnastics across the key stages?

Develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance

This heading has been taken directly from the national curriculum.  Consequently, it can be implied that these areas are so important for a child’s general physical literacy.  Being able to control their body in time and space, to develop their natural flexibility and gain strength to apply to a range of sports and general tasks in life.  Furthermore, children can acquire all these aspects of fitness and skill through gymnastics.

Develop self-control

Gymnastics is primarily judged on its aesthetics and to achieve a beautiful performance, there must be self-control.  Pupils must follow, copy and repeat gymnastics actions, work within the confines of small areas, often in collaboration with others.  These things help children develop self-control and apply it to produce a better performance.

Learning to be safe

As with all physical activity, there is an inherent element of risk in gymnastics.  For children to progress and learn they must be trusted to carry equipment, perform at different levels, roll, climb, hang, jump and take weight on their head and hands.

When teachers are confident to teach gymnastics correctly, it can be extremely safe while teaching children how to reduce risk and keep themselves safe is an essential and transferable life skill. Find out more about managing risk in AfPE’s ‘Safe Practice in Physical Education and Sport’

What are your experiences of teaching gymnastics?  Share them with us on Twitter @thepehub or on our Facebook page.

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It might seem unusual to be writing about engaging boys in PE when the focus tends to be on keeping girls involved.  But it has long been established that girls and boys learn differently (M. Gurian, 2002) and this applies to PE lessons as well.

It can be extremely useful to have a few simple techniques up your sleeve to ensure boys are getting on and staying on task during their PE lessons.  This engagement will lead to better progress and ultimately creating a lifelong love of physical activity and sport!

Talk Less

This is standard for all teaching whether it be boys or girls and we should be aiming for 10% teacher speak. It is recognised that boys are not as good listeners as girls at the same age, being approximately 2 years behind.

Get boys active

Focus boys on the ‘doing’ part of the lesson.  Boys tend to veer towards action so include quick, simple steps in your delivery to allow them to carry out a task as soon as possible.

Challenge boys

Ensure there is plenty of extension ideas for each activity/task/skill so that you can challenge your learners.  ‘Can you do this?’,   ‘Now try that’ will keep them focused and engaged.

Include competition

Many boys thrive on competition, even if it is just against themselves.  Ensure all lesson allow for some kind of competitive element e.g. can you do more?  Can you go faster?  Can you work together to do better? Etc.

Of course we know that it is not as simple as saying boys learn one ways and girls another, but it is important to be mindful of some of the differences between genders.  Of course there are girls that love competition and everyone should be challenged in your lessons!!

Attempting to include some of the techniques described can help mitigate some of the low level behaviour issues boys’ display, allowing everyone in the class to do better.

For further plans and exciting schemes to help deliver PE for boys and girls why not subscribe to one of our lesson planning packages for your school?

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There are 5 key principles of gameplay when it comes to attacking and defending in games.  Some games such as football take this further with 5 principles each of both attacking and defending.

By familiarising ourselves with the 5 basic principles of gameplay in PE we can teach with a deeper understanding and support pupils to develop strategies and tactics in their gameplay.   They can also help us make sense of some of the skills/tactics suggest in planning resources.

  1. Width in attack

Placement of players across the width of the pitch, this forces the opposition’s defenders to space out and leave gaps/space to attack in to.

  1. Width in defence

Defensive players spread across the width of the pitch in an attempt to cover all areas when the attacking players have possession

  1. Depth in attack

When a player attacks, place another team member behind them, this means that when an attack at goal or shot is not possible the attacker with the ball can pass back to their teammate which will potentially open up a new scoring opportunity.

  1. Delay in defence

As a defender, you want to attempt to slow down your oppositions attack (delay) and this can be done by positioning yourself in front of the attacker (between them and the goal!). This slows down the attacker and buys time for the rest of the defence to get back and support.

  1. Depth in defence

As in the attacking situation, a fellow defender provides support by positioning themselves behind the first defender; this provides support if the first defender is beaten.

If you are currently teaching invasion games, have a look at your planning and see where these principles apply.  Can they help you develop your questioning, or supporting a task in which pupils need to attack or defend?

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Gaining feedback from our client schools is very important to us.   Feedback helps us to shape our service and develop the user’s experiences of our PE resources.

Chilcote School and Colmore Juniors are two schools who have begun using the service over the last year. Both schools are enjoying using The PE Hub and can see the benefits to staff and pupils. Click here to see the full testimonials.

Some of the common things identified from both schools were:

Ease of use of our PE resources

Both Colmore Juniors and Chilcote have recognised that the ease of use of the site and the planning is something they both like.

Additional Resources

We have many other resources on the site to help teachers in the delivery of the lessons, such as pictures of specific skills that can be used as a visual for the teacher.  Pictures and plans can be printed and used to help the children. Furthermore, all music and videos needed for teaching are easy to download.

“Including resources and music are really helpful, as teachers know everything is there ready.” Mrs Marshall, Colmore Juniors.

Above all, both Colmore Juniors and Chilcote are keen to offer broad and exciting curriculums to their children, and The PE Hub is helping them achieve this through the range of PE resources we provide.

Chilcote School

“The PE hub has a wide range of units available that mean it is easy for schools to teach a broad and exciting PE curriculum. It offers progression in the different areas of PE. The EYFS planning is excellent and up to date (physical literacy)… The PE hub has benefited our school by giving us a clear progression between year groups. It has enabled us to offer a planned set of lessons to the EYFS something we did not have before. It has given those teachers who worry about PE an easy to use, time-saving tool. It has also meant that the curriculum map for our school can offer a wide variety of sports to all year groups, avoiding too much repetition.” Chilcote School

Do you already use the PE Hub? We would love to hear your experiences or write about them in one of our blog posts or if you have any questions. Please get in touch with us via info@thepehub.co.uk

Following on from last week’s blog about the importance of engaging girls in PE, we are going to share a couple of new PE activities to try that might help you get girls more involved.

Alternative PE activities

One of the points we raised was how introducing a variety of sports/exercises to children at a younger age is vital in helping them find an activity they love. The This Girl Can website has a vast variety of sports and exercises that could be introduced to all children that include lots of sports not often played in primary schools.

Stoolball

Stoolball is an inclusive striking and fielding game similar to twenty20 cricket also it can be played by anyone. Stoolball England has a schools starter guide which introduces teachers to a set of simple rules to start playing stoolball in their school.

Ultimate frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee is another growing sport that can be very engaging for children and adults alike. Ultimate Frisbee has lots of similar qualities to other games, for example; when you have the disc you cannot move, and you score by catching the disc in an end zone. I like how children can transfer some skills but also learn new skills in an exciting sport.

Ultimate Frisbee has also paired up with Matalan Sporting Promise to try and engage children in sports like Ultimate Frisbee to lessen the drop off of children becoming disengaged with mainstream sports.

If you have any suggestions for sports you would like to see on The PE Hub, we would love to hear from you.

We hope you find these links informative! If you sign up for a newsletter, we will let you know when Stoolball and Ultimate Frisbee lessons become available.

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During girls senior years of education, there is a significant drop off in their participation in PE lessons.  Furthermore, there is an even more substantial decline in participation in out of hour’s school sport.  According to the Women’s Sport and Fitness foundation by the age of 14 only 12% of girls are active enough.

Girls participation in PE lessons

During my time as a secondary school PE teacher, I saw first-hand the reduction in girls’ participation from years 7 to 11.  Girls were entering secondary school engaged. However, this dwindled for a significant number of students over time.

It could be argued that secondary school is to blame, and there is a large amount of research that states we are not teaching the activities that girls want to participate in.  I think that this is only partially true because a lot of pupils don’t experience a wide enough range of activities until they reach secondary school.  For example, hockey, only a highly motivated pupil enjoys their first ever hockey lesson on a freezing January morning!

Window of opportunity

Children’s physical skills are hard-wired by the time they are seven years old.  “Introducing the skills beyond the age of 7 will prove more challenging as their cognitive ability has developed to a point where the ‘can’t do’ attitude ignites” (Sport Wales, 2016).   There is no substitute for early, positive experiences of PE. So exposing girls to as wide a variety of sports and activities as possible throughout their informative years (0-7) is essential.

What can we do?

By working together, primary and secondary schools can map the transition from KS2 to KS3 and beyond.  Primary schools can plan their curriculum to hit as many activity areas as possible.  As well is early curriculum experiences, children must have opportunities to take part in extracurricular clubs.  This involvement in out of hours activity fosters a lifestyle of physical activity as natural and essential.

Also, both sets of schools can consider joining up their PE planning, in particular from the feeder primary schools.  Finding out which sports and activities the girls enjoy in primary school and immediately engaging them in these upon entering secondary school, will go some way to help.  A young girl is more likely to commit to PE if their early engagement in Year 7 is positive.

To find out more ways to inspire your girls to stay active visit the This Girl Can website.

 

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