COVID 19 – Interpreting Government Advice in the PE setting

Returning to school

Many teachers have contacted us for guidance on delivering PE once schools return.  We take our responsibility to share the best and most trusted information very seriously. With that in mind we turned to The Association for Physical Education (afPE), the best source of information on the subject to share with our customers and readers.

Yesterday, along with a 1000 others, we attended afPE’s webinar, ‘COVID-19: Interpreting the Government Guidance in a PE, School Sport and Physical Activity (PESSPA) Context’.

afPE provides quality assured services, and valuable professional support for members in the physical education, school sport and physical activity sector. The PE Hub are proud afPE business associate members and rely on the organisation as a source of trusted information for the bigger picture of PE, school sport and physical activity.

One size does not fit all

The clear message we took from the webinar is that every situation is different, and each school’s needs will vary.  afPE’s advice to the sector builds on existing Government guidelines.

A whole-school approach to PE and physical activity

It is not the job of any individual teacher or member of staff to make judgements on what PE activity is safe or how a working area is cleaned.  Every decision should come via a whole school approach with the individual staff member carrying out the agreed procedures.

Your employers’ will have based their guidance on Government directives and should be followed.  Your employers’ operating plans are also based on your setting’s individual need.  Two schools in the same local authority or academy trust will not have the exact same set of circumstances.

Because no one outside of your school or organisation knows your unique situation they are therefore not able to give you specific advice; furthermore, it is your employers’ responsibility to risk assess each area of school life including PE.

With that in mind, we are sharing the link to afPE’s advice for schools which can be shared with senior leaders to help shape policy on PESSPA for schools return.  We have collated some of the main points from the document below.

Teaching and Learning

  • Activities should be distanced and non-contact.
  • What are your curriculum priorities, e.g. focusing on activities such as dance, tennis and outdoor education rather than team games?
  • There is no published document of activities that are ‘allowed’ or ‘banned’. Schools must make their own decisions on what to teach.
  • Teach outside where possible.

Protective measures

  • Think about physical and organisational measures such as room layouts and entry to working areas.
  • Share safety messages around the school in posters/message on boards.
  • Smaller group sizes.
  • Reducing and where possible, avoiding sharing equipment.


Schools should have procedures for

  • Cleaning practises of working areas in the school, including halls and outdoor spaces.
  • Cleaning practices of equipment.
  • Personal hygiene protocols including access to soap, water and sanitiser.

Risk assessment

  • COVID 19 is a new threat, so all risk assessments should be updated, including area risk assessments such as the hall and playground (afPE have risk assessment templates available for their members).

Social distancing

  • Plan or adapt activities, so there is no contact between children.
  • Pupils work in zones.
  • Manage entrances and exits to working areas.
  • Children wear kit to school to reduce the need for teacher contact.
  • No jewellery at school at all to reduce children touching their face and, minimize contact with teachers and likely hood of injuries.

At The PE Hub, we are working hard to stay informed with the latest Government information and bring relevant content to our members. These are challenging times, and we want to work together as a sector to solve problems and break down barriers, ensuring children and young people have access to the education they deserve.

If your school needs further support on health and safety matters, we recommend becoming an afPE member.  afPE are at the end of the phone for questions relating to the role and of physical education in your school.  They focus on PE in school life and health and safety.  To find out more about becoming a member visit their website.  There are membership packages for individuals, organisations and schools.




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