Top tips for teaching outstanding PE lessons

Children enjoying an outdoor PE lesson planned using the pe hub primary pe scheme

There is no magic bullet or fool-proof strategy for teaching outstanding PE. As Ofsted itself says, ‘There are many routes to excellence’.  Ofsted is clear, however, on what they require for a lesson to be ‘outstanding’. This article examines some of the features that should be present in your lessons and primary PE scheme to help ensure excellent teaching and learning.

High Expectations

A common pitfall for primary teachers is that they don’t apply their teaching skills to PE as they would other subjects.  Just as you would for literacy or numeracy, set high expectations for pupils; so this starts with progressive and inclusive lesson objectives that set the tone for the lesson and the use of a quality primary PE scheme.

Time on activity

There’s no substitute for time on an activity which generates commitment to learning.  Aim to reduce your teacher-speak to 10-15% and allow children to be ‘doing’ for 85-90% of the time.  Appropriate organisation, explanation and demonstration is key to making this a success. (We will look at this in more depth in a future post.)

Check understanding/progression

Show what ‘good’ looks like through clear modelling. In PE terms this could be a specific skill, a passage of play, or a compositional idea. Defined teaching points are necessary to check for understanding and show progress. These should be used for each skill or concept taught.

Use mini-plenaries to check pupils’ progress; don’t wait till the end of the lesson to find out what they have or have not achieved.  Assessment for learning in PE is an absolute must for outstanding teaching, including sharp questioning related to the AFL task.

Teaching Strategies using a primary PE scheme

Ofsted says outstanding lessons have ‘well-judged and often inspirational teaching strategies’… with a little planning, this can be achieved. Show children what is possible (what good looks like), show them how to achieve it (key teaching points and demonstration), allow them to experience, explore and learn for themselves (time to practice and make mistakes/refine).

When PE is well planned with a clear vision over the short and medium term, teachers are free to intervene and change, challenge or direct pupils; this is when real progress happens, and deeper connections between the teacher and pupils are made.

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