Health Week 2021
Staff: Miss Bell & Mrs Hill
At Pilling St John's we are passionate about PE. We believe that good physical and mental health are vital for our children’s development and that our PE curriculum enables children to both understand the benefits of and develop their own physical and mental health. We try to ensure our curriculum is as wide and varied as possible to give every child the chance to find the sport or activity that will spark their interest and help them on their individual journeys to good physical and mental wellbeing.
Alongside dance and gymnastics, children in EYFS and KS1 focus on developing the 10 key functional skills for PE. These are: running, hoping, skipping, jumping, throwing over arm, throwing underarm, catching, rolling a ball, bouncing a ball and kicking a ball. These key skills underpin a wide variety of sports. On entering KS2 children continue to develop these skills and begin to target them towards a range of sports. They also look at tactics and strategies for different sports and how to work both independently and as part of a team.
At Pilling children are expected to attend school on their PE day in full kit. This includes trainers, black shorts, leggings or tracksuit bottoms a white t-shirt and either a green jumper or school PE hoodie. Wearing a uniform helps foster a spirit of togetherness as part of a team and means that no PE curriculum time is lost to getting changed. By having a designated PE day it raises the status of PE throughout the school and adds the potential for a PE focus to other lessons during the day too.
Children are able to access a variety of extra-curricular clubs as well as competitions at Pilling St Johns. These are run by staff, volunteers and outside organisations throughout the year. These vary from sports clubs, where specific technical skills are developed; taster sessions to introduce new activities and multi-skills clubs where children focus on core PE skills in a friendly non-competitive environment.
Throughout the school children are offered the chance to take part in inter and intra schools competitions, events and sports days. We believe that engaging in competitions gives our children the chance to experience all aspects of competition. From the joys of winning or being part of a well-functioning team, personal triumphs and victories, the pride of representing a class or school,, the desire to improve for the future, technical proficiency, the importance of losing gracefully, evaluating own and team performance and developing good all round sportsman and sports-womanship. By entering external competitions children also get the chance to meet others who are interested in the same sports as them, gifted coaches and competition organisers and begin to develop relationships with our local high schools and other children who will be joining them when they start there.
Through PE lessons, clubs and competitions children develop the important traits of resilience, self-belief, team work, confidence, a good work ethic and pride in their contributions. These skills can be transferred into both other aspects of school and classroom learning and into real world situations away from school in the wider community.
Staff are encouraged to take a cross-curricular approach, both using topics of work as a focus for PE sessions and to integrate PE activities into classroom based lessons. This is particularly useful for those children who are physical learners and can help them to access areas of the curriculum they might otherwise find tricky.
Staff regularly take part in CPD to up-skill themselves in PE. This can be through attending courses, workshops or by working alongside a coach within PE lessons themselves. Children not only benefit from this improvement in teaching skills but by seeing that even as adults we are learning and developing our own skills all the time. By acting as role models and fully engaging in PE, staff help encourage children to become enthused and excited about this part of their curriculum.
With regards to safety, our KS2 children attend swimming lessons to ensure they are water safe, confident and able to swim 25m by the time they leave our school. We also work in tandem with outside agencies to provide safer cycling proficiency sessions for our upper KS2 children. These, along with road safety sessions provided throughout the school help our children to feel confident and safe when travelling around our community both independently and with others.
As well as mainstream PE and sports, the children at Pilling St Johns have access to our Forest Schools provision on a weekly basis along with an OAA weekend in upper KS2. Children use this time to explore their natural environment, bond with their classmates, develop new and existing physical skills and grow in confidence. The mental health benefits of being out in nature are well documented and help provide our children with time to reflect and evaluate on their own wellbeing, learning and development in a supportive and calming environment. For some children, attending the OAA weekend may be the first time they are away from home. Over the course of a weekend children push themselves and each other to reach new goals and develop comradery, revelling in each other’s successes, supporting and encouraging their classmates in the face of challenges. Children often return to school from these weekends with new found confidence, self-belief and a strong team bond.
Finally, once a year we hold a whole school health week with a different focus each year. This week can be used as both a springboard for developing PE and new interests and provides the opportunity for reflection on PE practice, skills development and growth throughout the year. During this week external coaches are invited into school alongside staff lead sessions all of which have a focus on developing children’s physical and mental health. We try to look at all aspects of health from emotional wellbeing to health cookery and physical fitness in an exciting and engaging way. From archery to zumba, you name it, we’ll give anything a go!