PE Insights Episode 11: Faith Newton – Inclusive PE for SEND Children


Welcome to another episode of the PE Insights podcast, where we delve into the realm of physical education. In this conversation, Nathan Walker and his guest, Faith Newton, explore insights around inclusive physical education for children with special needs

Faith Newton’s Journey

Faith, with a unique background as an occupational therapist, shares her journey into the field, driven by personal experiences with disability and inclusion. From academic interests to volunteer work in Afghanistan and eventually becoming an occupational therapist, Faith’s path has been diverse and impactful.

Inclusive PE for SEND Children

The Importance of Physical Education

The conversation shifts to the core question: Why is physical education important? Faith emphasises the crucial connection between the mind and body and points out how societal norms often neglect the significance of movement. Drawing from her personal experiences, she highlights the profound impact of physicality and movement on overall well-being.

Faith’s Book on Inclusive PE

Faith, having authored a book on inclusive physical education for children with special needs, sheds light on her motivations. Inspired by the challenges faced by parents in a support group, she aims to bridge the gap between occupational therapy and physical education, offering practical insights for teachers.

Key Messages for PE Teachers

Faith provides valuable recommendations for physical education teachers:

  1. Understanding Challenges: Acknowledge the complexity of physical education and learn from the lived experiences of children with diverse needs.
  2. Preparation and Communication: Foster a predictable environment by communicating lesson plans to parents and students in advance, reducing anxiety and increasing engagement.
  3. Language and Instructions: Be mindful of language choices, recognising that some students may struggle with verbal processing. Incorporate visuals and videos to enhance understanding.
  4. Consistency and Novelty: Strike a balance between consistency and novelty. While some students thrive on routine, others may benefit from occasional changes to keep things interesting.
  5. Community and Collaboration: Reach out to colleagues, support groups, or online communities to share experiences, seek advice, and collaboratively navigate the challenges of inclusive physical education.


Faith’s insights underscore the need for a holistic approach to physical education, embracing diversity and tailoring practices to meet the unique needs of every student. By fostering an inclusive and adaptable environment, physical education can become a positive and enriching experience for all.

About the Guest

Today’s episode is a conversation with Faith Newton about how we can make PE inclusive for SEND children. Faith is an occupational therapist and a mother of two autistic children, so she has a wealth of understanding and experience of the challenges faced and potential barriers to learning. Faith openly admits that her previous experiences in PE were not great, which led her to write her recently published book Inclusive PE for SEND Children. I hope you enjoy this conversation.

You can connect with Faith directly via X at @FaithSchoolOT

Click here to read a review of Faith’s book, ‘Inclusive PE for SEND Children: a practical guide for teachers’ or purchase by clicking here.

Listen and Connect

To listen to the full episode please follow these links to Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

If you would like to be a guest on the PE Insights Podcast please reach out by contacting us here or reach out to Nathan Walker via X at @NWalkerPE

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