Transformative PE

what one thing for PE

Here we are in 2023 and the language of High-Quality Physical Education or Outstanding PE seems to have shifted again towards ‘Transformative PE’ but what does that really mean? I am looking forward to joining the afPE webinar on 25th May 2023 to see what they think and I have certainly heard brief mention of it in recent DfE comms but, for what it’s worth, here are a few musings from me.

As Lauren Bacall once said, “standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world” and that is certainly true within education. If the offer in PE looks very similar to the diet provided 10 or more years ago, or even just before COVID-19 then I would suggest it is most likely out of date and not serving today’s needs of students in your context. Every year subject leaders will make tweaks and small adjustments to their curriculum offer but what if something more revolutionary, more transformative is needed? Back when I was working full time for the Youth Sport Trust I often referred to the idea of ‘World Leading PE’ and about half way down this post you can find links to a blog series I wrote to explore the steps to achieving just that. Whilst some of those ideas are still very relevant, there are certainly plenty of things I would write now if I was to repeat the process.

Perhaps this short video is the best way of articulating some of those thoughts?

Within that video I refer to a number of areas of research that have deepened my understand and stretched my thinking when it comes to transformative PE. Here are a few links you will want to check out:

As always, @ImSporticus has also released a recent blog drawing on insight from Catherine Ennis and ‘the 4 Ms of Transformative PE Curricula’ – check it out here.

You may also find some useful insight from Sheffield Hallam Universities February 2023 report on Sport England’s Secondary Teacher Training Programme that is available here. We have really enjoyed being a part of this programme. The case studies will be of particular interest along with the importance of student voice to inform change. On page 32 the following ten top tips for schools are shared:

  1. Create a shared vision between SLT and staff and link SLT into the project.
  2. Go back to basics, be open-minded – try things out without fear of failure.
  3. Strengthen partnerships and community links.
  4. Establish ways to support each other.
  5. Empower students.
  6. You can have both! – social and participatory activities and competition.
  7. Have a strong school vision statement with the role of physical activity explicit within this.
  8. Raise the profile.
  9. Plan for sustainability.
  10. Re-think role models and inspiration

I hope that has proved insightful, if it has left you hungry for more then why not follow in the footsteps of hundreds of PE curriculum leaders who have accessed our blended learning courses. We have a 100% record of previous participants on our Awesome PE or our PE Curriculum Design Programme who would recommend it to others.

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