Physical Education Concept Curriculum for Key Stage 3 and 4


A complete Physical Education Concept Curriculum for Key Stage 3 & 4 that explores big ideas and cross-cutting themes through physical education; a contemporary approach to curriculum design.

This fully-editable package contains 19 carefully constructed learning schemes for Years 7-11, comprising over 170 detailed lesson plans.

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  • Does your physical education curriculum truly meet the needs of every student?
  • Does your current curriculum meet your own and your departments ‘Why?’
  • Does your curriculum nurture physical literacy?
  • Is PE valued in your school?

If your answer to any of the above is “no” then your PE curriculum needs to change.

What is a concept curriculum?

A Concept Curriculum is an approach to curriculum design that moves away from subject-specific content and instead emphasises “big ideas” that span multiple subject areas or disciplines.

Why adopt a concepts approach?

A conceptual approach offers an alternative to the traditional sport and skills-based approach to physical education curriculum design and delivery. The sport and physical activity becomes the vehicle through which the concept is delivered and developed.

By shifting the focus of the curriculum and success criteria of each lesson, we are doing so much more than getting students active, we are teaching relevant life skills, developing stronger connections to physical activity and improving the experiences within PE for every child.

The evidence

  • Only 51% of students strongly agreed to enjoying sport (Sport England, 2019)
  • 1 in 10 children suffer with a mental health disorder (MHF, 2019)
  • 47.7% of young people met the Chief Medical Officers recommendation of 60 minutes physical activity per day (Sport England, 2019).
  • 88% of businesses believe school leavers are not prepared for work (British Chamber of Commerce, 2014).
  • 38% of secondary schools had cut PE lesson time to allow more time for more ‘academic’ subjects like English and Maths. (YST, 2018)
  • Only 10% of students are considered to be ‘Sports Enthusiasts’ (Sport England, 2017). The remaining 90% are not solely motivated by competitive sport.

Why not?

PE has an opportunity like never before to re-examine what our has to offer.

33% of students have poor body confidence (Youth Sport Trust, 2019), so let’s teach self-esteem and self-worth. 92% of students suffer from exam stress, so coping skills, resilience and mental health units are a must.

Inactivity and childhood obesity are higher than ever, so planning and delivering units of work on diet and long-term benefits of physical activity are essential.

Competition for jobs is tougher now so why not teach employability skills, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills?

A concept is a powerful idea that can replace a performance focused objective and therefore enable all to succeed in their own way.

As physical educators, how can we leave physical education in a better place than we found it? What is going to be our legacy?

Physical Education Concept Curriculum

The content within this resource package has been designed to work alongside existing sport/activity schemes of work and each unit, comprising of 9 lessons, and can be delivered in the order the teacher decides best work with the practical activity.

Depending on how the hours of PE are allocated within your school, the method of delivery can vary. If you have two individual hours of PE per week then this curriculum can form one hour per week. There is enough content to be delivered for a double lesson (2 hours) if required. Termly swaps, fortnightly or any other variations of delivery can also be implemented effectively.

We really hope this resource supports you in transforming your curriculum offer and ultimately making a bigger difference to more children and young people’s lives.

What’s included?

This resource contains the following:

  • Physical Education Curriculum Map
  • Year Curriculum Road Map
  • 19 x individual Units of Work
  • 171 x individual Lesson Plans
  • Templates to create your own Concept Curriculum Unit

Package Overview

For a detailed overview of what’s in the PE Concept Curriculum package, please see the User Guide [PDF].


“I started using this physical education curriculum during my training year as it was something the school had implemented. Prior to starting my PE teaching career, I admit that I thought PE teaching was all different sports and supporting students to get better in these sports. I now understand, through the concept curriculum, PE to be so much more than just sport.

Following the acquire, connect and transfer (Stern, J., et. al., 2021) phases of the lesson plans, I was easily able to apply a concept to each of my practical lessons. I was able to apply any of the concepts to the sport or activity I was due to deliver and it genuinely improved my teaching and ensured all students took valuable learning from my lessons. Having spoken to other trainee teachers on my PGCE course, I know they were frustrated with the lack of impact a sport-focused curriculum was having. I was able to share my experiences with the concept curriculum and many wanted to adopt this approach. I truly believe this is the future of PE, so much so, I decided to write my PGCE assignment on the impact adopting a concept curriculum has had.

I can’t recommend the concept curriculum enough. I have been fortunate to land my first teaching role in a new school and I will certainly be looking to implement this curriculum in my new school too”.

Matt Ensby (trainee teacher/NQT)

“PE has never been one of my ‘really looking forward to’ type of subjects. However, this year, I want to have PE every single day! PE, even in school, nowadays is so much fun. It isn’t based on a sport-oriented lesson (everyone might not have the skills to play that sport) but now is based on lifelong skills and concepts through physical activity which is really cool. Recently, we learnt about reducing the risks of cancer and the strengthening of bones and muscles because of physical exercise. My group decided to do a circuit training activity this week. The fun activities we’ve done in previous weeks include an escape room themed workout. That was probably the most fun I’ve had doing exercise!

I like how we learn theoretical stuff as well and make connections to other subjects like biology, which actually helps me understand some of the biology topics better I.e. respiration, risk of disease etc. Fitness has never been so much more inviting and fun! I really like the style of it now!”

 Teju Vangapally – Year 10 Student (going into Year 11)