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The New PE National Curriculum: What coaches need to know

The New PE National Curriculum: What coaches need to know

By David Turner: sports coach UK Lead for Coaching Children

By now many of you will be aware that in September 2014, the new PE National Curriculum for Schools across all Key Stages will launch in England. But what does this mean for the many coaches out there that are supporting schools and their staff in their PE provision?

Recently the association for Physical Education (afPE) presented an update to Governing Bodies of Sport at one of sports coach UK’s Partner Training Events.  afPE, along with the Youth Sport Trust, were part of the consultation panel that helped the Department for Education to shape the new Curriculum.  So in this blog I am going to pick out some of the key information from afPE that will help coaches who deliver in schools. 

But before that I thought it may be useful to acknowledge Physical Education as it stands today using some information from the Ofsted Physical Education reportreleased in February 2013.

The promising news is this:

  • Two thirds of Primary Schools are rated good or better and three quarters of Secondary Schools
  • GCSE PE Results have risen
  • PE makes a significant contribution to pupils’ personal well-being, development and enjoyment of school
  • There is still some evidence of the positive impact of School Sport Partnerships

And the not so good?

  • Subject Knowledge and confidence remains an issue in Primary PE delivery as does planning and assessment
  • One fifth of pupils cannot swim by the time they leave Primary School
  • More able pupils not being challenged enough
  • The ‘Physical’ aspect is under-developed: PE needs to do more to tackle sedentary lifestyles

To my mind it seems clear from that update that there are crucial areas where qualified coaches can support schools and teachers in their PE delivery, particularly at Primary School level. 

Another factor to consider is the Government’s recent announcementon additional funding for school sport for the next two years (see the official sports coach UK response here).  It seems likely that this will lead to additional demand for qualified sports coaches in Primary Schools.  Ofsted will be tasked with ensuring the Government receive ‘value for money’ with this additional funding, so coaches will be assessed by the same criteria as teachers.  With that in mind, a sound understanding of the new National Curriculum will be more important than ever for school deployed coaches. 

Ofsted will be looking for teachers AND coaches to raise pupils achievement and promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.  Primarily this will be assessed through lesson observation.  Forgive the shameless plug, but I am sure that any coach who has studied the sports coach UK Coaching Children Curriculumand has begun to embed the ‘C System’ and the principles of ‘Coaching the Whole Child’ into their coaching sessions will be well on their way to satisfying the Ofsted Criteria.

So what does the new Curriculum look like?  Well the aims of the PE National Curriculum are as follows:

  • Develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities
  • Be physically active for sustained periods of time
  • Engage in competitive sports and activities
  • Lead healthy and active lives

The new four Key Stages have been summarised by afPE as follows

Key Stage One

  • Pupils should develop core movement, become increasingly competent and confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their agility, balance and co-ordination, individually and with others
  • They should be able to engage in competitive (both against self and others) and co-operative physical activities, in a range of increasingly challenging situations

Key Stage Two

  • Pupils should continue to implement and develop a broader range of skills, learning how to use them in different ways and to link them to make actions and sequences of movement
  • They should enjoy communicating, collaborating and competing with each other
  • They should develop an understanding of how to succeed in different activities and sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success

Key Stage Three

  • Pupils should build on and embed the physical development and skills learnt in Key Stages 1 & 2, become more competent, confident and expert in their techniques, and apply them across different sports and activities
  • They should understand what makes a performance effective and how to apply these principles to their own and others’ work
  • They should develop the confidence and interest to get involved in exercise and sports and activities out of school and in later life

Key Stage Four

  • Pupils should tackle complex and demanding activities
  • They should get involved in physical activity that is mainly focused on performing, promoting healthy and active lives, or developing personal fitness
  • This could include becoming a specialist or elite performer

The new National Curriculum is out for consultationuntil 16 April 2013 so the above could still be liable to change.  I do recommend that coaches or organisations with coaches deployed in schools respond to the consultation process as this is likely to be the last opportunity to influence the new PE National Curriculum before launch in September 2014.

David Turner

sports coach UK Lead for Coaching Children

[email protected]

Twitter: @David_T_scUK



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