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Physical Education

        Mr Spridgeon                       Mr A Wilesmith

       PE Subject Lead                 Subject Governor

Intent - What do we want children to learn?

We intend that every child, irrelevant of their needs, develops a passion for Physical Education. We aspire for them to seek out and embrace the wide range of sporting opportunities provided at Birchwood and take up clubs further afield. We aim for every pupil:

to become technically proficient

wholeheartedly drive both competitive and non-competitive sporting opportunities

to lead a healthy lifestyle.

  • Become technically proficient – know how to safely and successfully complete movements and actions. The fundamental movement vocabulary (skills) that form the building blocks of sport specific motor movements contain flexible knowledge (e.g. throwing, catching, running etc) but this knowledge is situated within each sport (e.g. throwing and catching a rounders ball requires a different technique to throwing and catching a netball). Children will be able to describe using the correct vocabulary what a movement is called, what it looks like when completed successfully and when it is used.
  • Wholeheartedly drive both competitive and non-competitive sporting opportunities – know how to safely and successfully apply the conventions, rules, regulations, techniques and strategies that are specific to participation in the activity/sport to hand. Some elements of this knowledge are flexible (e.g. the concept of attack and defence in invasion games). Children will be able to describe what the tactic, rule or strategy is called, what it looks like in practice and when it is used.
  • To lead a healthy lifestyle – know the exercise and health benefits of the activity/sport, how to participate in the activity and how to participate to improve success.


At Birchwood, we know that children learn best when the curriculum is well sequenced. Children revisit core knowledge, skills, understanding and vocabulary to deepen conceptual awareness. This can be applied across all curriculum areas.


Please see the PE Progression of Skills documents on the school website. These outline how key skills are developed, revisited, assessed and built upon during EYFS to Year 6. Subject specialists have been involved in the creation of this curriculum and the CPD identified to support teacher confidence and competence.

Implementation - How are we going to achieve our intent?

All classes take part in a minimum of 2 hours of National Curriculum PE, School Sport and Physical Activity per week. There are many other ways that are used to complement and reinforce the importance of movement and exercise. For examples:

* the class ‘2km a day’

* break and lunch time play equipment/ Play Leader sessions

* Forest School time

* Residential/non-residential educational visits

* Masterclasses

* Garden Gang

* A wide range of extracurricular opportunities.

As required in the National Curriculum, we teach dance, games and gymnastics at Key Stage 1, with the addition of athletics and OAA. In Key Stage 2, we teach dance, games, gymnastics, swimming and water safety, Outdoor and Adventurous Activities (OAA) and athletics.


The curriculum is planned so there is/are:

  • Coverage of different forms of movement, applying in varying contexts, and that these develop in complexity
  • Similar and contrasting activities selected and taught to enable elements of transfer of flexible knowledge, revisiting and development of key concepts and content
  • Accurate motor movement knowledge mastered in isolation prior to ‘performance’ of knowledge in a pressurised situation
  • Clearly identified movement pattern knowledge takes pupils beyond the knowledge they would be exposed to at home
  • Increasingly complex motor movements taught
  • Fundamental movement skills that form the foundation of many sporting movements
  • Progression of generic skills such as resilience, character and teamwork
  • New content is explicitly linked to prior learning

Key vocabulary, concepts and processes provide a clearly identifiable subject spine. Subject knowledge becomes increasingly complex over time. Challenge for pupils is also in the form of increased transfer of knowledge into different activities/sports. All pupils are challenged in lessons.


The curriculum planning in PE is carried out in three phases (long-term, medium-term and short-term). The long-term plan maps out the PE activities covered in each term during the key stage. Length of units taught provide enough time for progress in knowing more, remembering more and doing more. Whilst variety is important for motivation, variety with no time to learn is not enjoyable because limited proficiency is developed. The subject lead has devised her own Progression of Skills Grid that tailors NC delivery to our Wheel of Wisdom curriculum. Assessment opportunities, subject specific vocabulary, golden nuggets and cross curricular links are carefully planned. Using this, class teachers complete a short-term plan for each PE unit of work. This lists the specific curriculum goals and expected outcomes and gives details of how the lesson is to be taught. Any areas for development pinpointed using the school’s assessment tool, direct the short term planning that follows (e.g. Summer ’21 striking and fielding foci).


We plan PE activities so that they build upon the prior learning of the children. Children of all abilities develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in each activity area. Pre teaching and progression is planned for, so that children are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school.


At Birchwood we use a variety of teaching and learning styles in PE lessons. Our principal aim is to develop the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding. We do this through a mixture of whole class teaching and individual, pair or group activities. Teachers draw attention to good examples of individual performance as models for the other children. We encourage children to evaluate their own work as well as the work of other children. Children can confidently analyse, discuss, critically observe and debate because they have a broad and secure knowledge of the sport/activity. Within lessons we give children the opportunity both to collaborate and to compete. Competition is framed not solely as ‘winning is most important’ but also achieving own personal bests, improvement over time and using competition to stretch and challenge yourself.


In all year groups teachers provide inclusive, adapted, modified or separate activities or approaches to learning. Teachers have specific knowledge of the abilities of all pupils and have determined clear educational, developmental, health-related and (where required) therapeutic goals. We provide suitable learning opportunities for ALL children by personalising the curriculum intentions to meet their needs.  We may: 

  • set common tasks that are open-ended and can have a variety of results (e.g. timed events, such as an 80m sprint);
  • set tasks of increasing difficulty, where not all children complete all tasks (e.g. deep-water swimming);
  • group children by ability, and setting different tasks for each group (e.g. masterclass provision, SEND Panathlon);
  • provide challenge through the provision of different resources (e.g. different gymnastics equipment, scarves to assist catching, batting tees etc).

Impact - What will it look like when we have achieved our intent?

There are literally hundreds of ways we can demonstrate the excellent impact our curriculum design has on our pupils. In a nutshell, here are some examples:

1 -A significant use of the Sports funding allocated to the school has been used to establish a masterclass program at three tiers of ability:

* the talented

* those meeting expectations

* those vulnerable to not keeping up.

The program involves initial talent identification. Personalised learning plans are written. Termly reports are shared with parents (including bespoke PE parent consultations). Family learning together sessions increase awareness. Collaborative masterclass work with other schools raise levels of challenge.  “The ‘masterclasses’ that many pupils take part in for tennis, for example, not only demonstrate the variety of activities that pupils experience, but also the amazing outcomes that they are capable of” (OFSTED).  Over the last year, the masterclass program (detailed above) saw 96% make expected progress and 100% achieving EXS with 57% reaching GDS. 


2 – The school offers a broad range of extra curricular provision: boys & girls football, running, street dance, netball, basketball, start to move, rugby, volleyball, athletics, tennis, Birchwood Boot Camp, cricket, multi sports, gardening, gymnastics and cycling to name a few!  Curriculum time ‘taster sessions’ promote interest (the increasing ‘take up’ statistics show this has been a real success).  Intra School Competitions introduce the children to ‘competing’ against those they know. Inter School Competitions see pupils compete against other schools, at local, regional and national level.  Teams represent the majority of the ‘clubs’ mentioned above. Additional entries are made into ‘friendly’ tournaments. Pupils compete and represent Birchwood nationally eg - national gymnastics floor champion, national ballroom champion, national squash champion. Masterclass pupils regularly attend Wimbledon, the O2 ATP tennis finals and Twickenham. Over the last 6 years, utilising the Sports Funding to subsidise the clubs, we have seen a very high uptake of pupils engaged in extra-curricular clubs e.g. 2019 pre Covid 96% of all pupils took up at least 1 extra-curricular club. Despite 2 terms of restricted ‘bubbled year group only’ clubs 2021-22, we are delighted that 81% took up at least 1 extra-curricular club and 52% attended more than 1 opportunity. 88% of pupils in the school participate in ‘organised’ sport provision outside of school time. A book mark of pupils' names that haven't attended an extra curricular sports club over an academic year is given to the Play Leaders at lunchtimes. They seek to harness their engagement in physically active lunchtime activities.     


3 - It is widely recognised that Obesity is a serious health concern for children living in the UK. Government findings suggest the problem begins early. Excess weight is gained before a child starts school. 22% of Reception aged children are overweight or obese across England. 34% of Y6 children are overweight or obese across England according to 2020 PHE measures. Once established, obesity tracks through childhood and adolescence. This is a major concern as being overweight or obese is associated with adverse health outcomes both in the short and long term. It can have adverse effects on educational attainment and lifetime achievement.  Improving dietary choices and increasing activity levels are key to this agenda... Physical Activity is a ‘Birchwood Bolt’. 

Physical Activity is an inherent part of our school ethos. Alongside the other three Bolts (Forest School, Plot to Plate and Pupil Voice), children are encouraged and supported to make healthy lifestyle choices. Pupil voice initiatives encourage every child to seek out more ways to lead a healthy lifestyle:

* child designed class 2km a day

* our ‘get active’ poster campaign

* Play leaders

* Garden Gang, Chicken Monitors and Head Gardeners nurture of healthy produce for our school lunches etc

Over the last year, Birchwood’s Sports Crew have designed an activity and equipment rota to promote active play and lunchtimes. Their favourite day is scooter day!  The school's Senior Leadership Team were invited to 10 Downing Street to talk to Ministers about how the school is so positively and so successfully promoting active and healthy lifestyles.  

"Pupils and staff talk highly about their experiences and share the importance of PESSPA and how it improves their physical health and mental well-being" AfPE findings July '22.

Team GB sailor, Saskia Clark, delivered an inspirational assembly addressing the benefits of eating healthy food and exercising. Saskia talked to the pupils about her experience of the Olympics and took them through her challenging training regime. 

Team GB discus thrower, Bill Tancred, delivered a motivational assembly inspiring us to play sport, specialise in sport, accept and overcome disappointments by working hard. Bill talked about discovering he was good at throwing on Felixstowe beach and how his hard work ended up giving him opportunities to compete around the world, including in the Olympics. 

Click here for our Progression of Skills, Knowledge, Understanding and Vocabulary documents. These sequencing documents show how knowledge builds from EYFS year by year to the end of Y6 so that children know more and remember more. 

More information about Birchwood's PE and Physical Activity work can be found by following these links...