School Logo

Physical Education

Mrs Davies PE Subject Lead     Keith Ferguson PE 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.

Through PE we aim to support this philosophy by:

  • fostering the enjoyment that taking part in physical activity and sport can bring;
  • enabling children to develop and explore physical skills with increasing control and coordination;
  • encouraging children to work independently and with others (pairs/groups);
  • developing the way children perform ‘fundamental’ skills;
  • applying rules and conventions, for different activities;
  • showing children how to improve the quality and control of their performance;
  • teaching children to recognise and describe how their bodies feel during exercise;
  • learning how to make healthy lifestyle choices;
  • developing the children’s enjoyment of physical activity through creativity and imagination;
  • developing an understanding of how to succeed in a range of physical activities, and how to deal with success and loss.


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


Please see the PE Progression of Skills documents (held in school). These outline how key skills are developed, revisited, assessed and built upon during EYFS to Year 6.

Implementation - How are we going to achieve our intent?

All classes take part in 2 hours of National Curriculum PE per week. There are many other ways our physical activity time is enhanced:

* 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. In Key Stage 2, we teach dance, games, gymnastics, swimming and water safety, Outdoor and Adventurous activities and athletics.

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. Within lessons we give children the opportunity both to collaborate and to compete, and they can use a wide range of resources.

In all year groups children have a wide range of physical ability. 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).


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. This is devised from the previous year's breath of coverage in conjunction with the ‘competition calendar’. 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 identified. 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. 


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.


EYFS Physical Development is a prime area of learning. We plan opportunities to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children are also helped to understand the importance of physical activity. They learn to make healthy choices in relation to exercise and food. We aim to deliver this with a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities (see EYFS policy).

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 for those vulnerable to 'not keeping up' saw 100% make expected progress and 50% accelerated progress.


2 – The school offers a broad range of extra curricular provision: boys & girls football, running, circuits, hip hop dance, netball, basketball, start to move, rugby, volleyball, athletics, tennis, Birchwood Boot Camp, cricket, multi sports 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 and Twickenham. Over the last 6 years, utilising the Sports Funding to subsidise the clubs, we have seen a significant rise in the number of pupils engaging with our extended learning opportunities. From 12% in 2012/2013 to 88% in 2019/20 (with 66% take up of more than one club).  In 2019/20, 100% of Pupil Premium children attended extra curricular PE provision. This was fully subsidised from the Sports Premium Funding. 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

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

Over the last year, Birchwood’s School Council 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.  



Team GB sailor, Saskia Clark, delivered an inspirational assembly (July '19) 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. 

The staff have worked tirelessly since Sept’18 on producing ‘Progression of skills,’ documents for every subject taught at Birchwood.  From Writing to Forest School skills.  These documents are kept in school and are available upon request. 

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