At St Mary’s Catholic Primary school we have always endeavoured to provide physical activity during the school day as well as further extra-curricular study. Physical Education develops pupils’ physical competence and confidence as well as their ability to use these to perform a range of activities. For children between the ages of 4-11 it is vital that P.E. is taught correctly and seen as being just as important as the ‘Core’ subjects.
The school currently provides a minimum of 2 hours of P.E. every week which is often boosted by the large amount of free extra-curricular activities that are on offer throughout KS1 and KS2. We have the facilities to provide one indoor lesson and one outdoor lesson with the indoor focusing on gymnastics or dance and the outdoor being games related. Some units focus on a single sporting discipline while others take a multi-skilled approach. In addition, all children have swimming for one term per year at Gorlands Swimming Pool and we are part of the Preston Schools Swimming Gala of which we have won our division two years in a row. Our first half-term in the summer is dedicated to Athletics.
Presently in 2016, we have provided the children with the opportunity to participate in a wide range of sports through curriculum and extra-curricular activities including; Football, Cheerleading, Tennis, Rounders, Gardening, Cross Country, Summer Games and Gymnastics to name but a few. Coupled with this, St Mary’s is linked in with a cluster of other schools in the surrounding areas who compete throughout the year in various tournaments, leagues and festivals which is fantastic for all the children who take part as it teaches them about competition and how to win gracefully as well as lose gracefully as a team. The children have been involved in swimming galas, athletics competitions, gymnastics competitions, rounders tournaments and football tournaments. They have been very successful in working together as a team and developing their skills in different sports and have been able to return to school with awards including bronze, silver and gold!!
Another factor that contributes to our success in promoting physical activity and sporting excellence is our links with outside sporting clubs in the local area. Not only do we have links with other schools, but by having links to the wider community we can ensure that children are getting the best opportunities around with a full widespread choice when it comes to taking part in a sport, whether that is a team or individual one. Children are involved with local gymnastic clubs, tennis clubs, martial arts, football and netball clubs to name but a few.
Our equipment is up to date and regulated each term and new stock is brought each year and it is important that a large part of the budget is allocated towards P.E. provision throughout the school. We are also linked to our transitional secondary school P.E. specialist whom staff members can refer to whenever they may be unsure of a certain aspect of the P.E. side of our curriculum.
Pupils at St Mary’s are able to develop confidence and express their feelings in P.E., as it is a subject in which success does not depend on academic ability. The range of strategies, resources and tasks employed within the context of each P.E. lesson will ensure the needs of each individual child are being met.
Annually, we take the junior children on an outdoor education residential trip that allows them to experience climbing, canoeing, den-building skills etc. We have also recently received into school two den building kits from the Sainsbury’s voucher scheme which will enable the children to use them at playtimes and curriculum times. Towards the end of the Spring Term the whole school went to Whitehough Outdoor Educational Center for the day to enhance their experience of Outdoor and Adventurous Activies (OAA) which is an important part of the PE curruiculum. The children were able to develop their skills in a wide range of OAA’s including orienteering, crate staking, pond dipping, low ropes and den building.
Suzanne Cowburn – PE co-ordinator for St. Mary’s Primary School