Schools need to recognise the power of sport
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Schools need to recognise the power of sport

07 September 2016 By Fiona Wilkins, Corporate Communications Manager

Paralympics athletes

Our communications manager Fiona Wilkins talks to Sue Wilkinson and Eileen Marchant from the afPE about a few current issues facing PE teachers.

With the Paralympics starting today, and the fantastic summer of sport a not so distant memory, it’s no wonder we’re all feeling inspired. From the Euros, to Wimbledon and to Team GB’s best performing Olympics, we’ve witnessed some outstanding sporting achievements.

Smack bang in the middle of the all the fantastic sporting feats this summer, YPO was also throwing itself into sport – or more specifically school PE – which for many (if not all) of our sporting heroes, is where it all began.

Back in July, we attended the annual Association for Physical Education (afPE) conference which saw around 200 PE teachers come together to discuss all the latest updates and news from the sector. The theme was ‘moving muscles hearts and minds’ – to show the cognitive link between the emotional, physical well-being.

A week after the event, we were lucky enough to welcome Sue Wilkinson and Eileen Marchant from the afPE to YPO who were on site to deliver a CPD course. I managed to grab them for a quick chat during their lunch break…

Sue and Eileen told me how well the conference went which attracted the likes of Professor Paul Gately, Steve Parry, Rebecca Adlington, Blair Palmer and Andy Cope. We also discussed some of the challenges that PE teachers are facing which includes the lack of focus on PE compared to subjects like Maths and English.

“There’s research out there proving that children, who are more active and healthy, do better academically. If schools aren’t doing so well in literacy and numeracy, perhaps they should look at the impact that PE can have on results and achievement,” said Sue.

“Another challenge for schools is making sure that all equipment can be adapted and modified to include all children. It’s not just a football, it’s a variety of balls – there needs to be inclusions for all. Equipment needs to be modified for different competences, rather than age.”

Eileen added: “It needs to start with in playground – if the playground is organised, life is so much easier. Markings and cages to keep equipment in is a good starting point. A strategy for playtime/breaks needs to be in place which doesn’t just involving bashing a football around – there needs to be affordable bats, skipping ropes and a bag of balls – meeting the needs of all children.”

The afPE is the voice for people and organisations delivering or supporting the provision of physical education in schools and the wider community. It provides quality assured resources and services and acts to promote high standards and safe practices.

The association also produces the definitive guide on safe practices which uses a P.I.E. model, standing for Preventing (injury through good organisation), Informing (about hazards and risks) and Educating (students about recognising risk and how to work safely).

Find out more at

Categories: Education

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