In this Blog, PE Partner director Nick Powell looks at how SPIRALPE has developed over the last five years to become a best practice sharing community for schools across the UK.
Our company, PE Partner is now 10 years old. Since its inception in 2009, it has certainly evolved, starting out as football coaching, to dance coaching, sports coaching and physical education. Now we’re not just a coaching company, we’re a PE partner for primary schools across the country.
It’s the same business, with the same ownership and the same guiding principles, to increase and improve experiences of physical activity. Our evolvement has been down to schools and partners asking us for more help. ‘Can you do other sports’… Can you help with dance?’… ‘Can you give us advice on the PE premium?’
We gained a reputation for subject knowledge and quality, receiving enquiries on the back of recommendations, we became far more than just a coaching company. We’ve worked with over 200 hundred schools in the last 10 years and we’re proud that some of the schools we work with today have been with us from the very beginning. We now interact with around 12,000 primary school children every week of term, either through the work our coaches do or through our SPIRALPE PE curriculum and support tools.
As the company grew, it was essential that we maintained our high standards. We knew that if we wanted schools to stay with us for the long-term, we needed to show them that PE with us was everything it should be and that whichever member of our growing team delivering the lessons would be engaging, appropriate and in line with national curriculum.
So around five years ago we began developing our own primary PE curriculum. We discussed our plans with the County Sports Partnership Education team, school sport coordinators and primary head teachers to see what challenges they faced in teaching PE and what they wanted to achieve. This helped us to think about the curriculum in very practical terms – what did it really mean for a busy primary school in terms of equipment; available space, cover teachers, time, resources and pupil engagement levels.
Initially we collated all this information and developed SPIRALPE to support our own coaches to keep our quality high, but soon enthusiastic stakeholders were telling us that it had much wider scope. One conversation with an executive head teacher was the real game changer – he looked through the platform and said that it would meet the needs of schools across the country who were all struggling with the same challenge, giving PE the time and priority, it needs.
The subsequent development of SPIRALPE has been an interesting path. We focused on making it a time saving tool. We wanted it to be very collaborative as we had a lot of brilliant people around the table and we wanted them all to have a voice, so we made an early decision to build it online, essentially so that it can be adapted, updated and have new ideas added to it all the time. With our online system a PE subject leader in Cornwall can suggest something like a new game or feature and schools and pupils across the country immediately benefit. Likewise, if there is a national curriculum change from government, it’s easy to adapt the lessons and everyone in the SPIRALPE community receives those changes in real time.
The reaction has been fantastic and now SPIRALPE is trusted by schools across the country and we are excited to be working with the very best education supplier YPO, to help even more schools join the community and get the benefits.
It’s about spreading the word, sharing best practice and giving pupils positive experiences of PE and physical activity. That’s why we started the company a decade ago and that’s why we continue to do what we do.
To find out more about the SPIRAL PE Platform visit www.ypo.co.uk/education/sport/spiral-pe