Making the case for investment in PE and School Sport


‘The times they are a changing’ and PE and school sport is once more fighting for its share of an ever shrinking pie. How then do we make the case for investment?

In November 2010, the coalition government produced the schools White Paper: ‘The Importance of Teaching’ which set out a radical reform programme for the schools system. Amongst the proposals were two of particular significance:

  • Reforming teacher training and supporting professional development
  • Ofsted returning to inspecting schools’ core purpose


Professional Development

The White Paper outlines plans to deepen subject knowledge and improve teaching skills for new and existing teachers and recommends the use of observation as central to this approach.

Research into continuous professional development provision for PE Teachers undertaken by Loughborough University in April 2010 supports this recommendation and it also found that:

  • PE teachers prefer to learn with and from teachers in their own school
  • PE teachers are keen to focus learning on the needs and challenges of their own pupils and schools
  • PE Teachers’ own and their Schools’ CPD needs are not being met by current CPD provision
  • Access to training off-site is constrained by cost, time, and travelling difficulties
  • Changes to the PE curriculum in recent years have been numerous but little has changed in practice
  • PE teachers’ career profiles do not demonstrate a clear pattern of development
  • There is a lack of information about the relationship between teachers’ CPD and pupils’ performance in PE and beyond.

At Podium we see this as a timely opportunity to review CPD provision for PE Teachers (and indeed all school staff) and transform training programmes to reflect the needs of the workforce.  We believe that a needs-led programme of professional development involving opportunities to accommodate a variety of learning styles (eg.  presentations, group activities, problem solving, observation, peer mentoring, and professional discussion) and which inspires teachers and contributes to career progression is vital in improving the quality of teaching and in turn pupil achievement, school leadership and pupil behaviour. 


Revised Inspection Arrangements

From September 2011, Ofsted will consult on a new framework with a focus on the following four things:

  • Pupil achievement
  • The quality of teaching
  • Leadership and management
  • The behaviour and safety of pupils

The coalition government has not hidden its desire for a greater focus on numeracy and literacy and perhaps we now need to re-position PE and school sport to demonstrate and evidence how young people learn through ‘the physical’.  There are countless examples where physical activity has been used to improve reading and writing but there is still a dearth of reliable evidence of impact. At Podium we are working with Northamptonshire Local Delivery Agency and the Extended Schools team to identify evidence of the use of ‘the physical’ to improve levels of attainment and achievement amongst under-performing students.

For further information contact Andrea Kemp