“Sometimes people try to forget their PE kit deliberately. You get a detention but sometimes a detention is worth it for avoiding PE.” Dan is 16 and he hates PE. The BBC reports.
By contrast, Liam and James, both 12, were keen enough to be playing table tennis in shorts and T-shirts outside on one of the coldest days of the year..
These very different views sum up why some teachers believe PE is ripe for reform.
Boys like Dan and Olly are a significant and worrying minority, according to Youth Sport Trust chief executive Ali Oliver.
“About 30% of boys don’t enjoy or look forward to physical activity,” she says, quoting a survey published by the charity last year.
Among boys aged 14-16, fewer than half (47%) consider PE skills relevant to their daily lives, and overall, only 16% of boys do the 60 minutes of exercise a day recommended by the government’s chief medical officer.
Clare Curling, head of PE at the school with the hardy table tennis players, began an overhaul of the subject two years ago.
She says that in popular sports, like football, some boys become very skilled, leaving others, like Dan and Olly, with no chance of touching the ball.
“We started questioning why we were doing the activities we were doing, what was the purpose for it and what were the students going to gain from participating in it?
“What’s the point of standing on a field for an hour or two hours each week?”
So PE teaching at Bishop Ramsay has been “flipped”.
They still teach the basics, like catching and football, but lessons also focus on developing characteristics like communication, co-operation, integrity, respect and fair play – crucial to sport and essential in life.
Does PE need an overhaul in your school? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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