Navbar button The Headteacher

10 Ways To…Improve Your School PE Facilities

February 9, 2018, 14:48 GMT+1
Read in about 4 minutes
  • Dan Wilson talks us through what schools can do to ensure their pupils have access to safe and effective PE facilities
10 Ways To…Improve Your School PE Facilities

1. Let your kids be creative

Offer plenty of opportunities for environmental exploration that’s as unrestricted as possible. Ways of achieving this indoors can include installing wall bars and bouldering walls indoors, and encouraging freedom outside with multi directional rope climbing frames.

2. Staff training is vital

When making any large investments in sports facilities and equipment, schools should ensure that staff are given training in how to use it effectively. Many teachers can feel insecure when supervising PE lessons due to lack of knowledge and confidence when using apparatus.

3. You have ‘pe classrooms’

Think of your school hall and playground as extensions of the classroom. Are there displays of pupil’s work? How can learning intentions be clearly observed? Are the resources you’ll need for the lesson suitable for use in the space, and are they easily accessible?

4. Carry out safety checks

It’s an absolute necessity to ensure that all of your equipment is health and safety checked annually. Any condemned equipment should be removed immediately (and certainly not left in the hall and repurposed to provide extra seating for pupils during assemblies).

5. Try to include everyone

Ensuring increased physical activity levels for all pupils has become a government priority. Make sure that your equipment and environments cater to the interests of everyone, not just the most sporty, and encourage the least active to move more as much as you can.

6. Exercise at break times

Analyse your playground at break time and see who’s doing what. Where are your pupils? Does break time offer inclusive opportunities for taking part in physical exercise, or do certain groups dominate the space? Consider zoning areas for specific activities.

7. Apply a lick of paint

Line markings are key to making your pupils embrace a playground’s potential for fun, physical activity. Drab, discoloured paint will do nothing to inspire them. A bright, creative and engaging system of line markings can enhance your curriculum and encourage pupils to be more active at break times.

8. Secure your green spaces

Fields are a luxury. If your school’s lucky enough to have one, make sure the pupils can use it all year round. Get good drainage installed, build pathways so that everyone has access and ensure that the areas are properly fenced off, so as to prevent the public (and their dogs) from wandering in and spoiling them.

9. Consider your timetabling

Many PE lessons are cut short due to pressures from others in school to release the space for assemblies and lunchtimes. It’s not fair to have this impact on the same classes every week, so consider putting in place a rotating timetable for hall use, or doing elements of PE lessons (warm up, plenary) in the classroom.

10. Acknowledge pupils’ pe achievements

Celebrating success can be incredibly motivating, but it’s rarely done in PE where many (often less academic) pupils, can really demonstrate their abilities. Every school should have at least one display board specifically for PE (distinct from the sports teams), where photos and other evidence can be shared with the rest of the school community.

Dan Wilson is lead for education and school sport at the Yorkshire Sport Foundation