What do primary teachers do when they get stuck with PE? Call in an external specialist sports coach or attend a one day training course with glitzy free resources? Resources that end up mostly unread, with ideas largely unimplemented and often gathering dust on a shelf in the staffroom?
Since the inception of School Sport Partnerships, School Sport Co-ordinators, Competition Mangers, and now School Games Organisers, there have been a plethora of external specialists and initiatives eager to direct what happens in your school’s PE lessons and extra-curricular school sport, either to tell teachers how to do it or to take over completely.
But what if there was another way? A sustainable way to improve teacher performance and confidence that turns not to outsiders and their flashy resources, but instead looks inwards?
A way that utilizes that most critical asset that your school already has?
They turn up to work at your school every day, and are the people who hold the key to the development of teaching andlearning in all lessons, not just in PE.
Teachers – the men and women who you trust to deliver the rest of the curriculum.
They’re already well qualified specialists in teaching and learning, and authorities on your children, aren’t they?
And as school leaders already know, when you believe in teachers’ potential and give them the freedom to find solutions and permission to share their thinking, you liberate their creativity.
Effective leaders also know that coaching and mentoring teachers in their own setting, with their own pupils and their own resources allows them to develop their own teaching while being supported to explore new ways of doing things.
As an independent coach and mentor of teachers, I’ve been working in the UK and Malta with a range of primary and secondary school teachers, and I’ve witnessed the difference it has made to their teaching, and more importantly to the quality of the education the pupils are receiving.
And having worked in education for 26 years, 24 of them in the PE and school sport – as a PE teacher, as an advisory teacher in PE, a TOPs trainer, a lecturer in primary PE and a School Sport Partnership manager – I have see a lot of initiatives come and go – short term sticking plasters providing unsustainable quick fix solutions.
Headteachers of Primary Schools in England have recently received an allocation of money to develop PE and school sport. The question now is – how will they choose to spend it to show value for money for all pupils, rather than just those who can attend after school sports? A one day PE course for a couple of teachers? A football coach for a handful of pupils? Or a sustainable way to develop all staff to make a difference to all the young people in the school?