What PE means at St Thomas…

Physical Education is “education through the physical”. It aims to develop physical competence and knowledge of movement and safety, and the ability to use these to perform in a wide range of activities associated with the development of an active and healthy lifestyle.

PE at St Thomas...

We believe that through physically demanding activities pupils can be inspired to become confident individuals. They can learn to set themselves goals and be proud of what they have achieved. Children can learn values such as fairness and respect for others through participating in pair, group or team activities.

We aim to provide all children with a high quality physical education. We ensure:

  • All children engage in physical activity for sustained periods of time (minimum of 2 hours per week)
  • All children are taught basic skills
  • All children have opportunities to develop their basic skills and apply them to a range of activities including athletics, games and outdoor adventure activities. And an even wider range of co-curricular activities through dance, gymnastics, swimming etc
  • All children have opportunities to engage in competitive sport.
  • All children understand and can make healthy choices.

The school has close links with other schools and there are opportunities for KS2 children to participate in inter school sport activities. These include local leagues and friendly matches for football, netball, cross country, tag rugby, athletics, swimming and many more.

The school encourages all children to engage in a range of after school activity clubs provided by our own staff and by outside agencies – a full list can be found in the Extended schools pages of the website.

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We intend that every child, irrelevant of their needs, develops a passion for Physical Education (PE). We aspire for them to seek out and embrace the wide range of sporting opportunities provided at St Thomas’ and take up clubs further afield.


We aim for every pupil to become technically proficient using our S=P+A+C+E for learning, to lead a healthy lifestyle including S=P+A+C+E for Me and to wholeheartedly experience both competitive and non-competitive sporting opportunities.


Through PE we aim to support this philosophy by fostering the enjoyment that taking part in physical activity and sport can bring, enabling children to develop and explore physical skills with increasing control and coordination. We encourage children to work independently and collaboratively (pairs/groups), developing the way they perform ‘fundamental’ skills and apply rules and conventions for different activities.


We also focus on showing our children how to improve the quality and control of their performance by giving opportunities to Rediscover their prior learning and explore a range of Going Deeper Challenges. Learning Reflections are important throughout each PE lesson and aim to provide children with their next steps to develop their skills. Our S=P+A+C+E for Learning approach develops the children’s enjoyment of physical activity through creativity and imagination whilst our SPACE for ME approach supports an an understanding of how to succeed in a range of physical activities, and how to deal with success and loss.


All classes take part in at least 2 hours of National Curriculum PE/Physical activity per week. There are many other ways our physical activity time is enhanced including the class ’10 min walk’, break and lunch time play equipment/ Play Leader sessions, residential/non-residential educational visits, gardening and a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities.


As required in the National Curriculum, we teach dance, games and gymnastics at Key Stage 1. In Key Stage 2, we teach dance, games, gymnastics, water safety, Outdoor and Adventurous activities and athletics.


At St Thomas’ we use a variety of teaching and learning opportunities in our PE lessons. Our principal aim is to develop the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding. We do this through a mixture of whole class teaching and individual, pair or group activities. Teachers draw attention to good examples of individual performance as models for the other children. We encourage children to evaluate their own work as well as the work of other children. Within lessons we give children the opportunity both to collaborate and to compete, and they use a wide range of resources.


In all year groups, children have a wide range of physical ability. We provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by personalising the curriculum intentions to meet their needs. We may set common tasks that are open-ended and can have a variety of results (e.g. timed events, such as an 80m sprint); set tasks of increasing difficulty, where not all children complete all tasks; group children by ability, and setting different tasks for each group (e.g. masterclass provision); provide challenge through the provision of different resources (e.g. different gymnastics equipment).


The curriculum planning in PE is devised from the previous year’s breadth of coverage in conjunction with the ‘competition calendar’. The subject lead has devised his own Progression of Skills Grid that tailors the curriculum delivery to our Golden Threads. Assessment opportunities, subject specific vocabulary and cross curricular links are also identified in conjunction with the class teachers.


We plan PE activities so that they build upon the prior learning of the children. Children of all abilities develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in each activity area. Rediscover opportunities and progression is planned for, so that children are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school.


EYFS Physical Development is a prime area of learning. We plan opportunities to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children are also helped to understand the importance of physical activity. They also learn to make healthy choices in relation to exercise and food.


The school offers a broad range of extracurricular provision: boys and girls football, running, circuits, hip hop dance, netball, basketball, rugby, athletics, tennis, cricket and multi sports to name a few!  Curriculum time ‘taster sessions’ promote interest in out of hours provision. Intra School Competitions introduce the children to ‘competing’ against those they know. Inter School Competitions see pupils compete against other schools, at local, regional and national level.  Teams represent the majority of the ‘clubs’ mentioned above. Additional entries are made into ‘friendly’ tournaments. Pupils compete and represent St Thomas’ with the correct sporting attitude. Since we have been utilising the Sports Funding to subsidise the clubs, we have seen a significant rise in the number of pupils engaging with our extended learning opportunities.


There are lots of ways we can demonstrate the excellent impact our curriculum design has on our pupils. A significant use of the Sports funding allocated to the school has been used to establish a program at three tiers of ability: the talented, those meeting expectations and those who are vulnerable at not keeping up. This involves initial talent identification. Collaborative PE work with other schools further enables us to raise levels of challenge.


It is widely recognised that Obesity is a serious health concern for children living in the UK. Government findings suggest the problem begins early. Excess weight is gained before a child starts school. 22% of Reception aged children are overweight or obese across England. 34% of Y6 children are overweight or obese across England according to 2020 PHE measures. Once established, obesity tracks through childhood and adolescence. This is a major concern as being overweight or obese is associated with adverse health outcomes both in the short and long term. It can have adverse effects on educational attainment and lifetime achievement.  Improving dietary choices and increasing activity levels are key to this agenda.


Physical Activity is an inherent part of our school ethos. Children are encouraged and supported to make healthy lifestyle choices. Pupil voice initiatives further encourage every child to seek out more ways to lead a healthy lifestyle including, child designed mental and physical health posters and our ‘get active’ video and workout plans.