On Friday, we had the privilege of inviting a second group of Bury school leaders into our school to start another of our leading assessment programmes. During the morning, they visited our classrooms with their Y4 guides to see assessment in action. Whilst they were visiting classes, I spent a half hour in the hall with Y2 watching their gymnastics lesson. I was so impressed with their skills and the quality of teaching from Mrs Darby and support from Miss Hackett and Miss Lloyd. During the session, the children were practising gymnastic sequences. At the same time, they were filming each other using iPads and then reviewing their attempts immediately and improving their next attempt. In addition, Mrs Darby used her iPad projected on the big screen in the hall to help individuals and groups assess the accuracy of their movements. Fabulous!
As I sat watching this, I listened to our Y4 guides explaining to our visitors about how peer assessment is done in PE lessons. They were so articulate and confident. I felt really proud of our children but also of our staff. We have worked very hard over a long period of time to improve all aspects of our curriculum, including sport and PE. This is reflected in the increased numbers of opportunities for extra curricular sport; an example being the cricket tournament we entered this week at Stand Cricket Club. Our Y6 team were delighted to return to school after winning through to the Bury finals later this term.
In the next couple of weeks we will be holding our Infant Olympics and our Junior Sports. Every child in the school will take part in these events and parents and carers are very welcome to attend. The idea of the Infant Olympics is participation whilst the Junior Sports introduces the concept of competition. Our younger children spend the whole afternoon active. They move from activity to activity in mixed teams. Each activity practises a different skill. They skills demand concentration and effort but mostly are designed to be fun. It is important that young children see physical activity as enjoyable and are not put off by the addition of competition.
By Key Stage Two we introduce an element of competition. We do, however, stress to all of the children that taking part should be fun. When we stand on the finish line for the races we make sure we encourage and congratulate every child no matter where they finish. Some individuals struggle with the idea of not winning but it is often the way adults respond that helps them to come to terms with it. If we are still smiling and clapping at the finish whether they are first or last, if we tell them how much we’ve enjoyed watching them run, then they manage to have fun regardless.
We have also recently joined a limited number of primary schools in Bury in the I Will if You Will initiative. This is designed to encourage children and families to be more active. One of the activities is the WOW (Walk Once a Week) initiative. Some of our children initially thought that walking from the car at the end of Blackley Close constituted a walk to school! We have spoken to the children to encourage them to try a longer walk, at least ten minutes, just once a week. This is very dependent on parents and carers making the extra effort to do so. Not only would this increase health and well being but it has the knock on effect of pleasing our near neighbours who are regularly disturbed by inconsiderate parking at 9 and 3:30! We realise that this can be difficult for parents but it is well worth leaving home just a few minutes earlier on one day when you see the children’s delight when they achieve their WOW badges.
If you would like to read more about our PE curriculum or about how we use our Primary Sports and PE grant please take the time to read Mrs McLoughlin’s impact report under the Key Information tab. Also, keep a look out for information about our upcoming whole school enquiry based on Olympic and Paralympic values, due to start on Monday, 4th July.
“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” Michael Jordan