What the resource is:
The Physical Education, School Sport and Club Links strategy (PESSCL) was the focus of an evaluation between September 2005 and July 2008 in a small sample of 99 primary and 84 secondary schools in England. These schools were visited by HMI and additional inspectors over the three year period to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of PESSCL in practice, in terms of achievement, provision and leadership, with a view to outlining what the focus of attention should be by 2012 and beyond.
The aims of the resource:
The overall aim of the resource is to examine the impact of the PESSCL strategy since its implementation in October 2002. The aim of the PESSCL strategy was to enhance sporting opportunities and encourage greater involvement and participation in PE and sport for 5-16 year olds. The report examines the effectiveness of the four programmes within the PESSCL strategy: specialist sports colleges; school sport partnerships; provision for gifted and talented young people and professional development. The focus of attention to 2012 and beyond follows the success and replacement of the PESSCL strategy in January 2008 with the Physical Education and Sports Strategy for Young People (PESSYP). The new strategy (PESSYP) outlines that each child should have access to five hours of physical education and sport per week (2 hours curriculum time and 3 hours on school sites or in the community), which is included in the recently published white paper, Your child, your schools, our future: building a 21st century schools system (DCSF 2009), and provides a basis for supporting future developments of the strategy.
Key findings or focus:
The key focus is PE in secondary and primary schools, from the perspectives of: achievement, standards and personal development; teaching, learning and assessment; the curriculum; and leadership and management. The findings demonstrate improved achievement of boys and girls equally, over the three years of the study. It is recognised that the better schools monitored, assessed and recorded progress systematically, but these were identified as areas for improvement with managers and leaders. It is suggested that, because there was no national strategy of assessment, there was a need for greater consistency.
The responsibility and leadership roles for young people in Key Stages 2/4 were deemed to have increased, creating opportunities to support personal development and make a positive contribution to the community in which they live. It is highlighted that the PESSCL strategy was making a positive contribution to young people's attainment in primary and secondary school, although there were variations in teaching and learning identified.
In two thirds of the schools visited, the majority of teaching was found to be good or outstanding, although it was more variable at primary level. The data indicated that there was a need for teachers skilled in the pedagogy and content of the subject, and highlighted a need for appropriate training and professional development opportunities. It is noted that, whilst some schools recognised and addressed cross phase transition, participation in non-traditional activities and provision post-16 was not consistent. Most schools supported the curriculum, having a positive impact on young people's attitude and achievement, contributing effectively to the Every Child Matters outcomes; ‘being healthy', ‘enjoying and achieving' and ‘making a positive contribution', but could make more of an impact tackling the health issue of childhood obesity.
The survey emphasises that the quality of the PE curriculum had improved, with the majority of schools providing two hours of physical activity, but there is a need to revisit the provision at KS 1 Core PE and KS 4 non-examination students. It is recommended that the Government continue to fund the physical education and sports strategy for young people (PESSYP) up to and beyond 2012 to ensure schools continue to evolve and improve, particularly the range of activities and post-16 entitlement.
The quality, authority and credibility of the resource from your subject perspective in relation to ITE:
This report is very important in highlighting the positive contribution that Physical Education can make to the whole school. The inherent potential of PE to raise young people's aspirations, attitude, attainment and achievement is reported well. The recognition of this suggests that there is the possibility, with appropriate training and professional development opportunities, that this could be even greater by 2012 and beyond. It is recognised that the TDA has the responsibility for the allocation of numbers for ITT and PGCE subjects and if PE is to remain a high profile subject there is a need for a degree of commitment from the Government. The quality of teaching with respect to Initial Teacher Education (ITE) has to be maintained if young people are to receive the best education. It is necessary to ensure young people are in the hands of caring professionals skilled in the pedagogy and content of their subject. The report highlights the areas where there is good to outstanding practice and a need for issues to be addressed in a relatively small sample of schools. The validity and reliability of the report is demonstrated in the large number (and presumably variety) of schools reported upon. There is a need for continued research to identify the future effectiveness of the strategy in all schools.
The implications for ITE tutors/mentors:
ITE mentors and tutors could gain a great deal from the report in the identification of good practice. The sharing of best practice will benefit what is taught in schools if resources permit this. Of specific importance is the role of partnerships and to build on the established role of mentors and tutors in ITE for lifelong community commitment to healthy lifestyles. To ensure that trainees attain the knowledge, skills and understanding of Physical Education (all the activity areas), particularly at primary level, there needs to be a commitment of time for training and professional development. The report can be effectively used to identify the variation in practice in schools to support the appropriate training requirements of student teachers.
The relevance to ITE students:
The report is particularly important for secondary PE trainees and more widely appropriate for primary trainees, as it draws attention to current practice in schools, enabling them to make informed decisions about how to support the future development of the new initiative in schools up to and beyond 2012. The identification of what Ofsted judge to be good and outstanding practice is very useful in supporting trainee teachers in developing their practice. The recognition of areas where there are concerns is equally informative, as it underlines for trainees where they can address their energy to ensure young people, school and community are at the heart of their assessment, learning and teaching. The next phase of the strategy will be very interesting in the run up to 2012 and beyond, providing the foundations for trainee teachers to build and develop a positive attitude to the inclusion of Physical Education and Sport in the curriculum. It might then be possible for the trainee PE teachers to include and encourage involvement in a varied programme of physical activity opportunities in schools and the community.
Dr John Connell
Related Resources / References
DCSF (2008) PE & Sport Strategy for Young People
DCSF (2009) Your child, your schools, our future: building a 21st century schools system
Ofsted (2005) The physical education, school sport and club links strategy (HMI 2397)
Ofsted (2006) School sport partnerships: a survey of good practice (HMI 2518)