As we approach the end of the third year of the ‘P.E & Sport Premium’ I’m amazed at the lack of guidance on how to spend the money effectively. As part of my role as a Physical Education S.L.E I have the pleasure of meeting lots of fellow teachers in lots of different Schools, I think it would be fair to add that the majority of these Schools are still unsure if they are using the funding correctly. Therefore the purpose of this Blog will be to offer a few tips to help you maximise the impact of the funding and perhaps equally as important, to help you evidence the impact of the funding in an Ofsted friendly format.
Before sharing these tips with you perhaps I should explain my role in some more depth. I am a Secondary trained P.E teacher working in a cluster of 8 Primary Academies in North Staffordshire as a Physical Education Specialist, through my work within this cluster I have attained S.L.E status and I also train Associate Teacher’s at the local universities SCITT programme. Last academic year our MAC was afforded particular attention by HMI, out of 8 Schools we had 5 inspections within a term! I have included the actual statements on the Ofsted reports regarding the use of the ‘P.E & Sport Premium’. Hopefully this will reassure you that the following tips have some substance and have actually worked before!
Although I’m now bald through stress, I also feel reassured that they ways we have used the Funding have had a positive impact on the children (and Ofsted agree).
A really important fact to remember is who funds the ‘P.E & Sport Premium’ – in this instance it derives from the Department for Education and the Department of Health. The last time P.E received a cash injection was prior to London 2012 and this was funded by the DCMS, the aim of the funding was ultimately to produce more world class athletes. So if this current initiative is paid for by the aforementioned, what can we perceive the desired outcomes to be? A positive impact on both the pupil’s health and attainment. I would advise you to consider this when planning how you spend next year’s Funding.
So here goes – I hope some of this helps.
The breadth of your Curriculum
Effective use of the Funding will broaden opportunities for your children. In my first meeting with our P.E Co-ordinators I asked them to write down all of the activities that were taught within P.E lessons in their School. This was logged as a form of evidence, through CPD, working one-on-one with teachers and through providing high quality planning, our teachers were able to teach new activities – providing new, engaging opportunities for our children (at the end of each year the Co-ordinators complete the same process, we can then evidence that our P.E curriculum is broader than pre-Funding). Within our MAC the children now LOVE Handball, Parkour, Health Related Exercise amongst many others. This hasn’t meant the existing activities have taken a backward step – it means they are doing more Physical activity!
Assessment – Use it to your advantage
The more Schools I visit, the more assessment systems I come across. Whether your children are ‘Expected’, ‘Advancing’, ‘Frequently’, ‘On Target’ or ‘Imploding’ – find an assessment system that allows you to specify exactly where they have made progress and when. Once you begin to use this assessment system, actually use it! The purpose of assessment is to allow you to individualise your teaching practice, if you have a selection of children struggling to improve their co-ordination in Year 3 it is not enough in my opinion to mark it on your assessment document and pass it onto the Year 4 teacher at the end of the year. Use that information to set up a dinner-time/pre-School/after-School club especially for those kids – make it fun, make it exclusive, help them to improve! (This works for almost every sub-group. Whether you are ‘stretching’ or ‘helping’ – use assessment of any kind to inspire the children to get better!)
Measure and record key information
When ‘you know who’ arrive at your door step, your opportunity to show off your School’s fantastic P.E offer will differ on the inspector’s personal interests or issues arising during the inspection. Some inspectors will organise meetings and observations, with other inspectors you may have to politely ask for a chance to show off your work on multiple occasions! In either instance HMI appreciate information presented in a clear, concise manner. This is where prior planning and organisation can be invaluable. From experience I can tell you that all inspectors will be interested when you are explaining in detail the ways you helped children love being active and healthy, but the minute you supply them with a statistic or fact to back your explanation up – the inspector will write it down. As a group of Schools we complete an in-depth subject audit at the end of every year, this consists of 47 statements, against which we mark our delivery as either Red, Amber or Green. We complete this annually allowing us to analyse if we have improved in specific area’s. Any aspect that is marked as ‘red’ is placed on the Department Action Plan and we pay specific attention to it the next academic year. This allows us to also make concise statements on the extent of our progress.
Our Schools also record how many physically active clubs run throughout the year, how many competitions our Schools enter, the % of Boys/Girls/Pupil Premium/SEN classified children that attend a physically active club throughout the year. It is a substantial data collecting/monitoring process but it allows us to be specific when considering how we can improve. All Schools within our MAC re-measure and review these process within the same week, every academic year. Allowing our evaluations to be both valid and reliable.
How do you know you are having an impact on the children’s health?
It is a contentious issue in certain circles – fitness testing in Primary Schools.
First allow me to elaborate on the Socio-demographics of the area our Schools exist. In our Local Authority 23.5% of children in Year 6 are classified as obese, a horrific fact. Too many children live a sedentary lifestyle, too many children suffer from a lack of a healthy, balanced diet.
The principal aim of our use of the ‘P.E & Sport Premium’ was too have a positive impact on the health of our pupils, we decided as a MAC very early on that the best way to monitor our effectiveness was through fitness testing. Our children love it. All children from years 3-6 participate in the 20m bleep test once a year. We modified the classifications from the adult one so we can classify their performance by age and gender, the children never know if they are poor, average etc. We use child-friendly terminology for them:
I think another reason it works so well for our MAC is our focus on celebrating improvement/progress. Of course children are rewarded in all subjects and areas for attainment and achievement, but our children really appreciate and recognise when another child improves – regardless of their starting point. After each bleep test the children who improved a classification from Poor to Average perhaps (Getting warm… > Getting warmer!) are placed on the wall of fame. We want children to recognise that getting fitter is a fantastic achievement and not hard to do. The bleep tests themselves are conducted in a non-pressurised situation, lexical choice and tone of voice is of great importance. The children understand to try their best, but also know that it is not too serious and they can stop whenever they want. We tell the children it is a measurement to see if the teachers have been teaching P.E correctly (which ultimately, I suppose it is).
Our fitness tests have helped to do some amazing things. All children that classify as ‘Very Poor’ or ‘Poor’ (Room temp or Getting warm…) are then ‘helped’. We sit down with them and have a conversation to see what they enjoy in P.E (9/10 they say Dodgeball even though they will not have been taught Dodgeball for years!) – we then create a bespoke club just for them! We recently held a festival for all of these children at our ‘parent’ high School during which I smiled like a mad man throughout, because I could see children who once forget kit on purpose – laughing their heads off whilst being active with some new friends they had made.
The fitness tests have also helped us to highlight/extend our naturally gifted children. We refer children to the local sports clubs regularly and one process that allowed us to do this has been our Fitness testing. We also have ‘Sports Stars’ a club in each of our Schools for very talented children, they receive extra coaching and also benefit from enrichment activities to inspire them to fulfil their potential. Recently Stoke City allowed our Sports Stars to tour their Stadium and Training ground with a constant focus on potential careers in the world of professional sport.
Use Pupil Voice
Ultimately we want children to enjoy being physically active. This inspires progress and hopefully a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
So we give all of our children an easy questionnaire asking them their likes/dislikes in P.E. If any of the children are very complimentary we copy it and bank as more evidence for those ‘who should not be named’.
Consider Sustainability – It’s very important
Ask yourself this – If the funding was to be taken away tomorrow. What would P.E look like when compared to pre-funding?
For any progress to be sustainable I would advise Schools to carefully consider their use of external providers. Paying for more coaches in your School is absolutely not an effective spend of the funding, paying for more equipment alone is not an effective spend of the funding.
Structure your spending in a way that up skills your Staff, this may mean paying quality coaches to help bridge gaps in subject knowledge. It may mean paying for new equipment to broaden your curriculum – but your teaching staff must be able to use it to teach better lessons.
If the funding disappears, which it will one day, your School should have improved in a manner that is sustainable without needing help externally to maintain it.
Use your website – show off!
Ofsted have already stated that it is a requirement for your School to publish how it is using the ‘P.E & Sport Premium’ on your website. So why not use this as a platform to shout about all of the fantastic things you have been doing!
During the introductory meeting between the inspectors and the Staff at one School, the lead inspector paid tribute to the amount of information on our website regarding our fantastic spend of the ‘P.E & Sport Premium’. So before any observations or meetings they were aware of some of the good work we had been doing!
Our group of Schools produce something we call an impact document, this is a Powerpoint presentation containing all of the information we want the Ofsted inspectors to see:
- How our curriculum is now broader
- The increase in children participating in after-School clubs
- The increase in the amount of competitions the School are entering
- How our RAG shows progression in all aspects of our P.E delivery
- How the fitness testing shows that the funding is having a positive influence on the children’s health
- Samples of Pupil Voice depicting children’s attitudes to the subject
- How we are highlighting sub groups through assessment and testing. Differentiating not just through lessons but through interventions in & outside of School
Here is an example of one of our Impact documents.
Our next mission is now to solidify the links with surrounding community clubs, we have a burgeoning relationship with Stoke City – who have been brilliant (that pains me to say as a Port Vale supporter :s). We run monthly challenges across our MAC, the top score for the boy/girl is rewarded with free tickets to a Stoke City match. This helps us to encourage progression and extends learning beyond School hours. Here is this months Challenge:
It also gives our Sports Leaders another opportunity to develop their skills!
I hope that anyone who reads this finds something that they can pinch.
I’m a fan of Bill Nye’s quote “Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t” – So with in mind if you have read this and would like to share something please get in touch! Curiosity and collaboration drive learning forward.
Thanks for your time!