It’s common knowledge physical exercise is vital for keeping our bodies in good shape but the benefits of Physical Education in school extend far beyond the sports field.
In 2020, after the national lockdown, children’s charity Youth Sport Trust carried out a survey of 1,396 young people aged 6–15 to discover how they now felt about sport and exercise. Over a quarter said physical education, sport and exercise had made them feel better during that time. Additionally, 40% said not being able to play sport had made them feel worse. Clearly, sport and exercise has a positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.
At Old Ford it’s easy to see the positive effects PE has on our pupils. In lessons following PE their attention is noticeably greater, their ability to focus is far better. And in the long-term PE builds self-confidence, reduces anxiety and improves self-esteem. It also helps children develop attributes which help them cope with difficulties and setbacks.
In PE lessons, we take a skills-based approach. Rather than simply playing different sports and games, lessons are designed to improve the fundamental movement skills – running, jumping, hand-eye coordination, balance, agility, throwing and catching – especially in the younger year groups. This way pupils can develop these core abilities which are used in multiple sports and physical activities. Then when they come to play different sports, which are usually introduced around upper Key Stage Two, students will be competent in the necessary skills the sport requires, whether it’s throwing a ball in cricket, jumping in basketball or having the hand-eye coordination to play a racquet sport such as badminton.
When it comes to choosing between fitness and getting children healthy versus simply playing team games and having fun, we work on creating a good balance. For example, after lockdown children had lost much of the fitness they had previously developed so for an entire term the focus was working hard to get them back to the level of fitness where they were previously. After that we incorporated games too, to reintroduce the other aspect of PE.
To be able to track our pupil’s progress effectively, measurement is really important. We use five assessments each term to check how they’re improving in areas such as speed, fitness, coordination and strength. We then use that data to adjust our lessons accordingly, so the pupils continue to make progress, term after term.
At the core of sport is competition, which is important for helping pupils develop a winning mental attitude and equipping them to handle both success and failure. To do this we take part in inter-school competition, both within and outside our Trust, including SEN-specific contests. As well as teaching pupils about sportsmanship and respect, it fosters a sense of friendly rivalry and school pride, and boosts morale and self-esteem. PE is an essential part of our curriculum that builds strong character and develops qualities in pupils which are beneficial in all subjects, as well as their lives beyond school.
Paradigm Trust is consulting on the admissions arrangements for all the schools across the Trust for the academy year 2023/24 in line with the School Admissions Code 2021.
The consultation is taking place for a period of six weeks, between 17 December 2021 and 28 January 2022.
Please go to ‘Admissions Consultation‘ page to find out more.
In our everyday lives we are surrounded by music. And as a subject, music helps pupils understand and appreciate it in some way, whether that’s by learning an instrument, connecting on an emotional level or even using it as a method of self-regulation.
Music is also a subject which provides many benefits that reach far beyond learning an instrument or improving children’s musicality. Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory. Practising music boosts creativity, helps with language, increases spatial awareness and improves IQ – it’s a full brain workout!
To give our pupils the best music education, we have specialist teachers taking all our lessons. Children at Old Ford Primary Academy all benefit from their expertise, and as the teachers have regular, consistent contact with the children they are able to tailor lessons more effectively to the needs of the students.
It’s important to provide pupils with all the resources they need to properly learn and appreciate music, so everyone in our school has one music lesson a week of around forty five minutes, every week of the year. We also have a 20 minute singing/music assembly every week. Our music room is bespoke and equipped with full class sets of djembe drums, keyboards, recorders, ukuleles and glockenspiels to give the children experience with many different types of instruments.
In addition to regular music lessons in school time, we provide extra tuition for eight instruments, which is taught by specialist tutors and available to all pupils from Year 2 upwards. We also run musical after school activities through the year which include ukulele club, guitar club, choir and musical theatre.
As well as musicality, in every music lesson children are building their interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. We always include a practical aspect in every lesson, usually group work and performance. These activities improve confidence and self-esteem, and help grow skills such as team-building and the ability to work with others. Learning to play a musical instrument also teaches resilience and patience – there’s no shortcut to being able to play well, just perseverance!
As well as learning about music theory, our pupils also learn about the cultural aspect of music and its history. As we learn about different genres of music, we also study the context and diversity of the genres; the place where it was born, the people who created it and the time period. For instance, when studying funk, soul and blues pupils also learn about slavery and segregation. In this way Music is a cross-curricular subject, linking pupils’ learning to many other areas on the timetable.