Skip to content
All posts

Podcast | Season 1 | Episode 16: Student Wellbeing and PE, Sport and Physical Activity

Sue Wilkinson (AfPE) shares insights on the benefits of Physical Education, sport and Physical Activity on wellbeing of learners in primary and secondary schools. It also reiterates the importance of PE in the school curriculum, what funding is available and how to prepare for an Ofsted inspection.

📎 Improving Student Wellbeing through PE, Sport and Physical Activity

  • Sharing the evidence of impact PESSPA
  • Re scaffolding the PE curriculum
  • Embedding PESSPA across the whole school
  • School culture and workforce issues

💡 Sue Wilkinson MBE, CEO, Association for Physical Education (AfPE)

🏫 This session was recorded live on 13th November 2019 in the School Improvement Summit of the Schools & Academies Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

Listen Now
Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify



Sue Wilkinson MBE

Afternoon everyone. Welcome to the West Midlands. I'm home grown. So if you need to have subtitles wave at me now if you don't understand the accent, but welcome anyway. Right. So, improving wellbeing we've been doing that. I'm older, probably the oldest in the room. Well, not quite, but nearly. We've been doing this for years, but we just have not shouted about it. So it's really important. We're looking at the key messages here to look at improving student wellbeing and I bet you by the end of that, you'll say I've been doing that anyway.

Sue Wilkinson MBE

So you can have all these slides as well, by the end of the 20 minutes, we'll try and cover all of those things. If this is not what you're here for, you've got about 10 seconds to run out to be the one you need to be at. So we're going to have a look at all the initiatives, because if they're not joined together, the little people at the end of the chain are actually going to miss out. So it's raining initiatives. We know that. So what can we do? It's a bit like a tidal wave. We're not going to drown. So we need to learn to surf. But one of the things I want you to take away from this is you cannot be the Swiss Army knife to solve societal ills. You cannot. Your job is to ignite and to inspire learning. Also, you've got a whole plethora of partners, you've got to engage, not least parents as you well know. We cannot solve children's well being on our own.

Sue Wilkinson MBE

So if you look nationally, these are all the initiatives. Can you put your hands up if you're in a primary school setting or TSA, or Academy? Who's in secondary? Okay, so pretty split. So one of the big issues out there is protecting the subject irrespective of whether you're in primary or secondary because of the pressures on other areas. The greatest gift we've been given, don't throw anything at me, is the new Ofsted Framework. It will work to your advantage. And we'll look at that in a minute. Your primary PE Sport Premium, we are in PURDAH, so I've had to alter the slide because I'm not allowed to say anything. However, there are suggestions that the money will remain. Irrespective of who gets in. The amount is the question on the table. So you need to bare that in mind, the obesity strategy again, irrespective of who is in power, we have an issue about children's weight and not managing it. Okay, now we know that it's not down to the school, but we're part of the prevention and maybe end up part of the cure. Who is involved in a secondary teacher training programme? £3600 per school for every school in the country. And it's headed up by the Teacher School Alliance. So if you have got 100 that's £333,000 for your TSA.

Sue Wilkinson MBE

Ring friends for PE and school sport, okay. So if you don't know anything, go to the stand get I've got two colleagues here are working on that as well. If you're in secondary schools and you've not had your money, and you're not part of it, you've not lost out because that's here till 2021 that money will not disappear. It's lottery. The only way it will disappear is if they stopped buying lottery tickets. Okay, so that's sort of a guaranteed funding. Schools for action plan that is a big issue and in there is the wellbeing. So there will be funding for that. And it will continue for at least a year, irrespective of who gets into power. The new inspection framework, as I've said, is on your site, and then your comprehensive spending review in your Brexit will have implications if we do leave the EU, every single government department will lose up to 20% of its funding. And you know, down the chain, that's it doesn't matter if it's health, it doesn't matter whether it's police or infrastructure, everyone has had to commit to giving up 20%

Sue Wilkinson MBE

So these are all the strategies that are raining down on you probably seen every one of those How do you manage those to improve well being and achieve your homeschool improvement? So let's look at the primary premium. How can you use this to improve wellbeing? There are five key indicators, those will not change. The guidance will be out next week of how to fill in your template you have got at the moment, up to £18,000, if you feel that wellbeing is one of the five indicators you want to hit, you can spend that money on it. So you have got an actual resource there. Also, what is sustainable and what makes the difference? I don't have to tell you this. It's the workforce. The workforce are the sustainable infrastructure. So you can use that money to upskill them. Okay. And then you have got certain things you can't spend it on, which are PPA and capital spend. So that's really not going to impact on your wellbeing. But the guidance, it in October but we haven't finished it so it will be at the end of next month. So that's what you have to report on. It's aligned to impact at the end, not how many courses you've been on, not what you've spent it on the difference it's made to young people. And if your wellbeing is one of the key areas, then you need to articulate that and show it and evidence it. Now, the reason why I've put this up is some academies do it. Some don't all of you don't have to, but it should be a minimum, who's in an academy?Who's in a mainstream school? Right? So straightaway, you have to, they don't, okay, but there is an expectation that you will do more than that.

Sue Wilkinson MBE

Now, if you look at your national curriculum overview, you will see that it's a framework. And when we just look at those aims, it's easy to address the outcomes for young people. Okay. So the purpose of study is your intent. It is your vision. Okay. So if Ofsted do decide to visit you or do a deep dive in PE, you can tell them your intent is aligned to the purpose of study. Then your aims, what is it you can actually deliver. One of those is lead active, healthy lifestyles, which includes emotional wellbeing. And then you have your intentions and eventually demonstrate your impact. So your national curriculum is aligned. I'd like to say it was well planned in 2014. But it wasn't it's happened by default. But because your inspection framework is about the quality of curriculum, they've actually aligned it to most of the curriculum subjects aims. So, on the right, your right or left my left. Now look at the impact on homeschool improvement. Look, if you deliver the minimum, the minimum then you will be able to improve areas for your young people. Now, it may be behaviour is poor because of their emotional state. It may be they don't want to come to school because of what's happening at home. But if you look at how you aims fit to the impact on home school improvement, that should make a difference to the lives of young people.

Sue Wilkinson MBE

Okay. You know, this is their now how many have been done? Already? How was it for you? Good. How was it for you? Was it deep dive for you in PE? Geogprahpy and Art, okay? So it's your curriculum, you own it, not some bureaucrats and that is really, really important. And I bet you're saying you're standing there, you're not the one getting the judgement, how the people who've been done who went out and bought a 20 foot sheet with St. Mary's School is judged outstanding. We all moan about them, but we all go and buy when we get outstanding, don't we. Because it is independence, and it makes that judgement for you. So it's really important to hold on to that. Because that is a great thing for parents to see. You're not saying it yourself, you know you're good, but you're been endorsed by somebody else, but it's your bespoke curriculum. Now, you need to demonstrate as these colleagues will tell you, the contribution of PE to whole school improvement and the contribution of PE to physical health and emotional wellbeing and not just about the programme of study, but it cannot be the tail that wags the dog. Now we said to Amanda Spielman, this is a fantastic framework. It is a great opportunity, but it doesn't help colleagues who are working to a league table of results. So the proof of the pudding as they say, will be whether or not Ofsted can convince the department that they're judging is key in putting you in a league table, not the results. So these are the questions you need to ask. Now wellbeing which we'll come on to moment three personal development, make sure the curriculum is logical, sequential and progressive. You will be asked whether or not it's inclusive and inclusive does not just mean disability. It's the hidden disability. Do you include your children who are asperges, dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADHD, diabetic, it's really important that it's the whole inclusivity. It's also about inclusive learning in terms of are they kinesthetic? Are they auditory? Or are they visual learners are all three. So as long as you can articulate, yet your curriculum is inclusive, and it is broad and it is balanced, then you have absolutely no problems. at all, and also what a lot of people don't know is, if you're actually doing piloting something, a judgement cannot be made about your pilots. And if you say we're trialling this, but it's not working, they cannot make a judgement on that either they will come back and have a look, but they can't make a judgement about it.

Sue Wilkinson MBE

So be brave. This is your trial time. And then the biggest thing is, is your curriculum understood. For PE sport and physical activity. If I came in as your inspector and said to the child, what is it you hope to learn in PE lessson and then I went to the head of PE, then I went to the governor, they should all be saying the same thing. So that's really important for you. And then those are the four things you need to do. You need to map it out and show it, deploy your staff effectively. You know, from NQT right through to those without QTS. You also need to raise the profile, you know as well as I do, that PE is the best subject area to demonstrate spiritual, moral, social, cultural. It's easy to do. It is also one of the best to demonstrate the whole school improvement in terms of attendance, behaviour, attitude, sportsmanship, good citizenship. If it's taught badly. It's also the worst subject. We have to keep that we see these horror stories. I am fed up of Twitter of hearing people about doing cross country in their baggy green knickers. They must be octogenarians because it's not like that anymore. You know, the baggy green knickers have gone there might still do cross country but at least they're in a track suit. So it's really important we invest in professional learning just to make sure colleagues get this right.

Sue Wilkinson MBE

So your personal development, if you will be to graded good, this is what you need to get. And this is where your wellbeing comes in. Okay? Pupils have to have a greater experience other than the academic area, and most of you will be doing that anyway, it is really, really important you demonstrate SMSC. And you use your physical education to do that raise confidence, give them leadership skills, help them with their decision making. And then it's the wider support around character. And what's strange is people seem to be jumping on the wellbeing bandwagon to help character. And actually character is a statutory part of the purpose of PE the statutory element. So it's almost been happening by osmosis and we've not been shouting about it. Also, one of the main aims is to active lifestyles. There's lots of people around here that you'll have been to who will say activity makes you feel better. Okay, Stand up. Stand up, please. Right, depending on your age, ability and motivation, right, we're gonna use four gears first is walking Second, jogging, third, running fast and fourth is going for it. There's no inertia and no reverse. That's for me, right. So I'm gonna count to three and I want you to get into gear one. Okay? Right. 123 gear one, right? Come on. No no, she gave one. You can start whenever you want. Number three. Number four. Okay, fit. Like let's go for overdrive. Okay, down to four. down to three. Back to five. Come on arms going now. One, three, five and down to neutral and just sit down, right okay. Daft as it sounds you've eaten it's long.

Sue Wilkinson MBE

You've dropped off because I've been speaking more than two minutes. But if active it does help you wellbeing also people are smiling. Is that hh god, I'm gonna kill her. She's made me look a wally or actually I quite enjoyed that because I've got a bit of cramp. Okay. Now from a personal experience, I fell I was paralysed. And my wellbeing was awful. Well, it wasn't having any of that. So they sorted me out. I'm walking, and what's brought it back. I'm an ex PE teacher. I'm an ex gymnast, I've broken every bone in my body but have not broken my neck. But all of a sudden it hits you that wellbeing is about physical activity. So it's really, really important we get that embedded and we've played to realise that guilty as charged, we've taken out the quality of curriculum and added in PE

Sue Wilkinson MBE

If you take that, have it on your desk, give it a round the school give it your parents, your governors, all of SLT. You articulate that to your governors, would that have helped you in your inspection? If you would have had that? You know, can you talk about in personal development in PE we look at SMSC we look at fundamental values. You can evidence for that you're real professionals, but you just now need have the confidence to show that the wellbeing of your young people is delivered through physical education. That's your intent. That's how we implement it. And that's the difference we're going to make. But one of the biggest stumbling blocks is whenever there's money about it starts a bit of a turf war. And sitting in ministerial meetings, trying to get them to understand the difference between PE, sport and physical activity is probably the one of the biggest challenge other than learning to walk again. It really was difficult. And so the whole sector got together and we designed that and if our team are inspecting we will be saying to the children, tell me what the difference is between PE and sport. Tell me what the difference is between sport and physical activity.

Sue Wilkinson MBE

Now I have to say when we went out a consultation, primary colleagues got this a lot better than some of our secondary colleagues because many of the PE staff were game specialists so they got the sport. They were the best at articulating sport, but not PE, not the education through the physical. So, in order to develop well being an impact on home school improvement, your PE curriculum needs to deliver on all three with the appropriate staff. The posters are over there if you want one. Now, this is the most critical one. This is what you take away. Now you do this for any subject ahead, as you can imagine, helped us develop that took that said to my colleague, Simon, give it me in Word, took it away and gave it to every subject leader in the school. This was a primary school and said, write down the contributions your subject makes to the overall outcomes for young people guess which subject came out on top, PE. And as a result of that it was how the primary PE and sport premium can be used to top up a subject leader in PE salary that went down well with literacy and numeracy. I really did get the arrows in the back. But actually, if you can demonstrate those and you can show the impact how you implement it and the impact there, then it's about good leadership management right through from the little children, all the way up to the big kids all the way up staff, parents. Parents need to have that and understand, because when your people leave you, whether it's 5, 11, or 18, those are the things that they can do without being the next England cricketer, or England women's footballer. All of those things require a little talent, but they require good emotional health and wellbeing. They also require children and young people to be confident the more confident you are, the more you succeed. So all of those things. We've collected those from across a number of schools and added up, put it into a poster. Are you on time? Think of those who are not deemed to be academic, but they have great skills. My biggest angst is that government wouldn't let us acredit all the volunteers at London 2012 you're here, home of the Commonwealth. And that's what we're aiming for a credit every single volunteer, because they may have those skills. And actually, they would demonstrate to employers, they may not have 10 number, whatever they are now GCSEs or A Levels, but they actually have all those skills, who'd love to employ people like that I'd be proud if my children could demonstrate all of that.

Sue Wilkinson MBE

So we're asking you to place PE at the heart of school life because all of those other areas actually impact on young people's lives and you can't do everything. You cannot your job ignite, inspire learning, you cannot and we're not trying to be psychiatry psychologists, medical professionals. Okay, my sister is a medical professional and she said to me, when you were in Oswestry spinal unit and you were about to have your op, I had three options, complete paralysis, paraplegic, no change or some change. She said, How would you feel if the local butcher came in? And because he chopped off pigs and does spareribs has the skills to do your consultancy, filled me with horror? And she said and it fills us with horror when teachers are expected to be mental health professionals. So we have to stick with what we know and do it really well. But place PE at the heart and get everybody else to help us because the jigsaw won't make sense unless all the pieces are in place.

Sue Wilkinson MBE

So status of the subject. It's been raised. Millions have gone into the primary PE sport premium. 13.6 million for Secondary Schools so it's going up positive trajectory. But if it's not valued in schools and by parents does matter how much money you pour into it. So it's really important that when we're looking at reduced curriculum time, we make sure the quality is there. So give these facts out to parents. They are basic that you want children to be emotionally well, pupils have a better outlook on life, if they go through PE and school sports, and don't spend all your money on resources unless they're for the right people. And you know how to use them. You are the best resource out there, the professionals and where are we going to be in a year? Who knows? But you'll still be there. emotional wellbeing will still be a challenge. And so now this is the window of opportunity because if we don't take it and we don't embrace it, they're not going to have any impact.

Sue Wilkinson MBE

So in Summary because the lady is waving at me, you were the most important. You are the most important to advocate you have to go out and make a piece at the heart of your school. If it's at the heart of your school, if every one of you convinced ahead in an academy chain in a teaching school Alliance, if you even your school next door, you convince them think how that would spread. But more importantly, think of the parents. Because we interview a lot of parents and we hear they're so tired when they come home from school. That's good. We let them sit, and I've timeout gaming and we get a pizza. Now we are in no position to tell people not to eat pizzas like somebody's telling me not to drink Prosecco. You can imagine what the response would be, you know, after a bad day at work, but what you have to do is balance that they have to understand, yeah, no such thing as bad diets. It's about balance. And actually would they felt better If you'd gone for a walk, if you'd gone on a bike on a scooter, if you have gone on a wave fit even don't get any commission, but I couldn't think of another example. It's really, really important. Of course, they're not going to stop gaming, but balance it, balance your activity with your diet. And then for years, we've had this problem we cannot keep doing the same things repackaged. We've got to do different things because if we don't 10 years down the line, one of you is going to be standing here giving the same message. So we've got to make a difference. And use PE use school sport and physical activity to boost confidence, achieve the outcomes, it will improve school challenges like behaviour attendance, and if yours is good, it will get even better. But we need these young people to be employable, post Brexit and to be really good citizens. Thank you for listening.


Don't forget to register for your free place at our upcoming show on