Primary PE Coordinator Interview Series: Chesswood Junior School
Covid-19 has led to the closure of schools, requiring children, staff and parents to adapt to remote learning. Many schools are still open to cater for vulnerable pupils and pupils of key workers. With the pressures and challenges the school staff are under, it may lead to a decrease in PE delivery and levels of physical activity. There are lots of active at home resources for schools and families to access however many of them are physical activity focussed rather than PE focussed. Opportunities are being shared online, but for many PE coordinators, who are class teachers first and foremost, it may seem overwhelming.
Active Sussex will be releasing a series of interview blogs from Sussex Primary PE Coordinators throughout the summer term. These interviews will aim to:
- Share positive solutions to the challenges primary PE coordinators are facing.
- Share best practice and innovative ideas on how to continue to deliver PE and keep pupils active during this difficult time.
Chesswood Junior School PE Team, Worthing
- Covid-19 has brought many challenges and issues, what has been the biggest challenge for you as PE coordinator? How have you managed to adapt to address these challenges and barriers?
The biggest challenge has been to try and engage all those children at home – we have over 600 who are not in school and we need to try and think of ways we can try to engage them without using any specific equipment or resources at home, not to mention the vast spectrum of abilities within the school. We have used daily videos (via Twitter @chesswoodschool and the Home Learning pages on the school website) to promote the daily activities, and asked for families to send in photos and videos of them completing the tasks. We have also done a couple of Friday 'feel-good' dance videos with all the staff still in the school taking part just to put a smile on our school community’s faces (as well as the wider world).
- Are you still going to school to support vulnerable pupils and those of keyworkers? If so, how has it changed the normal daily routine? Is PESSPA still being delivered to these pupils?
The PE team have been in everyday throughout the period of lockdown and physical activity has played a big part of their ‘new’ school day. Each day now involves an hour of structured physical activity – be it taking part in the home challenges, focussing on specific skills or playing (as much as possible) socially distanced games – which is not easy.
- Are you sharing PE plans with pupils at home? What do these look like?
Yes to a point – they are more in the way of daily challenges they were communicated via our Year Groups Home Learning plan and we had demonstration videos to back them up. Since Easter we are trying a slightly different approach by using more varied activities.
- What other resources are you using to help pupils at home stay active? How are you sharing these resources with pupils?
The Body Coach was an easy win and has been well supported in the school and across the nation. We have also adapted the Greenacre School Sports Partnership Challenge Cards to make our own daily challenges. The daily challenges tried to look at different areas of fitness everyday. The Power of PE is also a good place to look – we have adapted a few of their ideas in the past. ThisisPE has been a useful resource as well. We are also sharing ideas via social media from other local schools and organisations such as our friends at Thomas A Becket Junior and the WSSA (Worthing Schools Sports Association). We have established a solid online social media profile along with our fantastic website over the last few years and this has helped getting our ideas out to the pupils. We have also created Chesswood TV, to showcase all the work the children are doing (not just PE).
- Are pupils and parents engaging? How do you know?
Yes, to an extent both are engaging with our challenges. We can see from comments on Twitter and Facebook as well as email dialogue between not only the PE staff and parents, but the class teachers and parents. If you look at our High Hopes video on Facebook we have nearly 100 positive comments from parents of the school as well as comments on Twitter too – we were very proud of our bad dancing!
- What good practice advice would you give to other primary PE coordinators?
Social Media is key to getting your message out to parents and the wider community. Magpie and adapt existing ideas that are out there. Build strong relationships with other schools and organisations to help develop ideas and bounce off each other – even if it’s not the greatest idea the more hype around it the more people get involved. At the end of the day, we are trying to stay positive and try to maintain activity levels for our community the best way we know how. We think we have a good understanding of our school family and the type of activities they like.
For more ideas and resources to stay active during Covid 19 please visit our Active at Home Children & Young People web page.
For free, impartial advice and support regarding your PE, sport and physical activity provision, please contact Nick Chellel.