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Primary PE Coordinator Interview Series: Seymour Primary Academy

Primary PE Coordinator Interview Series: Seymour Primary Academy

Categories: Education

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.

Steve Hand, Seymour Primary Academy, Crawley

1. 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?

Each child/parent is being set activities including physical and well-being challenges on Google Classrooms. All staff have sent links to parents for Real PE at home and other free activities such as Chance 2 Shine and Premier League Primary Stars. I have shared challenges and activities that have been on Twitter and School Games with staff, then each member of staff have adapted them for their class. These have also been sent out as paper packs to some parents, via ping. Children have been rewarded via our Marvellous Me app, which allows teachers to reward and communicate with children and parents.

2. 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?

I have been going into school every day from lunchtime (including the Easter holidays) to run lunchtime activities. Then either one or two PE lessons according to ability and ages of children who have turned up. During the Easter Holidays these lasted most of the afternoon. The children have been given challenging activities including multi-skills, boot camp fitness, etc. It has meant that children from Nursery to Year 6 have sometimes worked together, as ability groups, age groups or individually with me. The children have been also doing either PE with The Body Coach, Jump Start Johnny, Cosmic Kids Yoga or other online programmes when they arrive in school. I would say those pupils attending school have taken part in at least two hours of physical activity everyday. Their progress and increase in self-esteem has been huge. It has also meant that we have been able to leave up table tennis, badminton, and short tennis equipment. Staff who have been in school on a rota have also joined in the activities. Staff and children have been given certificates each week for completing tasks. At all times, although tricky, we have tried to keep to social distancing rules.

3. Are you sharing PE plans with pupils at home? What do these look like? 

We have been promoting Create Development’s Real PE and various other activity challenges, to engage pupils at home in PE, School Sport and Physical Activity (PESSPA). We have also encouraged parents to follow the SGO Crawley Twitter account, which has seen a increase in subscribers. Activity and participation videos have been shared on Twitter, Marvellous Me and Google Classrooms, to recognise and celebrate pupils and families that are taking part.

4. What other resources are you using to help pupils at home stay active? How are you sharing these resources with pupils? 

The Specsavers Virtual Sussex School Games has been fantastic for all Crawley schools, enabling children, teachers and parents to compete against other schools in Crawley and across Sussex. While more importantly, giving pupils the opportunity to beat their own personal best and offer new, fun and exciting ways of achieving their active 60 mins of daily exercise. At Seymour School all those children in school (keyworkers) have taken part and have encouraged their parents and siblings to do it at home as well.

The challenges have been sent out each week to each classes’ home learning page, with class teachers posting videos of themselves doing the challenges. The Crawley schools have also entered a Crawley-wide competition judged on percentage of entries submitted per school role, which has helped drive up participation and engagement. 

5. Are pupils and parents engaging? How do you know?

The pupil/parent engagement is between 10% and 50%, averaging at about 20%, which is similar to most primary schools in the similar catchment to us. This has been tracked through Google Classrooms and Marvellous Me. This will hopefully increase because all class teachers are phoning each child/parent weekly to check in. Vulnerable, pupil premium, or at-risk children have been phoned at least twice a week and most receive a care/food package weekly (most other primary schools are doing this). We are exploring purchasing individual PE equipment packs for each of these pupils, in order to help them and their family participate in PESSPA at home.

6. With the phased reopening of schools taking place from June 1st, what steps are you taking to follow DfE guidance and ensure pupils still access PESSPA safely when they return?

A thorough risk assessment has taken place. The week prior to opening, a deep clean of all PE equipment will take place and the portable outside play time equipment will be brought in. Each bubble will be given a selection of equipment to be kept in their hub, to be used at break times and PE lessons. This will be cleaned before being given to another bubble. Seymour will be running a rotation of classes so that each child will attend 5 days over a two week period and will only have one teacher (this may change as more return). Home learning PE will continue for those not in school.

More PE lessons will probably take place outside because outside learning is recommend, but lessons will be shorter 20mins-30mins. These will be a mixture of personal challenges, drills based on the Specsavers Virtual Sussex School Games challenges for that week, past virtual challenges and lessons of a boot camp nature.  Children will keep an individual record sheet of activities/score and time. The year 6 leaders will design and set video challenges for their peers in pods, for other year groups and those who are still home learning. Money from the PE & Sport Premium will be used to meet any shortfall in equipment. Children will not change for PE except shoes, we are waiting for confirmation on if they will be able to wear PE kit to school.

All children will have one or two plastic spots to sit/stand on, lines have been spayed on playground and field 2m apart. For after-school clubs, Crawley Storm will be running some in school and after-school clubs, with all equipment to be cleaned between groups and children to remain in hoop and on spot. It will be one ball per child and the coach will be 5m away for all children. Other after-school clubs may start on an individual hub nature if staff are willing. In addition to the Virtual Sussex School Games, all children attending school will take part in the challenges as part of a Intra School Competition and we are looking at setting up a virtual year 6 competition with other local TKAT schools.

7. What good practice advice would you give to other primary PE coordinators?

To look carefully at everything on offer and decide what is best for your school. It is important to keep tasks simple for teachers and parents because most are being bombarded with information and resources, not only for PESSPA. I would recommend joining in ideas and programmes set up by Active Sussex and your local School Games Organiser to help lessen your work load. The use of social media is really important and a good way to engage with parents and families. As SGO for Crawley, I have a Twitter account that Crawley schools and families can follow, which I use to share lots of useful information and opportunities.

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

Active Sussex have a web page for Primary PE Coordinators and a PE & Sport Premium web page with a wealth of information & resources.