St Mary's Catholic Primary School

Live, Love, Believe

Physical Education (PE)

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body,  it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.

John F Kennedy


Sport represents the best school of life by teaching young people the skills and values they need to be good citizens.

Adolf Ogi Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace


What is Physical Education?

Physical Activity is a broad term referring to all bodily movement that uses energy. It includes all forms of physical education, sports and dance activities. However, it is wider than this, as it also includes indoor and outdoor play, work-related activity, outdoor and adventurous activities, active travel (e.g. walking, cycling, rollerblading, scooting) and routine, habitual activities such as using the stairs, doing housework and gardening.


Physical Education is the planned, progressive learning that takes place in school curriculum timetabled time and which is delivered to all pupils. This involves both ‘learning to move’ (i.e. becoming more physically competent) and ‘moving to learn’ (e.g. learning through movement, a range of skills and understandings beyond physical activity, such as co-operating with others). The context for the learning is physical activity, with children experiencing a broad range of activities, including sport and dance.


Why do we study Physical Education?

Physical Education (PE) improves motor skills and increases muscle strength and bone density, which in turn makes students more likely to engage in healthy activity outside of school. It educates children about the positive benefits of exercise and allows them to understand how good it can make them feel. Participating in PE puts children on track to make regular exercise a habit – one that can combat obesity and reduce the likelihood of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. It also helps to maintain their brain and mental health. By making exercise ‘normal’ from an early age, this becomes engrained in them throughout their lives.

Physical education motivates children to expand their skills, as grasping the fundamentals of one sport makes it easier to master the rules of another. Regular exercise reduces stress and anxiety, contributing to healthy sleep patterns, which in turn lead to better mental health, immune system functioning and overall well-being.

Physical education that begins in early childhood demonstrates the value of co-operation and being part of a team gives them a sense of identity. Discipline is essential for sport and this can be both mental and physical. In sport, children need to follow rules and take instruction from their coaches. Sometimes they must accept decisions that they may not agree with. This teaches children an important life skill that will help them throughout their life and careers.


The National Curriculum states:

A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically-demanding activities. It should provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect.


Through their participation and study of the Physical Education curriculum, we intend that pupils will:


1 Become physically fit and understand the importance of exercise for their body and mental health

We intend that, through regular participation in physical activity, pupils will develop strong muscles, bones and cardiovascular health. We want pupils to experience the benefits of restful sleep, positive mood, increased energy and self-confidence, which are associated with exercise.


2. Learn wide-ranging physical skills and the fundamentals, tactics and strategies of some individual sports

By mastering fundamental movement skills, pupils will find it easier to learn fundamental sport skills. The combination of these two types of skills forms the basis of physical literacy (this includes - play, physical activity, PE, sport, active learning) helping to build more confident sportspeople.

3. Gain knowledge beyond their experience

Many pupils will have the opportunity to participate in some, specific physical activities and sports in their family and community groups. Through our curriculum, we intend to provide pupils with the opportunity to explore a range of sports and activities that they may not otherwise know about or have considered. We aim to broaden their experience and open new possibilities.


4. Acquire technical vocabulary and use it accurately

Mastery of specific vocabulary in Physical Education supports pupils in gaining an understanding of the code of a sport and therefore enables them to work more effectively with coaches and team mates.


5. Demonstrate attitudes of fair play and teamwork

A sense of fair play and strong teamwork are essential for successful involvement in sport. They support the development of tolerance, respect, integrity and care. Demonstrating fair play and teamwork create a sense of hope, pride and identity.


7. Become inspired to succeed and excel in sports and physical activities. 

We intend that pupils experience the enjoyment of physical activity through participation and competition. The promotion of excellence encourages discipline and perseverance, which can lead to high standards of achievement. Learning to both win and lose well – managing excitement and disappointment are important steps in pupils’ personal and social development