Author - Francesca Laughton - Page 2

Is sports premium money having a positive effect?

Physical activity is incredibly important to the development, self-esteem and health of primary school children. Unfortunately, the vast majority of kids across the country aren’t getting enough exercise every week. As well as leading to an increase in childhood obesity, a lack of exercise can make it harder for kids to concentrate in the classroom and can cause pupils to become less confident.

In an effort to increase the amount of exercise children in the UK do every day, the Government created the Sports Premium. A fund of £320 million, the Sports Premium has been designed to help primary schools improve their PE provisions and get their pupils moving. So is this money having a positive effect on the country’s children? We decided to find out.

Why do primary schools need PE money?

According to the experts, kids should exercise for at least 60 minutes every day. This activity helps them to maintain a healthy weight, develop their muscles and boost their confidence and concentration. However, a lot of primary schools struggle to provide their pupils with enough opportunities to get active. While some schools can’t find time during the school day for games, others don’t have the land or the facilities to give their pupils the space they need to run, play and race.

The Sports Premium fund, or PE Money, has been created in order to help schools improve their facilities. It’s hoped that, by investing in equipment, coaching and other sports essentials, primary schools will be able to better provide for their pupils. This should give the country’s kids more opportunities to exercise and introduce them to a variety of new and exciting sports.

How much money is available?

The Sports Premium is a fund of £320 million that’s been created by the Government to help schools improve their sports provision. Although there are a few exceptions, almost all primary schools in the UK are entitled to money from the Sports Premium pot.

Money is allocated to schools depending on how many eligible pupils they have. Schools that have 16 or fewer eligible students receive £1,000 per pupils while those with 17 or more get £16,000 plus £10 per pupil. For most primary schools, this is a significant amount of money and should go a long way to helping them achieve their sporting goals.

How can Sports Premium money be spent?

Schools that receive money from the Sports Premium fund have to use the money to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of the physical education they offer. This means that funds should be used to develop, or add to, the PE, physical activity and sport that a school provides and build capacity and capability within the school to ensure that improvements made now will benefit pupils joining the school in years to come.

There are five key indicators that schools should focus on when looking to improve their sports provision. These include providing targeted activities or support to involve and encourage the least active children and encouraging active play during break times and lunchtimes.

Schools should also be establishing, extending or funding attendance of school sport clubs, or broadening the variety offered, and adopting an active mile initiative. As the Government believes every child should leave primary school able to swim, the fund can also be used to raise attainment in primary school swimming to meet the requirements of the national curriculum.

The Sports Premium should allow schools to raise the profile of sport and use sport as a tool for whole-school improvement. By making sport an integral part of the school day, teachers can encourage their pupils to be active throughout the day and embed exercise into the school’s education.

In some cases, the reason schools aren’t providing enough opportunities for sport is a lack of confidence, or understanding, among teachers. The Sports Premium can be used to help educate teachers to give them the expertise they need to lead active sessions and encourage pupils to take part. Understanding just how important physical activity is to education should help to motivate teachers to get involved.

Is the Sports Premium having an effect?

Schools that receive money from the Sports Premium Fund are required to report their results to a central body. This makes it possible to assess the impact of the fund and the effect it’s having on schools across the country.

According to the Primary PE and Sport Premium Survey research report, 35% of schools reported an increase in time spent on PE between 2016/17 and 2017/18, while 64% reported no change. An impressive 33% of respondents said they’d used the fund to introduce new and different types of extracurricular activities, while 54% used the money to support existing afterschool clubs and activities.

The report revealed that schools mostly used the Sports Premium fund to buy new equipment or improve existing facilities. A whopping 92% of schools invested the money in this way, while 88% used the fund to upskill staff and 83% were able to boost extracurricular sport as a result of the funding. A large proportion of schools (75%) said they used the funding to increase physical activity across the curriculum and 71% said the fund allowed them to increase involvement with sport networks and competitions.

Overall, the Sport Premium has allowed a large number of schools to invest in PE when otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to. This has provided thousands of primary school pupils with opportunities to get involved and get active and has gone a long way to promoting exercise, sport and physical activity among the country’s children.

If you think your pupils could benefit from taking part in more sports and getting more active, we can help. Our inspirational team of athletes travels the country visiting schools and encouraging children to get involved. Find out more by exploring our site or getting in touch with a member of our team today on 01223 792200.

7 P.E. lesson ideas for teachers

Over the past few years, kids across the country have slowly become less and less active. According to a recent report from the World Health Organisation, a staggering 85% of UK children don’t get enough exercise. This makes it more important than ever before for schools to encourage their pupils to get out and get active.

This lack of exercise is having a real impact on the nation’s health. Not only are children becoming increasingly overweight, kids who don’t have the chance to work off their energy during the school day can struggle to concentrate in the classroom.

If you’re a PE teacher, or if you just want to get your pupils more active during the school day, planning your lessons now will help you get the most out of the kids this New Year. Here are some of our favourite ideas to get you started.

Try something different

Getting a little more variety into your PE lessons can help to get kids excited about sport and show your pupils that there’s an activity out there for everyone. If you generally stick to standard sports like football, cricket and rugby, why not mix things up and try something a little different?

Basketball, volleyball, handball and even ping pong can appeal to kids who aren’t interested in more standard activities. By introducing a few alternatives to your lessons, you can give your pupils the chance to try to new skills and excel in different areas.

Many of these alternative sports don’t require expensive specialist equipment. In fact, all you need for most of these games is a new ball. This makes them feasible for all schools, even those working to tight budgets.

Take the competition out

For kids who aren’t naturally gifted at sports, taking part in PE lessons can be daunting. Many fear being chosen last for a team or finishing in last place in a competitive activity. In some cases, the competitive nature of PE lessons can lead to less confident and less physical kids being bullied.

Working to take the competition out of your lessons can help classes to feel more welcoming and more inclusive. Although you don’t need to remove the competitive element of your lessons completely, focusing on the improvement kids are making, rather than just on those who are excelling, can help to boost self-esteem and get pupils excited about taking part.

You could think about having a month or two at the beginning of the year where you focus on non-competitive games and activities. Alternatively, if you’re worried your pupils will lose interest if you remove competition completely, you could ask them to compete against themselves and try and improve their personal performance every week. This can be a great way of motivating your pupils and showing them that sport is for everyone.

Challenge kids to get active at home

While getting kids active during the school day is incredibly important, it’s also crucial that pupils are active when they’re at home. Getting out and about on a regular basis will help kids to build good fitness habits and will help to lay the foundations of a healthy, balanced adulthood.

Challenge the pupils in your class to take inspiration from your lessons and get active at home. Ask them to walk a certain number of steps per day, join a new sports club or just get out for a bike ride a few times a week. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could ask them to get their families involved too and work to get your entire community up and active.

Encourage a positive environment

Positivity is incredibly important when it comes to sports. If your pupils feel good about the games they’re playing and the activities they’re taking part in, they’ll be much more likely to put all their energy into your lessons. Fostering a positive atmosphere can make a huge difference to pupils’ attitudes, especially for those who have previously been uninterested in sport.

Creating a positive environment is all down to you. The more encouraging you are about your pupils’ achievements and abilities, and the less you focus on their shortcomings, the more positive your pupils will be. Creating this environment may take time, so don’t be put off if your efforts don’t get instant results. Stick with your new approach and you’ll soon see your pupils’ attitudes begin to change.

Get parents involved

Getting parents involved is often key to the success of any new initiative. Before you start your new physical activity campaign, talk to parents and get them on board.

If possible, arrange an evening where you can talk to parents face to face. This will give you the opportunity to tell them just how important physical activity is to every aspect of education. Make sure they know what your new lesson plans will entail and make sure they know you’re there to answer their questions.

Be inclusive

Showing kids that anyone can excel at sport, no matter what their physical limitations, can be incredibly powerful. If you want to create a truly inclusive atmosphere at your school, you could arrange for a visit from a Paralympian or another athlete who’s overcome adversity in order to achieve their goals.

Their message can help to get pupils inspired and can show the kids in your lessons that there are no insurmountable obstacles to physical fitness.

Get outside

As winter turns to spring and summer, you can start thinking about moving your lessons from the sports hall to the great outdoors. Although this may not be possible in all schools, those that do still have playing fields or outside play areas should take full advantage of any sunny weather.

If you want to get the kids at your school excited about sport, there are lots of inspiring and fun activities you can try this New Year. Find out more by taking a look round our site today or get in touch with a member of our team on 01223 792200.

20 ways to get children more active at school

Getting children excited and enthusiastic about exercise is essential, in order to set them up properly for maintaining a healthy lifestyle as they grow up. It isn’t just about getting children to run around and get rid of their excess energy. Exercise needs to be made fun and enjoyable.

Education is also very important. Children need to understand that whilst at school they are exercising their brains, and this should go hand in hand with exercising the body. By teaching children that exercise will help make them feel energised and refreshed, and will leave them with a rush of endorphins, they will soon enjoy working out.

Here are some great ways to get children more active when they’re at school.

  1. Orienteering

This is a great way to get the children outside and away from their desks. Group the children into teams and get them to find markers within the school grounds. The first to get back to the classroom wins a prize!

2. Use music for an extra boost

Children and teenagers always seem to be glued to their headphones these days. Incorporating music into PE lessons can really help to motivate the children to run faster or dance more.

3. Play follow the leader

Young children often like to copy others. Use this to your advantage and play a game of follow the leader. By incorporating skipping, sprinting and jumps you will have their hearts pumping in no time.

4. Organise a school charity fundraiser

You could encourage the children to participate in a 3K race, where they can run, walk or skip their way to the finish line. Remember to highlight the importance of taking part as opposed to winning here though. Be sure to set up a fundraising page before you start too.

5. Train the children for sports day

Sports day is a key event in any school calendar. Think about using this to your advantage and preparing the children for the races. Practice does make perfect after all. Having a goal to work towards will be motivation for them.

6. Jumping around

Children need regular breaks when they’re learning new skills in the classroom. A great way to increase the levels of oxygen to their brain is to regularly make them jump up from their seats and move around.

7. After school clubs

Rather than organising traditional after school activities such as singing or reading clubs, encourage children to explore the great outdoors. Consider putting together something innovative, like a school netball or football team to get them out in the fresh air after school. Anything is better than them going home to their computer screens.

8. Outdoor school trips

If you can fit it into your busy curriculum, why not take the class out to a nature reserve or beach in order to study the wildlife. It surely beats sitting in the classroom reading out of books for the day!

9. Join in with the children

Yes you! By joining in with the fun and games the children are having, they will see it less as a punishment or boring form of exercise. Show them how it is done and have a laugh with the children. Whether you have a game of catch or walk round the school playing field, do it together.

10. Have a plan of seasonal activities

When it’s the middle of winter and pouring with rain, it will be almost impossible to encourage the children to go outdoors and exercise. This would be a great time to get them into the gymnasium, playing on ladders, doing roly polys on mats and so much more.

11. Have a varied PE timetable

If the children are made to do netball every week for a month, they’re likely to get bored of it. Mix up the sports that they do within their PE time, and ensure both sexes will enjoy it. Rounders, for example, is a fantastic sport to play in summer.

12. Get the chalk out

Children love playing with chalk and marking out areas in the school playground. Hopscotch is a great way to get children moving – encourage them to draw out the squares and make a game of it.

13. Hula hooping

There are so many different tricks that you can do with a hula hoop (once you’ve mastered the basic technique). By giving the children goals, they won’t even know that they’re exercising, it will all just feel like fun to them.

14. Cycling proficiency

Bikeability is the new ‘cycling proficiency’. Include this within the timetable at your school in order to encourage children to be more active. Teaching them the safety of cycling on the roads will set them up in good stead for the future too.

15. Provide active toys

You can’t encourage children to exercise more without giving them the tools to do so. Have a box of skipping ropes the children can choose from during the lunch break or give them a football to kick around.

16. Encourage children to tidy

Is the classroom looking a bit on the messy side? Are you struggling to find time to organise it before the children arrive in the morning? Why not make a game of it and get the children to help you tidy up? Not only will it mean the classroom will be tidy quicker, but it gets them moving too.

17. Reduce screen time

Whilst computers have their part in education, remember to encourage children to take time away from screens and get some fresh air instead. This will help both their eyesight and their overall general health.

18. Invest in an indoor ping pong table

If the weather outside is grim, ping pong is a great way to get the children moving and jumping around. You could even have a teachers vs students game to really make them improve on their skills outside of school.

19. Encourage a walk to school scheme

Rather than parents dropping their children off in their cars every day, why not put together a sticker chart that rewards children for walking to school instead? Children will be active before the school day starts, and it will make for a safer school by reducing the number of cars near the entrance too.

20. Try something new

Every child enjoys some sports more than others. The best way to encourage them to be active is to find something that they enjoy. Why not put on a week’s worth of different activities during summer to see which the children find more fun. Our activate programme is a perfect way to introduce this into your school.

We hope this has given you some ideas on how to get children more active at school. @PentagonPlayUK recently installed a Daily Mile Track at a school in Norfolk, to encourage children to walk or run a mile each day. There are lots of different ways to get children moving, but making it fun is key.




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Tokyo 2020 – Get children excited about the Olympics!

It seems like the Rio Olympics were only a couple of months ago, not almost 4 years ago! With Tokyo 2020 just around the corner, it’s a great time to get children educated on the importance of exercise. With so many sports out there, take this opportunity to show them something new. Starting children off at a young age with exercise is key to developing a healthy lifestyle and connecting with exercise and good eating habits.

New sports to get involved with

The Tokyo Olympics brings with it the introduction of some new sports, bringing some unusual activities to a competitive level.

  1. Surfing

This is a hard sport to qualify for as there is only space for a total of 40 athletes (evenly split between males and females), with a maximum of four people from each country. Surfing will take place at Tsurigasaki Beach over a four-day period.

2. Skateboarding

Within skateboarding there will be two categories for each gender. The first is street skateboarding, which is held on a fairly straight course with stairs, benches and handrails. There will also be park skateboarding, which will be performed on a hollowed-out course with curves and deep grooves.

3. Sport Climbing

This will be a combined competition for both men and women, and 20 athletes from each gender will take place. Sport climbing will be split into 3 categories – speed, bouldering and lead.

4. Karate

With Japan being the home of karate, it’s no surprise that Tokyo will host the very first Olympic karate competition. There will be six events in total, three for each gender, and this is then split further into weight divisions.

5. Baseball and Softball

Baseball and softball were part of the Beijing 2008 Olympics but were then removed from the schedule. Japan is the favourite to secure a medal in both sports, so it will be an interesting time for the home team.

Travel to Tokyo

As well as getting children involved in some of the new sports that are launching at the 2020 Olympics, Travel to Tokyo is a nationwide project funded by the National Lottery. As @Living_Sport tweeted, the project aims to inspire children aged 5-11 and their families to try new activities.

All primary schools in England will be contacted about Travel to Tokyo. The project is running until December 2020, meaning that the hype the Olympics brings will continue to inspire young children to try out new sports. The idea behind this concept is to encourage families to motivate each other and in particular make parents more aware of the recommended levels of activity their child should be participating in on a daily basis.

Benefits of exercise

Research carried out by Sport England suggested that 4 in 5 young people aren’t doing the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise. With the rise in modern technology, it comes as no surprise really. Rather than playing outside after school, many children are straight on the sofa watching the television or glued to a gaming programme.

It’s important to educate children on the importance of exercise so that it becomes second nature for them. Here are some of the benefits:

  1. Physical activity is good for the brain – both its development and functioning
  2. Academic performance is often improved when physical activity increases
  3. Exercise helps with mental health too, with an immediate positive effect on the brain

How schools can make an impact

Encouraging children to exercise is all about making it fun, and in small doses. As part of the Travel to Tokyo campaign there are some fantastic activity guides to give you some inspiration, but why not start with making your own Tokyo mascots – Miraitowa and Someity. As these are different genders, you could split the class into boys vs girls and run some sports day activities. Or better still, why not throw together your very own mini Olympics, complete with an opening ceremony where all the children can dress up and parade around the Olympic torch in preparation.

Put time aside to watch the games

Just because children will be at school for some of the Olympics, it doesn’t mean that they have to miss out. It will be close to the end of term, so could be the perfect opportunity to let the children unwind slightly and have some timetabled sessions where they can watch the Olympics live. Arrange your lesson plans around some of the big finals, particularly when Team GB are in contention for medals. It makes for an even more exciting event for the children!

Bringing the Olympics to the classroom

There are many creative ways that you can bring the Olympics into your lessons, no matter what subject area you teach. English is probably one of the easiest, as you can ask the children to write diary entries from an Olympic athlete’s perspective, a report about their favourite Olympic sport, poems about the Olympics and so much more.

If maths is your subject area, try adding some sports and statistics into your problem solving questions. Ticket prices is a great one to use as an example here. Don’t forget to add an Olympic countdown chart to your classroom wall too.

For the creative arts and music, the Olympics can be made quite fun. You could get pupils to draw a new Tokyo 2020 logo, compose some music for the opening ceremony, or even draw a new mascot. Integrating the Olympic theme into subjects like geography and history is a little harder, but for older students try and focus on educating them about Tokyo and the history of the games.

Get inspired

The whole idea behind the Travel to Tokyo concept is about making the Olympics a fun thing for children to get involved in. Whilst it’s a great occasion to encourage children to take up new sports and try different things, it’s also about bringing different nations together as one and coming up with innovative ideas to make sports and exercise fun for children, with the key goal being to get active.

£250 raised for MacMillan on the World’s biggest coffee morning!

Last Friday we hung up our “healthy-eating” gloves and hosted a coffee morning in aid of Macmillan. Macmillan provide essential physical, financial and emotional support to cancer patients and it was great to get the whole business park behind such a fantastic cause!

The annual Coffee Morning started in 1990 and this year marked the 28th event. Various people and companies raised money all over the country and there were some very impressive displays on social media!

£250 could pay for five people living with cancer to attend a health and well-being event, providing them with the skills to improve the management of these areas in their lives.

A big thank you to everyone who supported us and came and bought treats and entered the competition. Now it’s time to hit the exercise to burn off all of those calories!!