One of Sport England primary workforce objectives ‘to create a sector where workforce behaviour creates positive experiences for customers’. Through our work with the Primary Head Teachers Alliance Group (for PE, Sport, Physical Activity and Play) we have been able to co-design and scale up a partnership project through a test and learn process which has ‘captured the support our workforce needs to better meet the needs of the customers’.
A key work stream for Active Lancashire and our partnership network is ‘Energising Children and Young People’ and connected to this are the Sport England programmes we strategically lead across the county.
Supporting the Primary Schools network is a key strategic priority for Lancashire and we have therefore developed a Strategic Network to support schools to have a sustainable impact on children’s physical and mental wellbeing. This strategic network of instrumental partners including the Head Teachers Alliance, the Lancashire PE and School Sport Group and the School Games Organiser Group. As a network, one of our key themes is to develop the professional workforce; to ensure teachers and school staff have the confidence and competence to deliver high quality PE, sport and play.
This has been driven by the Head Teachers Alliance and developed into a plan by the Lancashire PE and School Sport Group.
One of the key gaps identified was the skills to deliver Fundamental Movement skills. A working group was established which included the Lancashire PE Advisor, the Active Lancashire CYP lead and the Workforce Development lead, we developed a training package and scheme of work to upskill teachers at KS1 to develop their delivery expertise of Fundamental Movement Skills. This was delivered as a test and learn pilot with Our Lady Star of the Sea Primary School who’s Head Teacher, Jan Hornby, had a vision to maximise the use of the Sport Premium funding for all pupils to develop their physical literacy;
“The most crucial element, like any other subject, is the upskill the teachers”
The school identified that in order for staff to have a positive impact on children leading more active lifestyles, they need to be empowered and develop their confidence to teach PE, sport and play. The pilot was developed to include mentoring, training and support to teaching staff through the expertise of the Lancashire PE Advisor. Active Lancashire provided £6,000 towards funding the evaluation of this pilot, in order to gather valuable insight from this approach. We were therefore able to conclude that through supporting the workforce in this way, the Lancashire PE Advisor evidenced the average competence age in Fundamental Movement skills increased by 3.3 years.
The Lancashire PE and School Sport Group presented these findings to the Head Teachers Alliance as an example of sustainable impact. As a result, the Head Teacher representative from Burnley replayed the findings to their cluster and obtained support from 30 schools in the area to scale up and replicate this support offer. By Active Lancashire working with the Burnley School Games Organiser and the Lancashire PE Advisor, we developed a training and mentoring programme for those schools targeting year 1, year 2 and Early Years staff.
“Working with the mentor and doing the training has really benefited not just the children but me as well. They have helped with my skills in teaching and delivering sessions and that confidence I have gained has really helped my teaching get better and I can see children’s skills getting better and better after every session” Laura Woodend, Year 1 Teacher
The feedback from the teaching staff has been fantastic, they have had ‘lightbulb’ moments understanding that children securing these essential skills will be more likely to enjoy and access sport and physical activity throughout their lives.
“Our children absolutely love it, they practice these skills and play time and when moving around the school. Our team are really enjoying delivering PE now, they feel empowered and really understand the skills” Helen Kershaw, Head Teacher, Whittlefields Primary Schools
The next stage with the offer is to showcase the impact on a Local Authority area engaging 30 schools and replicate it within the remaining 13 Local Authority areas of Lancashire, working through the Strategic Network Active Lancashire has helped develop.
We have also been modelling a similar approach in Rossendale; working with the Local Authority and their Sports Coaches to have a better understanding of the Curriculum when delivering in schools as well as improving the knowledge and skills of the Teachers delivering pe and school sport. We will shortly be able to share a report on this piece of work.
If anyone would like more information about the pilot work, please contact Mark Stephenson, Operations Manager 01772 299830/ firstname.lastname@example.org.