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Don Buck Primary School

Students are now far more active in lessons as a result of teachers’ improved pedagogy. There is a lot less teacher instruction, and students are given more time to practise or develop skills. This has led to an improvement in students’ attitudes towards physical education.

Aim/Focus: Curriculum

  • To improve teacher confidence and knowledge in physical education (PE) and to develop effective pedagogy in PE.


After joining the School Community Physical Activity Project (SCPAP) in 2006, our school needed to formulate some goals for the project. The staff completed PE and physical activity (PA) surveys. After analysing the results, we concluded that most teachers lacked confidence and content knowledge when it came to delivering quality PE lessons. Some aspects of effective pedagogy were used in lessons, but many key aspects were missing. Together, the teachers reached a consensus that we needed to undertake professional development to increase our knowledge and develop effective pedagogy that would improve the delivery and quality of programmes.

Process undertaken


  • Lead Teachers attended workshops
  • Knowledge gained was shared at syndicate and staff meetings
  • Lead Teachers modelled activities/games to syndicate colleagues
  • Time was organised for staff to observe lessons
  • Team teaching
  • Peer critiquing of lessons using observation sheets
  • Staff meetings organised with outside agencies
  • Funding sourced
  • List of necessary equipment compiled by the whole staff, with input from students, and then purchased
  • SCPAP noticeboard set up in the staffroom with ideas/activities for teachers to try, photos of lessons, and quotes from students’ thinking books
  • Learning conversations set up.

To gather evidence that teachers had actually met the identified goals, they were surveyed again, using the same questionnaire/survey. We evaluated the findings against the initial results and graphed results. It clearly showed a significant increase in teachers’ knowledge and confidence in teaching PE.

To accurately monitor the use of effective pedagogy, Lead Teachers critiqued staff members while they were taking PE lessons. Straight after the lessons, the teachers met to discuss the observations. Strengths were pointed out, as well as areas for further development.

When comparing observations from earlier lessons with more recent ones, significant improvements were identified. Teachers clearly had more understanding of aspects of effective pedagogy in PE, which was reflected in their lessons.


Lead Teachers liaised with their staff and senior management teams. They attended various syndicate meetings and held whole staff meetings to keep everyone informed, clarify any issues, give direction and support, and indicate progress.


Team Solutions, Sport Waitakere, Halberg Trust.


Teachers developed an improved appreciation for PE.

Through the learning conversation process set up during staff meetings, teachers are now more engaged in conversations relating to PE, especially during break times.

There is more openness and collegiality among teachers, which has enhanced professional working relations. There is thorough collaboration in syndicates, where teachers work out students’ needs, and plan and teach collaboratively. Inter-syndicate collaboration has also been developed, with teachers sharing ideas, successes, outcomes, and solutions.

Aspects of effective pedagogy now evident in teachers’ practice:

  • Learning intentions shared with the class
  • Success criteria discussed
  • Teachers asking divergent questions linked with the learning intentions to support critical thinking during and after lessons
  • A variety of grouping strategies used, from ability to mixed gender
  • More concentrated effort to maximise the time students are physically active, allowing them time to practise and apply learning
  • Reflection on learning, either as a discussion or in thinking books
  • Students given ownership of lessons by allowing them to modify games and activities
  • Teachers facilitating questioning to promote transfer of learning
  • Feedback and feed forward given by teacher during and after lessons
  • Empowering the students – child-focused to retain enjoyment and encourage lifelong PA participation.

Students are now far more active in lessons, as a result of teachers’ improved pedagogy. There is a lot less teacher instruction, and students are given more time to practise or develop skills. This has lead to an improvement in students’ attitudes towards PE. Giving the students a purpose for each lesson and discussing with them how to be successful means they now value this curriculum area more highly. This helps motivate students to achieve the learning intentions and to keep them focused.

The PE shed was reorganised and a new, teacher-friendly system developed so that teachers could obtain gear for their lessons with ease. Teachers were given an inventory of all the gear available.



  • The ability for all teachers to accept and embrace change in their pedagogy in PE
  • All teachers on board, taking quality PE lessons regularly, using effective pedagogy, leading to better lessons that are more enjoyable for the students
  • A platform provided from which to launch a proactive, school-wide approach.


  • Time for Lead Teachers to work with classes and other teachers
  • Staff changes and the number of Lead Teachers; we feel it would have been beneficial for one teacher per syndicate to be on the project
  • Lack of enclosed/covered venue meant lessons were cancelled due to weather conditions and/or court and field conditions.


  • Through the project, having had the chance to share with other schools, to find out what is working for them and gain advice or suggestions
  • The chance to work collaboratively with not only teachers from our own syndicates, but with all teachers
  • Needing to take into account differences in the size of students and the numbers in each class when selecting equipment
  • Community consultation/involvement
  • Increased information via school newsletters, informing families/caregivers about SCPAP and ongoing benefits of the programme.


  • To re-learn/undo old learning and/or adjust mindsets
  • Teachers having to reconstruct their pedagogy in PE. Some are set in their ways and apprehensive about why their practice needs to change
  • A sense of uncertainty
  • Convincing all staff to view PE as an equally important curriculum area
  • Jargon can be misinterpreted/misunderstood, which can lead to confusion
  • Staff wanting an easy way to obtain equipment from the PE shed and to know what gear is available to them.