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Maungatapu Primary School


As a result of the focus on fundamental movement skills, Maungatapu School students were observed as being more active at playtimes and lunchtimes, and were using sports equipment more productively outside class time for its correct purpose.


Aim/Focus: Curriculum

  • To develop and sustain our students’ understanding, skill, and involvement in physical activity (PA), and provide experiences that will
    encourage them to become lifelong participants
  • To identify the strengths and weaknesses in fundamental movement skills with a view to developing student capability in acquiring and demonstrating movement skills, and teacher capability in teaching movement skills.


Contributing (years 1–6); School roll – 550

As a school, we needed to determine which fundamental skills to focus on in our physical education (PE) programme. We were focusing primarily on the 'in movement' component. Evidence to support this focus came from observations of PE lessons and PA in the playground. It became apparent that this was an area of weakness across the school, both in regard to teaching fundamental movement skills and the observed PA of the students.

Process undertaken

  • Professional development carried out with teaching staff related to fundamental skills, led by two staff members with responsibility for PE and co-curricular PA leadership. This involved unpacking fundamental skills to ensure all teachers had a clear understanding of the components Staff members engaged in practical activities, practising some examples of fundamental skill circuits – a great experience, which provided lots of laughs.
  • Syndicates each selected seven to eight activities related to fundamental skills to use in circuit situations. Activities included catching, passing, dribbling, balancing, striking, and hitting.
  • Syndicates organised a timetable to allow classes to set up their circuits and to observe each other in action. This was especially helpful for less confident teachers, who could see how to go about engaging their students in the circuit activities. This also helped ensure the focus was on the 'doing' rather than the management of students.
  • At the conclusion of each circuit, each teacher completed written feedback to record observed students’ strengths, weaknesses, and conclusions they could draw from student performance and participation.
  • This feedback was collated by the Lead Teachers, who presented their findings identifying strengths and weaknesses to the staff. A survey of the community had earlier shown the types of activities students and their families engaged in outside school. This information was retained to give a 'Big Picture' of our students’ levels of involvement in PA across the school day and at weekends.


Strengths observed from student participation in circuits and from survey feedback included:

  • Most students were able to pass accurately, using a variety of balls.
  • With each circuit session their class was involved in, teachers noticed that the majority of students improved their skills.
  • Students were able to participate in a variety of ways: individually, in pairs, and in small groups.
  • Students were enthusiastic and motivated to take part, and teachers were too, because they had been provided with plenty of prior knowledge and experience in working with circuits.
  • It was noticeable that most students could effectively dribble with a hockey stick and control the ball.
  • As a result of the focus on fundamental movement skills, students were observed as being more active at playtimes and lunchtimes, and were using sports equipment more productively outside class time for its correct purpose (for example, soccer balls, unihoc, kiwi tag, skipping, hopscotch, gutterball, handball, cricket, and so on).
  • From information gained from a community survey of student involvement in sports outside school time, it became apparent that students who play sports regularly for local clubs have stronger and more developed skills than those who do not.

Weaknesses were:

  • students not pivoting and moving their feet into position, and some not being in position to receive the ball
  • catching and hand–eye co-ordination poor, students not cushioning the catch, not reaching for the catch, and not watching where they were passing the ball
  • poor kicking for accuracy
  • some students tending to throw a ball without checking to see where their partner was, or whether their partner was ready
  • some students not able to judge the force of their throw to make it a "fair throw" for their partner to catch.

The conclusions were:

  • Maungatapu School students need lots of opportunities to practise skills.
  • We need to work on developing better hand–eye coordination with small balls.
  • We need to emphasise the importance of moving (for example, being balanced when throwing, catching, dribbling, and so on).
  • Students need regular opportunities to practise eye tracking, catching and throwing of both large and small balls, for increased skill and confidence.
  • We noted that boys showed greater skill and confidence in fundamental skills in all areas than girls.
  • Some students require guidance and practice in working effectively and fairly with a partner, such as in ball catching and throwing.
  • Classes need to allow themselves time to practise skills in circuit activities or modified games, so that teachers can regularly check students’ progress in skill development and acquisition.



  • All staff enjoyed the professional development, which combined background information on fundamental movement skills with hands-on practical activities. Staff said this approach helped them to gain confidence and gave them practical examples of what a circuit could look like.
  • We see more evidence of teachers having lessons focusing on specific skills during the school week, rather than taking classes for random games.
  • Students are using equipment and playing games in a more productive manner at playtimes and lunchtimes. Few fights or arguments are noticed in the playground, despite the school having a large and diverse student population.


  • The resources available, such as space and sports gear, are limited.
  • Some staff noted that management of students is a challenge/area of concern.

Next steps

  • Feedback data to be again shared with staff, to enable each syndicate to identify which fundamental movement skills they will focus on in a schoolwide programme outlined by the Lead Teachers
  • Identify follow-up games to emphasise selected fundamental movement skills
  • Apply for funding for the Perceptual Motor Programme to be introduced in the junior school in 2008, to assist pupils to develop a sense of movement in and through space
  • Regularly introduce new games at each staff meeting, demonstrating the use of gear, management of students, and so on
  • Share this report with the Board of Trustees and community to inform them of survey findings and our suggestions for improving fundamental movement skills at the school
  • Consider annual budget allocation for replacing and adding to resources to support PE and co-curricular PA programmes
  • Ensure that space for PE and PA is incorporated into future planning for school playground development.