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Otaika Valley School

We recognised that the whole school needed to be part of the solution.

Aim/Focus: Co-curricular

  • To have a positive, cooperative, active playground culture.


Students were not playing cooperatively and were not problem solving. There were:

  • arguments over rules
  • groups of students dominating equipment and areas
  • students preferring to be inside
  • big kids not including little kids
  • some students isolated and not participating
  • younger students running through games.

We carried out a video diary of students at playtimes, and students completed a survey about physical activity (PA). A duty book was started to record playground incidents and video footage collected of playground activity. There was whole-school teaching of playground games units, and Physical Activity Leader (PAL) programmes were started.

Process undertaken


What we did with the information:

  • analysed the student survey
  • identified students at risk
  • analysed the duty book
  • reviewed playground footage
  • looked at which students were active and involved.

We recognised that the whole school needed to be part of the solution. All staff:

  • discussed the need for playground games to address cooperative play and problem solving in the playground
  • were provided with a planning template for teaching a playground games unit
  • took part in professional dialogue around Teaching Games for Understanding (TGFU)
  • took part in professional development as part of the School Community Physical Activity Project (SCPAP) initiative.


Lead Teachers – responsible for coordinating, supporting, and organising students and teachers, liaising with Sport Northland and other professional development providers, initial basic unit plan, and collecting and analysing data

Principal – supporting staff professional development and release time

Students – participating in PAL workshop and programme, transferring knowledge and games learnt in class to the playground

Teachers – providing support to PAL students, implementing playground games unit, actively participating in professional development opportunities.


  • Sport Northland – PAL programme training
  • Team Solutions – professional development support and SCPAP workshops
  • PAL activity leaders manual
  • Books – Kiwidex , Play with Purpose, 50 Ways to Use Your Noodle, Fundamentals
  • Te Kete Ipurangi.


The main focus was to have a positive, cooperative, active playground culture.

Results from our initiative are to be presented to a Board of Trustees meeting, staff meeting, and at the SCPAP expo. Reflective statement to be published on TKI website.

Our school has started the process of reviewing our physical education (PE) and PA policies and procedures, including the way we are planning for PE and PA within our school.



  • Transfer of knowledge of games taught in class to the playground
  • Students able to work and play cooperatively
  • Students utilising PAL programme/games
  • Students taking leadership roles
  • Students being accepting of PAL leaders' guidance
  • Students being innovative, adaptable, and versatile
  • Students more confident about participating in PA during playtimes
  • Students with a bigger bank of knowledge of acceptable playground games
  • Students trying to problem-solve issues that arise in the playground themselves.
  • Students using critical reflection in the natural course of their play.


  • Varying levels of commitment (staff and students)
  • Change of staff resulting in lack of continuity
  • Work overload, small school syndrome
  • Teachers involved with PAL students not being the teachers of those students
  • Students chosen for PAL not natural leaders.


  • Personal/professional development for all teachers involved
  • Closer working relationships with other schools and professionals
  • Students involved with other schools
  • Updated resources available for use in school
  • Students have more opportunities to participate in our positive, cooperative playground.


  • Positive commitment of staff necessary to maintain motivation
  • Staff changes
  • SCPAP initiative finishing; ongoing support would improve sustainability.