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Tauranga Primary School

Teachers have a clear understanding of the difference between physical education and co-curricular physical activity, and the importance of the relationship between the two.

Aim/Focus: Curriculum

  • To provide quality teaching and learning experiences in physical education (PE) and physical activity (PA).


A staff discussion in 2006 about what we would like to see in our school with regard to PE and PA identified that staff wanted the following:


  • A whole-school goal and approach to PE
  • Consistency throughout the school (time + attitude + value)
  • Teachers/parents/students empowered to succeed in PE
  • Mentors to support and empower others
  • Shared planning
  • Teachers to be motivated and enthused to provide quality lessons
  • Teachers who feel empowered by having the skills and knowhow to help students learn
  • To use a variety of teaching methods/approaches for teaching and involving students
  • Differentiated activities relevant to individual skills
  • A combination of quality PE lessons and many opportunities for PA.


  • Enjoyment and success to be experienced by all
  • All students to be involved in PE and PA with enthusiasm and aptitude
  • Equal opportunities for everyone
  • Varied opportunities to cater for diverse interests of students.

Teachers’ comments provided more evidence of what was needed:

  • “I don’t know how to teach children to throw a ball, so how can I teach them PE?”
  • “I don’t feel confident to teach PE. I don’t know what I’m doing.”
  • “It is easier to go out and play sports than it is to construct a quality PE lesson.”

Reflection on current practice

Observation of current PE practice at Tauranga Primary School in 2006 showed that:

  • Teachers were mainly playing sport as their PE lesson.
  • The PE programme was structured around cluster sporting events such as the Sevens tournament.
  • PE was dropped out of the weekly programme when the week became too full.

Process undertaken

Fundamental skills

During the term 2 holidays, the Lead Teachers attended a fundamental movement skills course for 2 days.

This course showed us how to break down the skills necessary for teaching and learning that are specific to PA.

We were able to take this back to our staff and begin to support them in how to teach PE skills.

Small steps

We felt it would be too great a shift for us to completely change the PE yearly outline. Instead, we are making small changes to our ideas about teaching PE.

Instead of gymnastics, our focus has been 'balance'. Teachers aimed to move from teaching solely in a gymnastics context to exploring balance in a range of ways.

This was supported by our fundamental skills cards, which teachers could use to identify specific skills, how to teach those skills, and successful teaching strategies.

We also found fundamental movement skills activities on the SPARC website and supporting activities in a variety of books.


A discussion point came out of teaching the balance unit – teachers felt it was successful, but didn’t feel they knew what in particular they had taught the students during the exploration time.

We have since identified the need to look closely at new assessment practices when teaching units.

In our new 'Manipulation Skills' unit, we have mixed exploration with teaching identified specific skills. We hope this will allow a balance of fundamental skills teaching (learning 'in' movement) and exploration (learning 'through' and 'about' movement) in PE and PA.



  • Teachers realise the need for change to the traditional PE curriculum.
  • Teachers share their planning and ideas about what works to support each other within syndicates.
  • Teachers feel more empowered to correctly teach skills.
  • Students know specifically what it is that they are learning and how they are learning it.
  • Teachers are open to change, and realise that PE and PA are not as challenging as they once thought.
  • Teachers have a clear understanding of the difference between PE and co-curricular PA, and the importance of the relationship between the two.
  • Borrowing extra fun equipment that the staff and students are enthused about learning with. Staff are excited about heading outside with the new equipment, and students are able to use this equipment in their lunchtime programmes.
  • Having a whole-school celebration of 'Run, Jump, Throw' in non-traditional contexts, but still supporting the fundamental movement skills and social skills aspect. Successful because parents can see the changing focus in our teaching and learning in PE and traditional contexts. We supported this with a write-up in the newsletter about the 'Run, Jump, Throw' celebration rather than athletics. Also successful because the students were able to celebrate their achievements and learning as a whole school.
  • Having the competitive trials during our sport and lunchtimes for those who want to try out for South Cluster. Successful because parents were still able to come and watch the competitive aspect, but the students who were not interested in going to the South Cluster did not feel they had to participate.
  • Conversations in the staffroom reflect a more positive approach to PE and co-curricular PA, a sharing of ideas and activities, and a growing understanding of the importance of teaching PE as well as taking part in PA.


  • Parents not understanding the need and reasons for change. We have begun to show this change through our celebration days and will continue to help parents to understand the relationship between PE and co-curricular PA through regular newsletter articles.
  • Teachers also need to understand the need for change and recognise the relationship between PE and co-curricular PA. We will continue to provide the context for professional relationships through staff professional development and encourage reflection in the staffroom. We will continue to invite PE and PA professionals in for fundamental movement skill practice.

Next steps

  • Continue the traditional programme with the change in focus, attitudes, and values as an emphasis.
  • Continue to invite professionals in to support teachers with PE and co-curricular PA.
  • Continue to guide and support parents and teachers in understanding and accepting the need for change.
  • Recognise the role of our coaches and volunteers, and initiate change in values and practise reflection for them.
  • Provide professional support for our volunteers and sports coordinator.