Teaching & Learning: Focus on Faculties: Sport and Outdoor Learning


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Well, what can you say about the Teaching and Learning that happens within the Faculty of Sport? Important? Vital? Essential?
Our children do not know anything different – they only know the exceptional level of provision in Games, PE and Outdoor Learning that they receive here at St Peter’s. I wonder if they know just how lucky they are?

The inspirational Mrs White (Head of Faculty) and her merry band of sport teaching staff work incredibly hard, in every weather you can imagine (!), to motivate the children and develop key movement skills sets within every child. We have been developing our curriculum planners over the past 3 years to fully support our ethos of ‘Sport for all’. We aim to challenge and support each child with what THEY need to work on. On top of this hard enough challenge, the sport staff also spend painstaking hours during the week completing team selection meetings, lists, communications and conversations to ensure that we are making our decisions based on the ability and effort displayed during games lessons and team practices.

I wish I could share with you the passion for sport our staff have, the belief in your children that they have and the weekly arguments that they have – but I doubt I would do them justice! All this work (done behind the scenes) is based on a genuine shared drive to celebrate the children’s merit and create a unique range of sporting opportunities for all children to be able to enjoy.

Allow me to introduce our Faculty of Sport Staff: What a team!!!!





As Mrs White informed us of her ‘heading off’ to focus (for a while) on her family’s new, exciting and personal journey, we worried we might not ever find anyone with the same passion, vision, ethos and logistics abilities as herself. She is after all a rare and beautiful find.

But lo and behold we have…

We will be welcoming the hugely experienced Mr Matt Hyde to lead our Faculty of Sport this term and beyond. I am sure a warm St Peter’s welcome will be waiting for him.


Sport Vision Statement

At St Peter’s, a robust programme within the faculty caters for all abilities in a wide variety of physical activities. The emphasis is on fostering as diverse a range of skills as possible, encompassing sportsmanship, team play and the development of individual skills, as well as promoting the values of being active and healthy.

From Year 2, St Peter’s offers an extensive and varied fixture list, allowing all pupils to experience competitive sport in their journey through the school. Last year, St Peter’s teams were involved in over 350 fixtures while in addition, our activity programme allowed pupils to explore more specialist and diverse areas of both sport and outdoor education.

Led by experienced coaches alongside the aid of visiting staff and masterclass sessions from likes of Alastair Cook, St Peter’s has achieved considerable recent sporting success, including selection into the England Lambs Rugby Squad, 9 representatives at the Prep Schools National Athletics Finals, and reaching the final stages of the IAPS Squash, Golf, Sailing and Girls’ Hockey competitions.

Despite this individual and team success, the underlying goal at St Peter’s remains that every pupil enjoys participating and understands the importance of participating in physical activity and outdoor pursuits. To ensure that we achieve this at St Peter’s, pupils have the opportunity to experience the following sports and activities; Athletics, Rugby, Hockey, Netball, Football, Cricket, Rounders, Tennis, Swimming, Table Tennis, Squash, Sailing, Forest School, Golf, Cross Country, Badminton, Gymnastics, Dance, Health Related Fitness, Horse Riding, Kayaking, Ringoing, Scuba Diving, Platform Diving, Mountain Biking, Windsurfing, Paddle Boarding and Martial Arts.


MOTTO: ‘Sport for all. Sport for life’

This has been our motto at St Peters for a several years now and everywhere you look you can see examples of children enjoying their sport and being active. From rushing around in the playground – to Games and PE lessons – to lunch time clubs – to house matches – to sporting activities. We have planned for the formal, but as importantly we have planned for the informal sport too. Remember that we encourage the children to peer teach and play in parallel friendship groups – so sports coaching is actually evident everywhere, everyday. Some of our pupils are GREAT teachers and coaches.

Sport happens everywhere at St Peters.


Mrs Emma White has had a huge impact on the Faculty of Sport. She says:

“From the moment I became a teacher I had one aim: to educate children to have the skills to be active for life. This could mean for us; training the next Olympian or it could be teaching a child enough skills that they could walk into a sports club anywhere in the world and be able to join in at any level. 5th team to 1st team, individual or team, gym class or umpire, DOES IT MATTER?

Sport has so many routes and so many options that I aim for all of our pupils to enjoy it in some form or another for the rest of their life.

When we step out to represent St Peter’s we ask the children to do so to the best of their ability. For a small prep school, it must be said, that we are a force to be reckoned with. However the single most pleasing thing is often not the results … but the way every week our pupils enjoy their fixtures and learn from each match; representing the school well and showing exemplary manners.

Many will have spent some of the Easter holiday watching the Commonwealth Games, a fantastic event, that brings all sports together and allows athletes from smaller countries to compete on a massive stage. I was hooked on the Netball and thought about the girls at St Peters starting their journey, one day this is where some of them could end up. The team spirit that not only the English Roses showed when they fought to the end to win the gold medal, but also the Scottish team when they were devastated losing by one goal against Malawi in an amazing comeback. They play together, win together and lose together.

Then there was the brilliant effort from Callum Hawkins in the marathon who collapsed in the closing miles of the race due to heat stroke, what disappointment after working so hard. I saw nothing, but messages of love for him despite the disappointment he must have felt. This is sport. It is not always pretty. Everyone has an opinion on it and it means something to not only those playing, but to those spectating.

This Friday is one of my favourite events at St Peter’s: The Harefield Run.
Whether you like running or hate it – the day itself always make me proud! The effort every pupil puts in is amazing and the effort they then put in to supporting each other continues to shock me -it is impressive in just how kind everyone is to each other. Just like the commonwealth games it brings a community together, demonstrates sportsmanship and makes St Peters Proud. “

Harefield Run 2017
Harefield Run 2017

Huge numbers of studies show that children who are more active exhibit better focus, faster cognitive processing, and more successful memory retention than pupils who spend the day sitting still. Keeping the body active promotes mental clarity by increasing blood flow to the brain, making activity vital to both learning and physical and neurological health. So why is Sport falling by the wayside in most 21st Century Curriculum? Especially when time and time again research proves that childhood obesity and sedentary living is something that should absolutely be at the fore of our minds.

PE only became a foundation subject on the National Curriculum in 1991. This was welcomed, but with a sense of nervousness as many teachers had not received training in how to deliver high quality PE. This remains to be the case. Here at St Peter’s all Games and PE is specialist taught and we plan for children to complete an untold number of physical tasks within our other curriculum areas, this physicality is in addition to the below figures.

St Peter’s Curriculum Coverage and Hourage:

Nursery – 60 minutes (in addition to a huge percentage of class based Physical Development work)
Reception – 60 minutes (in addition to a huge percentage of class based Physical Development work)
Year 1 – 2 hours of Games and 1 hour of PE
Year 2 – 2 hours of Games and 1 hour of PE
Year 3 – 4 hours of Games and 1 hour of PE
Year 4 – 4 hours of Games and 1 hour of PE
Year 5 – 4 hours of Games and 1 hour of PE
Year 6 – 4 hours of Games and 1 hour of PE
Year 7 – 4 hours of Games and 1 hour of PE
Year 8- 4 hours of Games and 1 hour of PE

When you then layer on the forest school, wildwoods, beach school, weekly activities, Friday activities, informal daily sport opportunities, outdoor adventure residentials and cross keys work – you can begin to see numerically just how highly we regard Sport and Physical Education here, at St Peter’s. We know for sure that it enhances so many lifelong learning skills (Grit, determination, competition, resilience, channeled purposeful aggression, self esteem and on and on the list could go). A message for Mrs White – in your absence ‘winning Wednesday’ and ‘Thumping Thursday’ will continue!

Conclusion: Learning from Failures

Matthew Syed, former Olympian, Times columnist and the author of Bounce (the theory of 10,000 hours) and Black Box thinking (learning from failures) – two fantastic books about sport – held a podcast with Robbie Savage (footballer) and Freddie Flintoff (cricketer) which discussed some great Sporting topics over several weeks. They were talking about how we learn from failures and effort.

Matthew Syed spoke of an experiment; after a test on children a psychologist praised half the group for the effort they had put into the test. He then praised the other half of the group for their talent.

When the same children were then given the option to take on another test, the children that had been praised for effort went on to pick the harder test to show how hardworking they were.
However the children that had been praised for talent picked the easier test in fear of losing the talent label by failing.

The children that had been praised for effort raised their score by 20%, but it was the reverse for the children that had been praised for talent, as they were scared of losing that talent status.
Therefore they did not push themselves to strive further.
They were scared of failure.

Our Advice:
Don’t be perfect, just try.
Talent is nothing without the hard work.
​Praise for the process not the result.
Learn from failures.

Here is the podcast:
(Listen from 1 hour).


So remember, Sport is for all, Sport is for life.

A recent report on our social media sites show those who play sport together, stay together.

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