The vision of PE within The St. Christopher School is to inspire, challenge and motivate pupils to be the best they can possibly be within a subject in which they can thrive, experiment and express themselves in a wide range of sporting activities.
At The St Christopher School Academy Trust we strive to offer a curriculum that allows every pupil to find a sport or activity that challenges them, allows them to use their own individual skills to work to the best of their own abilities and provides opportunities to develop their physical and mental capabilities. PE across all key stages of our school is differentiated to each learner and pupils learn at their own pace and are taught in a manner that works best for the individual.
All pupils receive a minimum of two hours PE each week. Our current curriculum includes a wide range of sporting opportunities including football, handball, basketball, swimming, trampoline, gymnastics, dance, cross-country, athletics and orienteering. This is alongside blocks of work targeting improvements in basic ball skills, co-ordination and social skills both in PE and the school as a whole.
Swimming is an area in which we place a great deal of time and effort into our learners. Primary pupils are taught alongside up-to-date ASA guidelines and levels which also supports our primary swimming level assessments. Primary pupils receive a weekly swimming session in our own school pool, with our year 6 pupils using Garons Leisure Centre on a weekly basis to ensure they can swim 25m prior to them moving into secondary education. This out of school swimming facility also allows us to identify pupils that need their skills challenged and improved by providing additional time in a larger pool with deeper depths of water. Key Stage 3 pupils receive one lesson of swimming per week throughout the spring term and specifically selected Key Stage 4 pupils or groups also receive swimming lessons out of school as deemed necessary.
The school’s PE department consists of two fully qualified PE teaching specialists that teach across both the primary and secondary departments of the school. We also have another four teaching staff that assist or lead lessons, all of whom have PE specific qualifications or sporting experience. These teaching staff are complimented by a number of Learning Support Assistants who are familiar with both the teaching content as well as lesson objectives. This large department ensures that ALL lessons have highly experienced and qualified staff leading them, as well as overseeing assessment and planning.
Extra curricular activities are another aspect of PE that allow our pupils to experience sport in a different manner. Our five whole school house teams are named after iconic British athletes from the London 2012 Olympic Games. These teams, Hoy, Farah, Weir, Ennis and Wiggins provide each pupil with their own house team, as well as the sense of belonging to a team. The PE department organises and runs three sport specific inter-house events every academic year in football, basketball and cross country running and all competitions are differentiated and tailored to enable as many pupils as possible to participate. Results and winners are announced in whole school assemblies and cup presentations are made at our annual sports presentation afternoon.
Role models and celebrating success are underpinning values that the PE department encourages in all aspects of the subject. Staff members are provided with PE kit identifying them as part of the department both in school and when out representing the school during fixtures. Pupils can purchase white PE tops similar to those of staff, so that we are able to unite and make the department bigger and stronger. We also allocate 4 special sporting achievement red tops each year to pupils who have made outstanding progress, displayed good behaviour and good attitude in lessons and for those that have gone above and beyond. These tops are for pupils to keep and act as a reminder to their peers of what is achievable when they apply the right skills.
Competitive sport isn’t something that The St. Christopher School shies away from either. We have regular sporting fixtures and events with 7 other special schools that allow for the skills learnt and taught in the classroom to be put into a competitive setting. The school also has a history of success, with our most recent achievement being crowned the Essex Disability Football Winners in the girls’ competition. These sports also encourage teamwork, social skills, sporting etiquette and tools that will serve them well once they move on from the school. These sporting opportunities have been further supported by the recent sport grant with girls’ specific lessons being created, alongside their participation in sporting fixtures.
The St. Christopher School provides invaluable memories, experiences and opportunities for our pupils. We aim to create a working environment where our students are able to take risks in their learning, to understand their next steps and to also grow as an individual.