Introduction- The Importance of Sport
School sports should be so much more than “having a run around and getting some air”. Sports education should be the development of skill and self. Sport teaches us all how to deal with success and failure. It demonstrates the importance of teamwork, effort and honesty. Sport demands discipline and respect for the rules.
“Sport has the power to change the world…it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.” NELSON MANDELA.
What Is Sportitude?
Sportitude was created organically. We didn’t set about to make a brand. What we did want to achieve was a way of delivering school sport incorporating a focus on positive life traits. We made it clear to the children that their skill level and attainment is closely linked to how hard the try. No one can expect every child to be a talented sports player, but we can teach them to have a positive attitude, to be good teammates and to be respectful. Only then can school sports be the fun, exciting and inclusive activity that it should be.
“I can accept failure but I can’t accept not trying.” MICHAEL JORDAN.
The Sportitude curriculum is broken down into 6 units- 1 unit per school term.
Unit 1- Core Skills
Unit 2- Invasion Games
Unit 3- Gymnastics
Unit 4- Net & Wall Games
Unit 5- Athletics
Unit 6- Striking & Fielding Games
More detailed information on the units and attainment targets can be found by clicking on the link to the “Sportitude Annual Plan” page.
Planning & Assessment
All Sportitude sessions are planned to the last detail. We begin by making sure that every child is properly prepared and safe to take part. Our “Kit Inspectors” (nominated children) ensure that everyone is dressed appropriately and all possible safety measures (such as taping earrings, clipping back hair and tying shoelaces) have been taken.
The sessions are generally based on 3 separate challenges/tasks that are fun and exciting, yet replicate the skills and understanding required to be successful at the particular sport or activity.
The assessment sheets concentrate on 3 key focuses. These focuses are based on skill level and their understanding of the task. The assessment sheets are designed in a way that the coach can give the class teacher feedback on the group as a whole and 5 “focus” children per session.
Below you can view an example session plan and generic assessment sheet.
During a recent visit, an Ofsted inspector described the Sportitude planning & assessment as “the best I have ever seen”.
Motivation & Rewards
Sportitude uses customised stickers and reward charts to provide extra motivation for the pupils. The children understand that these stickers are only used in schools/academies that deliver the Sportitude curriculum- making them extra special!
The KS1 children are awarded large stickers with the Sportitude trademarked logo for everything from good behaviour and fast changing to skilful performance and being a good teammate. At the end of sessions the children who have collected the most stickers are given an extra reward- in line with their classroom reward system.
At KS2 the children take part in a more advanced reward scheme. Each child is given a Sportitude reward chart that lasts for 2 terms. The chart features 2 sections. The first section is a 50 cell, numbered grid. The children use generic mini circle stickers to fill their grid throughout the 2 terms. The mini stickers are awarded for positive behaviours such as effort, urgency and helpfulness.
The second part of the chart features 5 large circles that act as templates for 5 large specific stickers. The 5 stickers spell out STAR10 and each is awarded for an individual example of excellence. The children are told that “big” or “special” stickers are given for moments that make the adult delivering the session think “WOW!”
S- Skill. Displaying an outstanding aptitude towards a particular sport or task.
T-Teamwork. Putting the good of their team or group ahead of themselves.
A-Attitude. Trying their hardest, particularly when they find an activity challenging.
R-Respect. Treating other children, adults, equipment and facilities with courtesy and consideration.
- Awarded when the child reaches 10 mini stickers.
Children who EITHER collect 25 or more mini stickers, OR complete their STAR10 sticker collection are presented with a prize in a whole school assembly. The very few children who manage to complete both parts of the chart qualify for a “superstar prize”. Superstar prizes over the past 3 years have included trips to the David Lloyd Centre and a day of specialist coaching with university students at the Eastbourne Sports Park.
Sportitude’s flagship club is Climb and Jump. Climb and Jump is a gymnastics apparatus club set to music.
The children are put into small groups and rotate around different activities or “stations”. The stations include mini trampolines, a springboard, wall mounted climbing frames, ladders, tunnels, rolling mats and balance benches.
Ultimately, the club is fun and that is why it is always incredibly popular, to the point of often being over-subscribed. However, the club also helps the children to build confidence, co-ordination and fitness.
We also run other sports clubs depending on the availability of staff, facilities and the time of year. Our other clubs include “Pick ‘n Play Football” and “Summer Sports”.
The clubs are staffed by a lead, qualified coach who is supported by school staff. Having school staff working at the clubs helps to create a comfortable and familiar environment for the children.
In the near future Sportitude will be launching its latest club – “Kick Start”. Kick Start will be an early morning club featuring multi-sports, followed by a healthy breakfast that the children will help to prepare. The breakfast part of the club will provide an opportunity for the children and adults to have casual chats about sports and healthy lifestyles. Everything and anything from why a good breakfast makes us feel good throughout the day, to whether Ronaldo or Messi is the best footballer!
Sports Leaders UK accredited training centre
Heron Park Primary Academy has recently earned the status of “Accredited Assessment Centre” for training adults and older pupils to gain Sports Leaders Uk awards and qualifications. We have already begun the process of training 5 of our teaching support staff to gain their “Community Sports Leaders” qualifications, and some of our more responsible Y5 and 6 pupils will be attempting to gain their “Play Makers” awards, which will enable them to run sports activities for the younger children at playtimes and lunchtimes.
Is Sportitude actually making a difference?
We certainly think so. The children tell us that they enjoy their Sportitude lessons. The general skill level, sports understanding and enthusiasm have increased markedly over the past 2-3 years. It has been observed amongst the staff and parents that children have become hardier. The pupils, in the main, are humble winners and dignified losers. They all subscribe to the mantra “We play to win but it doesn’t really matter.”
There has been a trickle-down effect from the enthusiasm for sport that has been created. At lunchtimes there are always multiple sports activities available to the KS2 children. Daily outside activities include Hockey, Football and Basketball matches and a mini dance stage. The Y6 children have their own lunchtime sports clubs in the hall where they play Hockey, Netball, Crab Football, Balloon Volleyball and racket sports on rotation. Although Sportitude would like to think that the children’s enthusiasm for lunchtime sports might emanate from our sessions, the majority of the credit must go to the likes of Mrs Phillips, Mrs Crowe and Mr Evans for making this happen. Good quality sports coaching can set the benchmark and generate the interest in sport, but the opportunity to practise every day is making a huge difference.
Our efforts are not going unnoticed. On a recent inspection by the Department for Education, it was noted that our sports program is “impressive” and “knows what it wants to achieve and how to make it happen”.
How can parents/carers help?
The biggest challenge that we face in our sports sessions is children who do not have a suitable change of clothes and footwear. We would prefer that children wear the standard school PE kit, but on occasions where this is not possible we ask that children bring any loose-fitting, comfortable clothes to change into. Children should also have either trainers or plimsolls. Local authority advice dictates that children should not be taking part in sports sessions in their school clothes or shoes. This can be dangerous, impractical and is unhygienic. It is the academy policy that every child should always have a PE kit in school.
Children who do not have PE kits have a detrimental effect on the whole group. Those children who do have their kits often have to wait while spare kits are sourced for those who do not. This delay creates a situation where those children who are properly prepared are losing part of their sports session waiting for the others.
Please be aware that we use a tracking spreadsheet to identify patterns of non-participation. This includes children missing sessions through illness and injuries, as well as missing PE kits. When patterns of non-participation (for whatever reason), are identified, a member of the academy’s senior management team will call the parents/carers to discuss our concerns.
If any adults in the community have sporting expertise, experience or even just a lot of enthusiasm and would like to volunteer to make a contribution, we would love to hear from you.
The academy’s next major goal is to achieve recognition through charter marks and Sainsburys Schools Games Awards. As a minimum, we hope to earn our Bronze Sports Award by September 2016. To make this happen we need to continue to deliver high quality PE provisions, achieve large numbers of sports clubs attendees and take part in the majority of local inter school competitions. And of course, if we are taking part- we are going to try to win!
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog and PLEASE…remember those PE kits!