Place of Pe Within the Curriculum


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School Physical Education (PE) is of critical importance as it encompasses the ability to allow pupils to safely develop physical competence and the knowledge of movement. The Department for Education highlight this major potential impact which Physical Education can have through its statutory position within the National Curriculum across all school key stages. All children and young people have the chance to holistically learn and advance key physical skills within a broad range of activities, allowing and encouraging the development of a healthy, active lifestyle. Additionally, national curriculum PE enables more to be achieved than just each individual pupils physical learning and developments , it also plays a pivotal role in solving, or reducing, major national issues such as the obesity and mental health problems. Within the placement school PE and sport are used a key tool to initiate pupil’s holistic development. Pupil’s learn and improve themselves biologically as physical athletic performers, psychologically through knowledge, understanding and the grown of personal mental attributes, but also socially, working with others under potentially challenging conditions, as they will in society. Alongside all timetables core PE lessons as part of the national curriculum, there are a range of extra-curricular activities and school trips such as a residential to the Lake District for the entire of year 7 at the start of September when they first join the school. Although pupils are completing a range of outdoor and adventurous actives (OAA) with their new peers and teachers, it is a brilliant icebreaker for the young people starting the high school journey, building relationships with staff, and making new friends with their peers. Therefore, ensuring school staff deliver optimal learning experiences in physical education is of paramount importance to all children and young people within the UK, to not only grow each child within school sport, but also to combat national issues which national curriculum physical education can counter.

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The Department for Education aspire for all education providers to enable holistic development for the children and young people within their care. The National Curriculum, guides teachers on what to teach and the Teaching Standards, demonstrating how to teach it. The Department for Education are giving teachers all the tools and frameworks required to allow all children to make holistic development if carried out successfully by each school. This type of development means all aspects such as physical, emotional, relational, intellectual, and spiritual are considered, allowing for improvements to be made by the whole child, rather than just in specific attributes. Regular Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) inspections are carried out to assess the quality of provision schools offer across the board, making sure it meets the education inspection framework requirement  before being rated Outstanding, Good or Requires Improvement or Inadequate, meaning the school has serious weaknesses or requires special measures.

A method that can be used to analyse and examine the impact of Physical Education on young people is Engel’s biopsychosocial model. It breaks down in detail the attributes which when combined allow an individual’s wellbeing to be determined. This model can be adapted to look at a variety of different aspects related to a person, how they come together and what causes and effects it can have, then allowing improvements to be made for better outcomes for each individual. It is suggested by Rodogno that a sense of wellbeing make up a large part of an individual’s overall happiness and health. Throughout times of strong health and happiness, people can successfully overcome difficulties, leading to achievements being made, such as overcoming the challenges all young people face in school every day whether academically, socially, or personally. Despite this, a variety of factors including past experiences, personal attitudes and future outlooks can all have a large effect on the wellbeing of any individual, but particularly a young person. School physical education and the holistic development which it entails enables children and young people to advance their sporting ability in whatever given activity covered in lessons, but also grow into stronger, adaptable, and resilient people who are better equipped to not only overcome, but thrive when faced with challenges in sport or the rest of society. Through the teaching and learning of these skills in PE, in a fun, engaging and inclusive way, pupils are able to achieve stronger academic outcomes in school, whilst also helping to combat national issues to help create a better future. The placement school highlight how creating a learning environment suitable to the needs of the pupils is what allows them to become engaged and enjoy taking part in physical activity. Higher ability groups thrive on more competition and will enjoy lessons more when they are tested, challenged, and are competing with their peers. Whereas more lower ability pupils who may be less engaged with sport and physical activity will see little to no direct competition with their peers, as instead lessons are geared towards participation and enjoyment as pupils try to learn key motor skills and sporting values. Overall, for whatever level the pupils is working at, the schools main aim is to try to instil each pupil with a love of sport and physical activity, with the knowledge of its importance and how it can shape and impact their lives and lives of others around them in the future.

In recent years major issues have come to fruition within the UK’s population which have meant the need for high quality physical education in schools, across all key stages, is greater than ever before. These issues are not only impacting a large number of people, but also having serious knock-on effects to some of the country’s main infrastructure which in term is making the problem even harder to solve. Viciana, Mayorga-Vega and Martínez-Baena  state that high quality school physical education, particularly when taught from early years to throughout a young persons time in education, can have long lasting positive impacts and in turn help to reduce the negative impact of these issues. Shan claims that obesity has been a major problem within the UK since 1984, and has only continued to grow since, leading to an increased strain on the National Health Service. Obesity is a problem across all ages as statistics form Public Health England demonstrate that in 2017, 28.7% of all adults were deemed obese with an additional 35.6% falling into the overweight category. Unfortunately, childhood obesity is also a growing problem with just under 10% of all children beginning primary schools throughout the UK being classed as obese for their age, whilst the number rises to over 20% when the young people start secondary school. It is for these reasons that Power and Larouche both argue the importance of physical education within the National Curriculum, in not only reducing childhood obesity, but also in educating and informing all young people how to live health active lifestyles with the aim of reducing chances of obesity as they grow into adulthood. 

The first section of Engel’s Biopsychosocial Model  looks at the biological. Specifically, the effects that can be had by children and young people who grow up and leave school physically educated whilst having experienced holistic development throughout their education. The main advantage that can be highlighted is the clear health benefits that come with taking part in regular physical activity . Warburton and Bredin and Haible both suggest the large number of benefits that can be gained including weight loss, lower blood pressure, stronger bones, muscles and joints and also a quicker and stronger response and recovery from illness. Overall, it is believed that regular physical activity and exercise can only benefit an individual’s health, albeit there is the potential risk of injury however these can also occur at any time in day-to-day life and overexciting however this is only through extreme amounts more than the recommended average. 

For these positive health benefits to be achieved, and for people to take part in regular exercise as an adult, they must have positive experiences of physical education during their time at school. Through high quality physical education teaching of the PE National Curriculum, it allows each individual to improve, develop and enjoy taking part in sport, whilst gaining a strong knowledge of not only what to do, but why it is done. Lyngstad, Bjerke and Lagestad  suggest that if all children and young people are able to grasp this knowledge and enjoyment for sport and physical activity in school, then it is more than likely it is something that they will continue to take part in outside of school and as they grow into adult life. Which will in turn lead to their individual health benefits, as well as potentially their family and friends who may be encouraged to join in and take part. The know on effect being that if more people across the country are living healthy active lifestyles, it should reduce the strain on the NHS  as due to a decreasing level of obesity and few numbers of general health problems. Therefore, Viciana, Mayorga-Vega and Martínez-Baena , Power et al  and Larouche et al all argue the important role which physical education in schools can play, in not only looking after and providing positive benefits for the students taking part, but in aiding the country by helping to solve national issues.

Another major problem facing the UK is mental health. Mental health charity MIND published that within the UK, approximately 1 in 4 people will experience some form of mental health problem each year. They went on to add that in England specifically, it is reported that 1 in 6 people experience a common mental health problem, for example anxiety or depression. Mental health problems are also rising amounts children in school. The Mental Health Foundation released statistics stating that 12.8% of young people ages between 5-19 had at least one mental health disorder. These numbers have gradually risen in recent years and it is argued that this is due to the growing number of emotional mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. The Mental Health Foundation  also state that amount younger children, mental health disorders are more common amongst boys, compared slightly older teenagers, where they are more commonly seen with girls. They go on to suggest that within 17-19-year-old girls specifically, 1 in 4 had a mental disorder, with over 50% of those that did, self-harming or attempting suicide as some point. Giota and Gustafsson and MacMullin argue the reasoning behind the differences in how gender is affected by mental health. They suggest that although each individual can be uniquely affected, common themes such as body image, personal, parental and social expectations combined with the massive influence of social media in the present day can all have major impacts, not only on what each person feels, but how they are able to cope with these emotions. 

The second section of Engel’s Biopsychosocial Model focuses on psychological aspects. Pretty et al , Szabo and Rasmussen and Laumann  all demonstrate the vast number of benefits that can be achieved through constructive physical activity and exercise. They suggest some of the greatest psychological positives include a reduced level of stress, anxiety and feelings of depression, whilst also promoting a sense of mental wellbeing (Pretty , Szabo and Rasmussen and Laumann. Broman‐Fulks et al  specifically discusses the psychological benefits of regular exercise. They state that stress and anxiety levels reduce through a boost in self-esteem. This more positive outlook provides the individual with a stronger belief of being able to cope with feelings such as stress, in turn reducing depressive thoughts and allowing for better night sleep. Chan and Fritz and O’Connor  add that by taking part in sport and physical activity it promotes a feeling of psychological wellbeing. This happens through an improved mood and confidence, allowing the individual to feel more satisfied within their own skin and feeling better about their own body image. 

Larouche et al  again suggest how it is the role schools and physical education to instil an active sporting culture into their pupils, allowing them to reap the benefits hopefully reduce negative outcomes. Deighton explains how children and young people can struggle with their mental health as they progress through school due to many key factors such as going through puberty, preparing and taking exams like GCSE’s, combined with pressures and expectations from parents and teachers and social pressure to ‘fit in’ with peers . However, schools should try and do what they can to reduce pressure and allow each and every child in their care to thrive academically but also enjoy their time at school  There are a range of national and global sports schemes which schools can work alongside in order to make physical education and the whole school environment more supportive. Initiatives such as ‘This Girl Can’ , ‘In Your Corner’  and ‘Kick it Out’ all focus on aspects of sport nationally, which relate to psychological health where there is room for improvement. If children and young people are able to grow up and experience physical education and school sport where these initiatives are in place, it will mean they will leave school and enter adulthood and society, happier themselves, but also making it a better place for others.

The final aspect of Engel’s Biopsychosocial Model  is social. Armour, Sandford and Duncombe state that a number of social benefits which can be achieved through physical activity and sport. Stevinson, Wiltshire and Hickson  add that sport allows people to interact with people in alternative ways to normal day-to-day life. These experiences allow individuals to develop confidence though discovering leadership and communication skills. Physical activity and sport in teams also provides participants with a sense of teamwork and camaraderie which can set the basis for life-long friendships through meeting a range of new people with similar interests. Gibson-Moore suggests that through these social aspects, it can help to increase participation rates in grassroots recreational sport clubs. 

Within physical education at school, pupils are provided the opportunity to work with their peers in a different situation to classroom group work. Although PE lessons come across a more relaxed setting, there are many additional pressures and challenges, such as working as an effective team, deciding tactics and strategies and then being able to execute them during a game situation. These are what children and young people have to overcome in order to achieve success in physical education. High quality physical education within school should test each individual, allowing to experience the stretch and challenge in order to make improvements and develop, not just in terms of skills and techniques, but also holistically as a rounded individual. Knipfer et al and Trigueros et al  argue personal skills such as leadership and teamwork, learnt primary through school PE lessons, can be used throughout all walks of life as the young people move into adulthood and employment. 

Overall, physical education in schools plays a vital importance, not only to the children and young when they are at school, but also as they grow up and turn into adults. The subject, guided by the National Curriculum and the high-quality standard of teaching,  plays a pivotal role in building the future society. If schools are able to holistically generate physically educated young people, with a joy for physical activity, it can have major implications on the countries important infrastructure such as the NHS. However, for the process to be successful, it much be a combination of all aspects such as the National Curriculum, Standard of Teaching  and attitudes of society towards sport and physical activity that will lead to positive changes taking place in the future. 

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