It has been fantastic to have all pupils back in school. We have had to adapt to a new ‘normal’ for now, following National Governing Body and Government guidelines.
Although inter-school matches have not been permitted, for the safety of our and other communities, the pupils and staff alike have enjoyed being back and having Games and PE sessions albeit with a few modifications. The time has allowed us to focus on fitness, skill development and different tactics without the need to rapidly prepare for matches and the pupils have made fantastic progress.
We have restructured our PE curriculum and the first half of term has focused mainly on outdoor activities including general fitness and wellbeing to help reintroduce the pupils. This has included orienteering, fitness/circuit training, cross country and swimming.
In Games, the boys have been busy consolidating their existing football skills and pushing themselves to develop new ones. The Year 3 and 4s have been working on individual skills, fundamental ball control, and general confidence on the ball. The Year 5 and 6s have enjoyed small sided games with the emphasis on creating space and working hard both on and off the ball. The senior boys have been introduced to the full 11-a-side game bringing the off-side rule into play and working on different formations. We have done some rugby and after half term the number of sessions increases. We are still limited to 15 minutes of contact time, however this has meant a focus on handling skills and a free flowing game.
The girls, in Games, have been focusing on hockey and netball and this will continue after half term. Although warm ups, cool downs and drills should remain as socially distant as possible, match play can continue in a similar way to before. There have been some rule adaptations in netball firstly due to the introduction of ‘Bee netball’ by England Netball and secondly due to their return to play roadmap submitted to government e.g. 4ft marking.
We have introduced internal match afternoons on their usual match days (Years 5-8 Wednesday, Years 3&4 Thursday) where the boys and girls play competitively in their year group bubbles. The teams are selected evenly giving everyone the opportunity to succeed. Captains are allocated and formal team lists created.
We have also implemented a ‘Dream Team of the Week’ for boys and girls with different criteria each time. The boys' first dream team focus was commitment and effort in Games, while the second, in the week leading up to half term, was for the biggest improvers. The girls' dream team focus was the HPL strand of Hardworking, followed by Realising (speed and accuracy). The idea of the Dream Teams for boys and girls has gone down well with the pupils.
Saturday Activities have also provided the opportunity for pupils to try some major sports in mix gender groups e.g. football, pop lacrosse, touch rugby, hockey cricket, which they have enjoyed.