'Ofsted must stop treating PE and sport as an optional extra'
In a week in which Ofsted has slammed the state of competitive sport in state schools, a new book published by United Learning sets out case studies of excellent PE and Sports practice in both state and independent schools that are successfully driving up overall school improvement.
The book A-Z of School Improvement Through PE and Sport – Principles and Practice, is co-written by United Learning’s Head of Sport, Shaun Dowling and Professor David Woods and brings together an eclectic mix of school improvement inspirations, ideas and strategies drawn from PE and sport.
With case studies and thought pieces by a range of contributors including Olympians and Paralympians, athletes, coaches, academics and head teachers, the book demonstrates the power and influence that well-taught PE and sport can have not just on the individual but on the success of a whole school.
Launching the book, Jon Coles, Chief Executive of United Learning said:
'It’s good that Ofsted’s report recognises the importance of PE and Sport and right that they should be looking at whether the Olympic legacy is being sustained. This book demonstrates that there is real excellence in both state and independent schools across the country and that PE and Sport can positively influence the whole school.'
'However, if Ofsted truly believes that excellence in sport is an important part of excellence in education, then they must stop treating it as an optional extra. As long as Ofsted only values exam results as a measure of successful schools, it is certain that many schools will feel they have to take the same view.
'If Ofsted really want to be taken seriously on this subject and make sure that schools maintain a focus on sport, then they need to give credit to aspects of school which don’t lead on to public exams. Across 20 recent Ofsted secondary school reports, not one so much as mentioned competitive sports provision.
'Well-taught and coached PE and sport improve aspiration, teamwork, resilience and form an important part of young people’s physical and mental development. But you’ll never catch an Ofsted inspector giving a school any credit for this.'
The book’s co-author Shaun Dowling said:
'PE and sport are unique in their ability to make such a substantial contribution to the health and wellbeing of students. Physically active young people are happier and do better at school. In this book we have pulled together a series of case studies, strategies and research from across the country that demonstrate just how effective PE and sport can be.
'Through this book Olympic and Paralympic athletes, elite coaches, academics and head teachers celebrate how in schools up and down the country, Sport and PE can play a significant role in developing all aspects of a young person’s education and character.'