Inclusive PE lessons where every child shines

One of the biggest challenges facing teachers today is balancing the many different needs of children in their class. This challenge extends to PE – how can you manage the diverse needs and abilities while encouraging and supporting all children to develop a lifelong love of physical activity?

As part of our PE Specialist Support package, we work with teachers to explore how the school’s PESSPA offer can be made as inclusive as possible, giving every child a good experience and supporting them to become confident, capable movers.

Here are our top tips that will get you started on your journey to creating an inclusive curriculum:

Understand Individual Needs:

At the start of the school year assess the abilities and needs of each child. This can involve observing them during activities, speaking with parents and caregivers, and reviewing Educational and Health Care Plans (EHCP’s) or any other relevant

Differentiate activities:

Plan activities with varying levels of difficulty. For example, in a throwing and catching lesson, provide options such as using larger or softer balls, or allowing students to stand closer or further away based on their ability. Alternatively allow students to choose between different activities that meet the same learning objectives. This empowers students and helps them engage in a way that suits their abilities.

Using STEP (Space, Task, Equipment, People) principle to help with differentiation. Use equipment that can be adapted for different abilities. For instance, provide lighter rackets, larger balls, or accessible sports equipment for students with physical disabilities. Simplify or change the rules of games to ensure inclusivity. For example, modify a game of tag to include a “safe zone” for students who need frequent breaks.

Inclusive Teaching Strategies:

Combine verbal instructions with visual aids like demonstrations, cue cards. This helps students who may struggle with one mode of communication to understand the activities. Where appropriate incorporate technology, such as apps that assist with movement or coordination, or videos that demonstrate activities clearly. Try using the inclusion spectrum to deliver activities (parallel, modified, separate, open activities).

Collaboration and Support:

Work with PE specialists (such as Go Well), teaching assistants, and therapists to plan and teach PE lessons. You can involve pupils too by asking them to support each other. This can help build social skills and foster an inclusive environment.

Create an Inclusive Culture:

Use inclusive and positive language and celebrate diversity in abilities. Encourage your pupils to recognise and support each other’s achievements.

Continuous Feedback and Adaptation:

After each lesson, reflect on what worked well and what could be improved. Make necessary adjustments to future lessons based on these reflections. Remember to ask for feedback from your pupils – what activities did they enjoy, what didn’t they enjoy and what challenges did they face? Use this feedback to adjust your lesson plans.

Further information

Ongoing CPD or training will help you stay up to date with best practice and new strategies. Make sure you sign up to receive our newsletter and look at our CPD packages.

Sport England has resources for supporting Children and Young People to be active

Take a look at Youth Sport Trust’s Inclusive Sports Programme

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