Primary School sport is evolving – as schools look for ways to diversify their offering from traditional team sports into alternative activities.
This January, the First Step PE Department is launching a new Enrichment Programme – specifically designed to provide primary school children with access to a wide range of exciting alternative sports and activities. From archery and fencing, to squash, lacrosse, Paralympic sport and active, academic fusion activities, it offers schools the chance to broaden their offering for the benefit of their pupils.
This isn’t a gimmick – it’s backed up by extensive research and first-hand experience on the real, measurable physical and emotional benefits for pupils who try alternative sports.
Engagement through discovery
Some pupils simply aren’t attracted to traditional sporting activities! Introducing new, alternative sports is a great way to boost engagement, providing children with the opportunity to discover something that they do like.
One advantage with alternative sports is that children can approach them with an open mind – without any preconceptions about their aptitude, ability or interest in the activity. For those who have not engaged with traditional sports, it’s a fresh chance to find physical activity they do enjoy, and will want to participate in.
A level playing field
When it comes to a new sport or activity, everyone starts as a beginner. It’s a great leveller, especially for those that haven’t yet engaged with physical activity. When it comes to new activities, children tend to progress quickly, giving everyone a real sense of achievement and fulfilment.
For those who do excel at traditional sports, it’s a chance to develop transferrable skills and band to learn new concepts and strategies they can apply to their favourite activities. It may also provide more of a challenge than sports where they excel, helping to develop mental resilience and discipline.
Introducing new physical activities also helps to promote deeper learning and high level thinking. When trying something different, children need to apply and develop their existing knowledge, skills, concepts and strategies into a new environment, with different rules and often, a different focus.
This encourages them to utilise and demonstrate high level learning – a valuable opportunity to boost brain development, and to learn a skill that transfers well into the classroom.
Introducing academic and soft skills
PE should never be just about physical health – sporting activity can be a really useful tool for the development of soft skills, like empathy, teamwork and leadership.
You can even introduce learning into the PE lessons. Our new enrichment programme includes several activities that are designed to fuse academic learning with physical activity. These include active maths and English, as well as ABall1 – an innovative educational tool that brings core literacy, numeracy and social skills together in a range of fun, active games.
Access for All
In many areas, pupils simply won’t ever have access to non-mainstream sports, in school or outside of it – there are too many barriers in place, including cost, the special equipment required and a lack of access to effective coaching.
With our new Enrichment Programme, schools can provide access to more than a dozen exciting, alternative sports, without having to invest in any specialist equipment or staff training. We provide the complete package, providing access to a broad range of activities that children simply would have access to otherwise.
The First Step Enrichment Programme – Launching January 2019
The First Step PE Enrichment Programme is available to schools from 2019, and we’re taking applications now. Schools can choose from more than a dozen different alternative sports, run in half day mornings and full days – in 6 week blocks.
Sports and activities include archery, fencing, ultimate Frisbee and Paralympic sports, as well as active maths and English – it’s an exciting, unique offering for schools that makes really good use of the PE & School Sports Premium.
Next month, we’ll be looking at some of these alternative sports in a little more detail, ahead of the big launch in January 2019.