Physical Education

Head of PE & Performing Arts Faculty - Mrs L Swan

Head of Boys' PE - Mr. P. Hallahan

Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact


Introduction to subject

A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically-demanding activities.

We follow The National Curriculum for Physical Education which aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities
  • are physically active for sustained periods of time
  • engage in competitive sports and activities
  • lead healthy, active lives
Why is the study of Physical Education important?

At St Martin’s we provide a huge range of opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports both their physical and mental wellbeing.

Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect. These principles complement our whole school values (THRIVE) and our school ethos of ‘Be The Best You Can Be’.

How does the study of Physical Education develop your skills, knowledge and understanding?

Key stage 3

Pupils build on and embed the physical development and skills learned in key stages 1 and 2, become more competent, confident and expert in their techniques and apply them across different sports and physical activities.  As they progress, they will begin to understand what makes a performance effective and how to apply these principles to their own and others’ work.

Key stage 4 

In years 10 and 11 students at St Martin’s are exposed to additional activities that develop personal fitness and further promote an active, healthy lifestyle.  Students are provided with option choices to increase participation and engagement. Through experiencing a wide range of activities, they will develop the confidence and interest to get involved in exercise, sports and activities outside of school and in later life.  In addition, they will be able to understand and apply the long-term health benefits of physical activity.

How are students assessed in Physical Education?

In Key Stage 3, summative assessments of Attitudes to Learning & Working at Grades are made twice per half term (one for each activity unit of work).  Pupils are assessed across a range of activities on their core skills, decision making and tactical awareness. The average of these are reported in writing to parents / carers three times per year using a ‘best fit’ model. 

In Key Stage 4, students participate in more full game competition and work with increasing independence. Assessments of effort and organisation for learning are made once per half term and reported in writing to parents and carers three times per year.

GCSE, A-level PE and BTEC Sport are all offered as additional option subjects at KS4 & 5.  These are assessed in accordance with exam board criteria and include a mixture of coursework and written examination. Half-termly internal written assessments take place under timed, examination conditions. Students are, therefore, regularly able to identify areas of strength and weakness and create action plans for improvement.

How does Physical Education support learning in other areas of the curriculum?

Research has found that brain function increases following PE and physical activity resulting in an increase in the overall thinking ability of children and improved problem-solving abilities, particularly in reading and mathematics.

Physical Education develops motor skills, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy competence within lessons.

Teamwork, leadership and communication skills are developed through participating, coaching and officiating.  These personal skills strongly support learning in all other curriculum study.

How can students extend and deepen their knowledge in Physical Education?

Many students at St Martin’s are extremely able, often participating at a high level outside of the classroom.   We have a large number of county, regional and national level representatives.  These athletes are supported and extended within the curriculum and during our extensive extra-curricular programme.  Some students, for example national gymnasts and footballers, are granted day release.

How does Physical Education link to the world of work?

Physical Education provides a suitable foundation for study in both Physical Education and Sports Studies / Science at degree level.  Physical Education can also compliment further study in Biology, Human Biology, Physics, Psychology, Nutrition, Sociology and many other subjects.  Physical Education provides an excellent base for those intending to pursue careers in teaching and coaching, sports development, the leisure industry, physiotherapy, personal training and professional sport.

How does Physical Education link the three strands of our core values?

Each of our students at St Martin’s is on a personal journey, where they have every chance to succeed and flourish.  Our ethos of Be The Best You Can Be is built upon three distinct strands which are woven into every aspect of life at St Martin’s:

Traditional Values, Learning For The Future and Outstanding Personal Achievement.

Within Physical Education lessons students can be seen to demonstrate many examples of traditional values such as kindness, cooperation and honesty.  Our examination results often place us within the top 25% of providers Nationally.

You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram @STMartinsSchPE for up to date results, fixtures and learning links.



Carefully constructed programmes of study engage, support and motivate pupils to become competent, creative and reflective movers.  We have devised a curriculum programme that is aspirational and based upon the needs of our students.

There are some students within our school community who have additional needs and find physical activity challenging.  Our staff have a clear understanding of the physical, social and intellectual development of children and are able to adapt teaching approaches to support them.  Specific care plans are always carefully considered.

The sequencing of topic delivery is determined by seasonal considerations, such as the weather and availability of facilities.

Shared Learning Intentions

Key Stage 3

The PE curriculum has been carefully planned and sequenced to follow the National Curriculum for Physical Education, offering a broad and balanced range of activities in which students are taught to:

  • develop their technique and improve their performance in competitive sports (for example in basketball and badminton).
  • use a range of tactics and strategies to overcome opponents in direct competition through team and individual games (for example in cricket, football, netball, rounders and rugby).
  • perform using advanced techniques (for example in dance and trampolining).
  • Take part in activities which present intellectual and physical challenges and be encouraged to work in a team, building on trust and developing skills to solve problems, either individually or as a group (for example in lifesaving and multi-skills).
  • analyse their performances compared to previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best (for example in athletics and swimming).
  • take part in competitive sports and activities outside school through community links or sports clubs.

Each year the focus across the range of activities delivered differs, in order to allow all students to make progress.

Year 7 Focus Fundamental Skills

Year 8 Focus Games for Understanding

Year 9 Focus Applying Tactics, Coaching & Officiating

Pathways are shared with students at the start of each year, with ‘Learning Journeys’ displayed in changing areas. Specific learning intentions are shared with pupils at the start of each lesson so that they understand where they are on their pathway.

Key Stage 4

Staff support and encourage students to work together in order to participate and perform with increasing independence.  We often have outside providers visit, to deliver a series of sessions in activities such as karate and mindfulness.  Student voice surveys have been carried out regarding kit and activity preferences, the results of which aid future planning and policy.

Retrieval Practice:

Students regularly revisit previously learned skills within practical lessons and know their next steps. Regular practice helps pupils to develop fluency, consistency and control. In theory lessons, retrieval practice is essential for long term retention as well as helping to form a deeper understanding.

Effective assessment

Much of what we do in PE is based upon formative assessment and an ongoing dialogue between the teacher and the individual student.  In addition, we actively encourage regular peer assessment which provides a structured learning process for students to critique and give feedback to each other on their work.  This continual feedback loop helps students develop lifelong skills in assessing and delivering feedback to others, and also equips them with skills to self-assess and improve their own work.  A no hands up rule ensures that every student in the class knows that they may have to provide a comment or answer and allows for students to say they don't understand.

Teachers’ Subject Knowledge

The PE department is made up of highly knowledgeable, graduate teachers with a mixture of specialisms.  Many staff have competed themselves at international level and continue to coach county teams outside of school.  The PE staff keep their subject knowledge up to date by attending National Governing Body courses, for example in First Aid & the National Rescue Award for Swimming Teachers and Coaches (NRASTC).  All staff are fully qualified trampolining coaches.

Departmental Development Plans are written annually by the Head of Faculty in order to adapt & improve our provision.  This is reviewed throughout the year.  Regular lesson observations, learning walks and work scrutiny are timetabled for quality assurance purposes.

Curriculum Impact

Teaching within the Physical Education Department at St Martin’s is highly effective. Teachers deliver consistently high quality lessons in which participation and attainment are exceptionally high. Pupils all bring and change into kit even if medically excused. In these situations, they often undertake roles such as coach or officiator in order to develop transferable skills for the future such as effective communication and leadership.  Many pupils in Key Stages 4 & 5 help coach and officiate lower school teams and we provide opportunities for our students to gain officiating qualifications such as the Basketball Referee Level 1. Behaviour and attitudes to learning are consistently positive and mutual respect is evident between staff and students and between the students themselves.

Extra-curricular participation is also extremely high. Large numbers of pupils attend before school, lunch and after school clubs as well as many teams representing the school across all year groups in a wide range of sports.  The school’s teams achieve much success at district, county, regional and national level.  St Martin’s teams have reached National Finals in athletics, badminton, basketball, cross country, gymnastics, netball, rounders and trampolining. We have been crowned National Champions in Girls’ Basketball and Mixed Rounders on numerous occasions. Many students go on to pursue careers in Physical Education and Sport. Our alumni include professional footballers and Olympic athletes. 

GCSE PE is an extremely popular option at Key Stage 4 with, on average, over 65 students choosing to study for qualifications at this level.  A Level Physical Education uptake is similarly high. BTEC Sport is offered as an alternative Key Stage 5 option, thus allowing maximum opportunities for our students to reach the next stage of their learning journeys, whether that be to University, apprenticeships or work.  Our academic results compare favourably to National Averages. Our ALPS have consistently placed us within the top 25% of providers and GCSE results in 2022 demonstrated a positive residual of 0.55. In 2022 all of our BTEC Sport candidates achieved Distinction grades (ALPS 2).

Cultural Capital is rich at St Martin’s. Day trips to Rock Climbing Centres, netball & cricket tours to Barbados, House Competitions and Sports Day are all examples of this.  We are proud that our curriculum is highly successful in preparing students for their adult life.

Please follow us on Instagram or Twitter @stmartinsschpe for up to date fixture information, results and learning links.