Yoga and kickboxing transform PE lessons

FROZEN fingers and standing in a line waiting to be picked for a team…everybody has their own memories of traditional school PE.But in west Suffolk, the staple mix of rugby, football, hockey and netball is being consigned to the sin bin of yesteryear.

FROZEN fingers and standing in a line waiting to be picked for a team…everybody has their own memories of traditional school PE.

But in west Suffolk, the staple mix of rugby, football, hockey and netball is being consigned to the sin bin of yesteryear.

For King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds has become the first state school in the country to employ its own martial arts instructor.

Karate and freestyle kickboxing classes are just two of the 26 sports now on offer at the school, which is hoping to turn the traditional image of PE on its head.


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The Grove Road school has also appointed its own personal trainer, who will help train the school's top-performing athletes as well as inspiring less confident students to make rapid progress.

Assistant headteacher and director of the school's sports college Rob Walden said: “We are making PE more attractive for all students.

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“We have the core sports like football, cricket and athletics but we are also offering others such as yoga, dance and karate.”

Students are also being taught in a different way and Mr Walden explained how the school was taking a thematic approach to activity, such as learning about body language, leadership skills and confidence, rather than merely focusing on the skills of a game.

Mr Walden said the take-up of martial arts had been particularly high among the school's girls.

He said close links were being formed between the school and clubs in the community, which offer classes outside of the school day.

The idea, he said, was to encourage a general interest in physical activity which students would keep with them when they stepped beyond the school gates and into their adult lives.

So far, the widening up of the curriculum has helped pupils who might not be attracted to traditional team games to get involved with new and less well-known activities.

Offering up so many physical education options has proved a logistical headache for the school's lessons planners, because pupils are attending their own classes rather than going to single-sport PE sessions offered up to whole classes.

Mr Walden said extra staff had been employed to make this possible and PE teachers at the school had responded well to the major culture change in the way sports lessons are now delivered.

laurence.cawley@eadt.co.uk

Sports you might expect on the curriculum:

Rugby

Football

Hockey

Netball

Cricket

Athletics

Swimming

Some sports offered by King Edward VI that you might not expect on the curriculum:

Dance

Dodgeball

Frisbee

Assault courses with the Royal Marines

Yoga

Karate

Dance

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