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PE at school

(122 Posts)
Beswitched Sun 30-Jan-22 09:41:23

Like a lot of people I avoided PE at school as much as possible. The tiny skirts, communal changing room and generally bad way it was taught were a complete turn off.

I don't know how much it's changed, but surely pupils should be streamed, as they are in other subjects, rather than the totally non sporty being expected to keep up with the super athletic. That way people like me might have left school with the idea that sport and exercise can be fun and enjoyable and not just something I'm embarrassingly useless at.

Greenfinch Sun 30-Jan-22 09:49:49

My granddaughter is streamed for PE at her secondary school but sadly it doesn’t make her any more interested in the subject

Beswitched Sun 30-Jan-22 09:52:34

I hope though that it removes a lot of the ritual humiliation that has turned generations of non sporty young people from never going near a ball, bat or raquet again after they leave school.

VioletSky Sun 30-Jan-22 09:58:53

This is why a lot of schools place focus on doing your best when it comes to sports rather than winning at all costs..

What matters is the exercise

Aveline Sun 30-Jan-22 10:03:15

Before she had her children DD was an 'Active Schools Co- ordinator'. It was her job to find physical activity that appealed to youngsters as opposed to just boring stuff that had to be done. She had a budget to commission coaches in a variety of activities and her special interest was in keeping girls exercising after the age their interest usually wanes. One of the most popular activities was 'Street Dance'. Sounded like it was a cool rebranding of the 'music and movement' we used to do. She actually put that activity on during breaks so it appeared more like a hobby that pupils chose rather than an imposition. Sometimes it ain't what you do but the way that you do it!

Greenfinch Sun 30-Jan-22 10:04:25

At least they don’t seem to have the indignity of communal showers now which led me to hate the lessons although I was quite interested in some aspects of the subject.

Peasblossom Sun 30-Jan-22 10:04:26

I think a large part of the problem is that it focuses on competitive team sports usually with balls of some kind.

So those less co-ordinated are set up for failure and have the added humiliation of letting the team down.

I was fortunate as a teenager to be at a school that offered hiking as an option in PE. An activity I’ve enjoyed all my life.

Perhaps rather than streaming, schools need to think more creatively about what they want to achieve in physical fitness.

Beswitched Sun 30-Jan-22 10:14:31

Yes I think dance classes, fairly simple yoga and pilates and other non competitive activities would suit a lot of teenagers better than hockey and netball.
I hope that awful practise of asking 2 pupils to pick their team one by one has been outlawed.

Peasblossom Sun 30-Jan-22 10:18:54

And Sports Day, that ultimate compulsory public humiliation, should be only for those who chose to compete.

Kim19 Sun 30-Jan-22 10:19:06

I enjoyed PE at school. Didn't particularly excel at anything but got stuck in at everything. Found communal changing rooms totally acceptable (didn't know anything else) but was so pressed for time in using them that I was in and out speedily just like my classmates. Happy memories inded!

Callistemon21 Sun 30-Jan-22 10:21:25

I'm not sure as I can see difficulties streaming children.

At school, I was good at tennis and netball but hopeless at gym, eg rope climbing, walking the parallel bars etc or even running.
My DC were all very sporty but all hated cross-country.

At the DGC's primary school they did circuits with bean bag throwing, hop, skip, jump etc so even the less keen and less able enjoyed it.

I think they should all learn to swim

Beswitched Sun 30-Jan-22 10:29:49

I just stopped going to PE after my first 2 years at secondary. I either played truant, forged notes, or 'forgot' my kit.

It's a shame because as a child and young teenager I enjoyed basic gymnastics, and also playing rounders, cricket and tennis with cousins and friends. We also used to set up jumps in our garden and spend happy afternoons trying to clear them.
But the competitive nature of school sports, the whistle blowing and shouting, the sense of embarrassment if you couldn't climb the bars or saw someone else being shouted at for not being able to jump over the horse just killed it all stone dead for me.

Josieann Sun 30-Jan-22 10:31:32

I agree that sport in schools shouldn't just be a case of shooting the most balls in the net or crossing the finishing line first. That does become very competitive and some pupils don't stand a chance. There is usually something that an unsporty child can do well. Schools need to broaden the sports curriculum to include all disciplines, but money and resources is a problem.
At the schools I teach in, sport extends to cheer leading and jazz dance, swimming, canoeing, cycling proficiency etc., which as mentioned above by Aveline, become more like hobbies.
My reservation with streaming pupils in Sports' lessons would be that you would then have to stream them for Music or Art as well to make it fair.

Redhead56 Sun 30-Jan-22 10:32:48

I went to primary school with a swimming pool attached. I was thrown in at the deep end by the teacher and expected to swim. It terrified me and other children the teachers had their favourites who could swim. Needless to say I did not learn to swim there but I as an adult I did but never was confident in water.
I liked rounders running long jump and hated netball and Lacrosse.

Witzend Sun 30-Jan-22 10:33:44

Must say I wasn’t keen in the teen years. I dare say it wasn’t an accurate perception, but all the very sporty girls seemed to be revoltingly hearty, red faced types, with floppy heaving bosoms and smelling badly of BO. And I hated the communal showers with a teacher watching our every move - no wonder we had them down as closet lesbians, with sadistic tendencies.

And I’d gladly have done without hockey on freezing cold days when we had to wear just silly little skirts and our legs would go purply-blue with cold.
Didn’t object so much to summer PE, rounders and swimming were OK. Tennis not so much because I was never much cop at it.

FlexibleFriend Sun 30-Jan-22 10:35:43

PE was the highlight of the week for me and my love of sport and exercise has never waned.

Beswitched Sun 30-Jan-22 10:36:30

Perhaps not streaming, but designing a curriculum that takes into account the non sporty children and aims to make sports enjoyable not simply competitive should be looked at more.

Callistemon21 Sun 30-Jan-22 10:37:58

. I dare say it wasn’t an accurate perception, but all the very sporty girls seemed to be revoltingly hearty, red faced types, with floppy heaving bosoms and smelling badly of BO

My DD were very sporty, very slim, not red-faced and I really hope they didn't smell shock

Josieann Sun 30-Jan-22 10:41:54

I agree, Callistemon, it is usually the slim, bosomless girls who are best at PE. Red faces and smells indicate having to make too much exertion!!

Beswitched Sun 30-Jan-22 10:45:25

I think girls wear tracksuits for PE now which is an improvement.

Coastpath Sun 30-Jan-22 10:45:32

I was the puffing fat kid with glasses, a braces on my teeth and butter fingers. It's safe to say I wasn't the first one picked for the team.

School sports were torture for me. It was the competitiveness, the bullying teachers, the fact that everyone else seemed to know the rules and I didn't that made it hell.

When I left school I found that walking and dancing suited me well and I lost weight and have been keen on fitness all my life.

I agree with everything Josieann said.

Shropshirelass Sun 30-Jan-22 10:46:22

I avoided PE at all costs due to bullying! I was very thin, still am and hate team sports to this day and I am in my mid 70’s!

Beswitched Sun 30-Jan-22 10:49:43

I was an extremely slim teenager but useless at sport. There were a few heavy girls who were surprisingly athletic and quick on the sports field. I don't think there's a particular type really.

Witzend Sun 30-Jan-22 11:11:28


. I dare say it wasn’t an accurate perception, but all the very sporty girls seemed to be revoltingly hearty, red faced types, with floppy heaving bosoms and smelling badly of BO

My DD were very sporty, very slim, not red-faced and I really hope they didn't smell shock

So were mine, Callistemon.
In my day I dare say I was viewing everything PE related through very jaundiced glasses.
(Some of them certainly did have floppy heaving bosoms and stink of BO, though.)

fiorentina51 Sun 30-Jan-22 11:17:44

Reminds me of Alan Ahlberg's poem,

When we pick teams in the playground,
Whatever the game might be,
There’s always somebody left till last
And usually it’s me.
I stand there looking hopeful
And tapping myself on the chest,
But the captains pick the others first,
Starting, of course, with the best.

Maybe if teams were sometimes picked
Starting with the worst,
Once in his life a boy/ girl like me
Could end up being first!