Childwall AbbeySchool

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Physical Education & Sport rationale

A calm, safe and welcoming place in which to work and learn.

A place where everyone supports each other to achieve.

A place we enjoy coming to each day.

Physical education (PE) is a unique subject in the school curriculum. At the very heart of PE is Movement. PE plays a key role in not only developing physical movement of pupils but also in developing confidence, resilience and knowledge. PE helps to develop fundamental movement an early age. Pupils who are not physically active struggle to engage comfortably with their environment and with other subjects such as English and Maths. PE is a big part of every pupil’s National Curriculum entitlement.


PE is relevant for all pupils at Childwall Abbey School (C.A.S.), providing opportunities for sensory breaks and supporting engagement with individual programmes e.g. Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy interventions. At C.A.S. we support pupils with mental and physical disabilities and many other identified needs such as ASD, ADHD, and SEMH. PE is vital in helping these pupils to not only stay active but to also improve their overall well-being and behaviour for learning.


Our pupils may come to C.A.S. with no assessments of previous attainment in P.E., they often have poor attendance and engagement records and a big factor is that they come having had non-specialist PE teaching throughout their time at primary provision. It is imperative that we provide our pupils with regular access to high quality PE and enrichment of their physical experience.


Pupils arriving in year 7 receive the required minimum 2 hours a week of PE teaching. (This roughly adds up to 390 hours/year or 1950 hours in total during their time at C.A.S.). We make the most effective use of this time to engage all our pupils in a variety of ways. In order to enable this to take place, we consider a range of different factors and ensure the right foundations are in place to support all pupils when they arrive at CAS.


C.A.S. PE curriculum design is inclusive, ambitious, logical, sequenced, and progressive, with added opportunity for enrichment linked to wider areas, both in school and beyond school life, for all our pupils. Our PE curriculum design connects to the whole school curriculum’s aims and objectives, and where possible, connects to other curriculum subjects across the school.


The curriculum design for PE is a developmental, spiral approach and can be adapted so that it can be coherently sequenced to meet pupils’ group and individual needs, starting points and aspirations for the future. The spiral approach allows for a lot of revisiting of activities, which is extremely important for our complex cohort of pupils (including those with ASD) as it reinforces and embeds previous experiences and learning during each revisit. This enables pupils to move on in their P.E. learning journey taking small progressive steps along the way. Using the analogy of building a house, unless the foundations at the start are in place pupils are not able to move on securely in their learning. Gaps in prior learning make for gaps in future learning.


We provide high quality content and teaching based on effective assessment. This helps develop competence, confidence, and creativity. Pupils expand on and use knowledge gained earlier on.


The C.A.S. PE curriculum gives all pupils the opportunity to enjoy and succeed in many kinds of physical activity. They develop a wide range of skills and the ability to use tactics, strategies and compositional ideas to perform successfully.

When performing and working as part of a team, pupils think about what they are doing, analyse the situation and make decisions. They reflect on their own and others’ performances and find ways to improve them. They develop the confidence to take part in different activities and learn about the value of healthy, active lifestyles. These skills prepare pupils for transition from school to the wider world. PE helps pupils develop personally and socially. They work as individuals, in groups and in teams, developing concepts of fairness and of personal and social responsibility. They take on different roles and responsibilities, including leadership, coaching and officiating. Through the range of experiences that PE offers, they learn how to be effective in teams and resilient in competitive, creative and challenging situations.


PE in the timetable has never been more relevant for the development of our cohort at CAS. Applying appropriate flexibility to meet pupils’ individual needs while working within the National Curriculum programmes of study allows us to prepare pupils for next steps into further education, employment, independent living, participating in and contributing to society, as well as enjoying a healthy adult life.


Overview of the Physical Education Departments Aims & Objectives

  • Work within the PE department is designed to support, contribute to, and to complement the aims of the school by providing equality of access for all pupils to a high quality, ambitious, logical, sequenced, and progressive Curriculum. It is designed solely for the pupils’ needs.
  • The PE department aims to provide an enjoyable and satisfying programme with opportunities for every pupil to develop physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively.
  • The PE Curriculum offers a comprehensive range of learning experiences to meet the needs of individual pupils and encourage active involvement by all as planners, performers and evaluators.
  • Structured and developmental schemes of work provide for progression, challenge and a sense of achievement.
  • The development of confidence, tolerance and the appreciation of one’s own, and others, strengths and weaknesses are considered an important part of the learning process.
  • It is intended that the programmes offered, together with an awareness of leisure opportunities within the community, will develop those skills and attitudes conducive in an active and healthy lifestyle.
  • We will endeavour to demonstrate the distinctive role of physical education in children’s and young people’s learning, development and achievement
  • The PE department will establish and sustain physical education at the heart of school life and whole school development, through support for high quality learning and teaching.
  • The PE department will help raise awareness of Physical Education’s contribution to public health and wellbeing and increased participation.
  • The PE department will play a leading role in the development of staff capacity, skills and qualities required to assure high quality delivery of physical education and sport in school and in  the wider community.


Supporting pupils on the autistic spectrum

We use a range of multi-sensory teaching and learning styles. We use a number of common fundamental principles that make for successful teaching of pupils on the autism spectrum. These include:


  • Intensive, structured and purposeful teaching.
  • Clear, unambiguous and explicit instructions and teaching strategies.
  • Use of repetition to consolidate.
  • Re-teaching in different contexts and in different ways, not assuming that the pupil has understood because they have repeated or demonstrated something.
  • Using a communicative form that the pupil understands and can use to convey ideas to others i.e.: visual, audio or kinaesthetic learning, giving students the opportunity for learning to be achieved through experience of the world.
  • Giving opportunities for learning with a personal meaning that is interesting and motivating.
  • A high level of adult support and tuition.


Yoga as an alternative activity in the curriculum

Yoga is becoming more popular every day – for people of all ages. It is especially beneficial in supporting those with the complex needs such as ASD, ADHD and our students with SEMH.

Yoga helps increase concentration, flexibility, and strength. It can also develop coordination and reduce stress and anxiety. We cannot forget the value yoga can have to help a child become more aware of their surroundings.


Yoga helps children with complex needs to:

  • Increase flexibility and muscle strength.
  • Increase concentration.
  • Develop coordination. 
  • Help reduce stress and anxiety. 
  • Increase body awareness

Partnerships and links with local community colleges and universities

It is vitally important as a school we create external links with other agencies to help our PE students develop.

  • The PE department at Childwall Abbey School will endeavour to continue its partnership with Liverpool Hope University, Greenbank and Liverpool JMU University.
  • As with previous years, some of the University PE students will come into our school to help deliver PE sessions to our pupils during Curriculum time PE lessons, to help them improve and develop their PE skills.
  • Our students will continue to be given free access to Liverpool Hope University PE facilities, and given free delivery of PE activities from the university PE undergraduates.


  • All PE students in Year 11 follow the Welsh Board Entry Pathways qualification, which is recognised, by colleges and employers, providing students with a greater range of options and opportunities.
  • The PE department introduced this new exam during the academic year 2013-2014. This exam will be ongoing throughout all academic years
  •  The results year on year are very pleasing. It’s a compulsory qualification and year on year we have 100% pass rate at both the level 2 & 3 qualification.
  • Selected students in year 11, 12, 13, & 14 will also follow the Junior Sports Leader award this is also a recognised qualification. This award gives the students the opportunity to work with their fellow peers in planning preparing and teaching P.E. lessons to younger students and also their own peer group, which helps develop their overall self-esteem, but more importantly helps develop their leadership skills.
  • A selection of CAS students taking part in our JSLA award from 2021-2022 & this years cohort in 2023


Swimming Programme

  • The PE department runs a successful swimming programme for pupils in Years 7, 8, & 9 on a yearly basis. We have our swimming instruction at Halewood and Garston pools, in Liverpool.
  • During each Academic year, identified pupils are entered into the Liverpool/Knowsley schools swimming Catch-up Programme, which usually takes place during the summer term.  This is an intense two-week programme for pupils who have not developed their swimming skills as quickly as their peers. The programme involves pupils participating in a ten-day swimming programme to enable them to improve their swimming skills.
  • At the end of the programme pupils aspire to swim at least 10 metres unaided and 25 metres unaided, which will be a remarkable achievement for pupils many of whom could not swim at all, before undertaking the programme.
  • We predict by the end of year 9, when C.A.S. swimming lessons end, the majority of pupils will be able to swim 25 meters unaided; this is a remarkable achievement for our pupils, some of whom have never been in a swimming pool before coming to the school.
  • We also run a swimming programme for our older year 11 JSLA students who work towards their Rookie Lifeguard Award. Not only does it raise overall self-esteem it also gives them valuable lifesaving skills,
  • There is also a competition element to our swimming programme. Each year pupils are involved in local swimming galas. Here they compete against other special schools. Some pupils in the past have gone on to represent the North West in national swimming galas.


Sporting Competition Programme

  • Our pupils are involved in numerous sporting fixtures throughout each academic   year, against a variety of Special schools in the local borough and against schools outside our borough.
  • Sporting fixtures we offer are football, basketball, cricket, athletics, and swimming. We had a successful year during this academic year and will hopefully continue the success throughout each academic year.
  • The PE department believes the fixtures the pupils are engaging in, with a competition element help improve team-building skills, raise self-esteem, and more importantly, these competitions have seen a big improvement in behaviour of some of the more challenging pupils.                  
  • Some of our football, basketball and dodgeball students at a competition staged on site in our school gym.



Extra-curricular activities programme

  • At Childwall Abbey School, we run a busy extra-curricular programme during lunch times. We have on offer throughout the year, clubs such football, basketball, table tennis and trampolining.
  • We have a state of the art fitness suite, which we use during Curriculum time PE, at lunchtime each day and to support regular interventions for identified pupils.

Trampolining Programme

  • The PE department invested in a new trampoline in the academic year 2015-2016. This trampoline programme is now fully embedded into the PE Curriculum timetable.  The Headteacher was very proactive in introducing this initiative, we now have 3 fully trained level 1 teachers in the department to help deliver trampoline sessions during Curriculum time PE and also during lunchtimes
  • Since its introduction, trampolining has had a remarkable effect on every pupil taking part, especially those with a diagnosis of ASD. Pupils’ confidence and participation levels in PE have increased overall.
  • In addition, we have seen improved behaviour for learning and an increase in overall progression in PE. The PE department’s aim is to continue this trend throughout all academic years.     
  • Evidence suggests trampolining has many important benefits. A trampoline is a piece of apparatus that virtually all people regardless of their ability can access, benefit from and enjoy.
  • Trampolining is an ideal vehicle for cross-curricular teaching activity. With the potential for teaching numeracy, colour recognition, positioning, communication, social awareness and consideration of others this is especially important for our ASD pupils.


The Daily Mile

  • The Daily Mile is a social physical activity, with children running or jogging – at their own pace – in the fresh air with friends. Children can occasionally walk to catch their breath, if necessary, but should aim to run or jog for the full 15 minutes.
  • We want every child to have the opportunity to do The Daily Mile at Childwall Abbey School, and are working to build The Daily Mile’s community with schools, local councils, and sports bodies.
  • Childwall Abbey School was the first school of its kind in the Liverpool area, to have introduced this innovative idea and it is fully embedded in the PE programme.


The Daily Mile works because:

  • It takes place in 15 minutes, with most children averaging a mile, or more, each day.
  • Children run/walk outside in the fresh air – and the weather is a benefit, not a barrier.
  • No set up, tidy up, or equipment required.
  • No staff training is needed and no extra workload for teachers.
  • Pupils take part in uniform so no kit or changing time is needed.
  • It is social, non-competitive and fun.
  • Pupils return to class ready to learn.
  • Helps to improve fitness and achieve/maintain healthy weight.
  • Encourages children to be aware of their health.
  • Is fully inclusive; every child, whatever their circumstances, age or ability, succeeds at The Daily Mile.