Physical Education has continued to have a high profile within the school, and is considered to be a thriving and successful department by students, staff, parents and the local community. Our aim is to provide opportunities for all students to develop a range of skills in an exciting and challenging environment. We believe that it is essential that students feels confident and at ease, allowing them to push themselves on to reaching higher feats and being willing to take appropriate risks to get there. We aim to foster personal responsibility within our students, equip them with lifelong skills that they will transfer into their everyday lives, and give them the opportunity to develop into healthy, active citizens in the future. We aim to provide opportunities in an enthusiastic and enjoyable environment, while offering the opportunities for progress along the pathway to excellence for our more talented students.
At present there are 4 full time and 1 part time members of staff in the department. In addition we have two PE technicians. The department has continued to develop with a consistent approach with little staff changeover in recent years. The head of department is now in their sixth year of office, having taught within the school for the last 14 years. We have a resident Dance Specialist who has worked within the department for 8 years. She holds a responsibility for dance within the school which includes responsibility for the following; Key Stage 3 and 4, AS, A2 and GCSE Dance. Alongside this she leads an extensive dance extra curricular programme, theatre trips, professional dance workshops, dance trip and the annual dance show.
All staff make use of the wealth of facilities available in the PE department which includes; Outdoor facilities now include a floodlit synthetic hockey pitch which converts to 8 tennis courts, and 3 netball courts - also floodlit - which convert to 3 tennis courts. The field houses a 400m grass track, the centre of which accommodates other games such as rounders, golf and tag rugby. Indoor facilities include a 4-badminton court sports hall which opened in February 2005, and a recently refurbished gym. The gym has a sprung floor and a range of gymnastic equipment; we also have three large wheeled dance mirrors. We are also fortunate enough to have a 19 station fitness gym which opened in September 2005. This year we have also been extremely fortunate to gain a theoretical teaching room, this has its own interactive white board. Having a base for the theoretical examination classes helps to further improve the profile of PE as an examination subject.
We achieve outstanding exam results in both GCSE and A level Physical Education and follow the AQA syllabus in both. The A2 results are often exceptional, our recent results showed 60% of students achieving an A and 100% achieving A/B. The AS results in PE were also exceptional, 69% of students achieved an A grade, 81% achieved A/B and 100% achieved A-C. The GCSE target is for all Year 11 students to achieve 100% A-B, often this target is surpassed. Many students continue studying Sport Science at some of the top universities such as Loughborough, Birmingham, Exeter and Bath.
The PE curriculum is well supported by an extensive range of extra-curricular activities offered both at lunchtime and after school. Club activities encourage a large membership irrespective of ability, but from the clubs, students are selected to join squads who have further training sessions to prepare them for inter school competition in netball, hockey, rounders, tennis, cricket, football, basketball, athletics, cross-country and gymnastics. Girls also compete in rowing, trampoline, swimming and rowing.
In the last 8 years, a total of 30 teams have reached National Finals in 7 different sports in 6 different age groups. This year is no exception as we have already equalled last year’s record of 7 teams in National Schools Finals with the possibility of more in the forthcoming weeks so taking our tally to 37. Our greatest achievement to date is the success of the Under 16 Netball squad who won the Schools National Championships two years in succession. We expect to reach National Finals each year in Netball, Gymnastics, Swimming, Cross Country, Athletics and Dance and Regional Finals in Hockey, Badminton and Table Tennis. Inter house competitions are held annually in netball, hockey, tennis, tag-rugby, football, basketball, cross-country, athletics and gymnastics. This provides an opportunity for all students to participate. In addition to competitive sports, we have several active dance troupes for all ages and abilities. The clubs for younger girls are led by A level dance and GCSE dance students. The advanced troupe has performed in public competitions and all stage a highly successful annual dance show at school in the Spring Term.
Many of our students compete at County, Regional and National level in a number of sports. We acknowledge our elite students each year at our annual Sport and Dance Dinner Awards.
We also offer our senior netball and hockey squads the opportunity to participate in our biannual sports tour to Australia – this summer will be our fourth tour. In addition, we offer a dance trip to Broadway, New York every two years.
In curriculum PE, students in Key Stage 3 receive 2 hours of lessons per week, in two one hour lessons. The KS3 curriculum has been radically updated to fall in line with the new 2008 Curriculum. Students are now offered greater flexibility and personalised learning experiences. The KS3 curriculum includes hockey, netball, badminton, volleyball, tennis, rounders, athletics, dance, gymnastics, team building, trampolining and health related fitness.
Throughout these lessons the department has focused on developing students as independent learners. Students are encouraged to develop a range of roles within the lesson, including that of coach, leader, official, observer and performer.
In Year 10 students again receive 2 hours of lessons per week in two one hour lessons. The students choose from a range of activities offered and create their own personalised pathway throughout the year. Students have to choose at least two activities from the National Curriculum, activities offered include netball, trampolining, football, volleyball, team building, tag rugby, basketball, volleyball, badminton and golf to name a few.
All year 10 students also follow the Level 2 Sports Leaders Award, this is a nationally recognised qualification that enables successful candidates to lead small groups in simple sport and recreational activities whilst under the direct supervision of their Tutor. This provides opportunities to develop student’s leadership skills. A number of personal skills are developed including their communication skills, social skills, teamwork, creativity, independent planning. The Level 2 Award also fosters a degree of personal and social responsibility.
In year 11 the students receive 1.5 hours of Physical Education per week. All year 11 students are inducted in the fitness gym and use this facility at lunchtimes and after school. Students are also encouraged to participate in a range of extra curricular activities which the department offers. The Year 11 programme offers students a vast degree of choice and flexibility. The main emphasis is on providing students experiences which will assist them in adopting a healthy, active lifestyle and they move into adulthood. We have therefore implemented a programme which is attractive to 16 year old girls, in an effort to increase motivation and participation levels. The programme relies on off site facilities, specialist coaches and some require payment. There are however always options available on the school site that require no payment. We offer the following activities; Rowing, Ice Skating, Boxercise, Yoga, Zumba, Table Tennis, Outdoor and Adventurous Activities, Tennis, Rounders, Climbing, Canoeing, Badminton, Trampolining, Fitness Gym and Squash. This has been extremely successful and has seen considerable improvements in student’s attitude and effort levels. Many students have also tried an activity and then joined the local club. Feedback from students and parents has been extremely favourable.
In Y12, students have the opportunity to follow the very popular one-year Higher Level 3 Sports Leaders Award. Within the course they all participate in Basic First Aid training. Students are required to lead activity sessions and lead activities within the school, including organising and leading inter house events, extra-curricular clubs and assisting in KS3 lessons. Students also complete the Playground Leaders course and work with primary schools organizing a number of sporting festivals.
The school is located within an affluent area and numerous students join Beaconsfield High School from either very good primary schools or private schools in the area where most students would have access to a full PE Curriculum. Parents are extremely supportive and take a keen interest in their daughter’s education. Many students are from advantageous backgrounds where participation in sport and the need for a healthy and active lifestyle is promoted and encouraged.