Physical Education

Whirley’s PE Rationale


Whirley is committed to providing experiences which promote life-long participation in physical activity and support our students in making healthy lifestyle choices.

As well as developing student’s physical fitness and competence, we believe it is important to develop skills that will transfer into many aspects of their adult lives. Through P.E and school sport we, therefore, aim to develop the resilience, collaboration and leadership skills of all our students

We aim to provide opportunities that will engage all students, whatever their background, ensuring we strike a balance between competitive and inclusive activities. Our vision is to help every student realise that sport and physical activity is for all.


Children in Reception will begin in the first half term by exploring walking. They will explore walking using different body parts and will learn how to change direction, walk at different levels and at different speeds. They will also learn how to find a space. Following this, after half term we will move onto exploring different ways of using hands to move with a ball. Pupils will explore different ways of pushing a ball and will learn the meaning of control in relation to ball skills.

In the spring term we will do gymnastics. Children will learn how to move in a high way and explore making high shapes. They will also learn about other key gymnast skills such as pointing their toes, and allowing their body to move around quietly. Following this we will continue to explore different ways of moving but with more of a dance theme. Reception children will explore different movements using different parts of the body. They will learn how to move with control, respond to the rhythm and move in relation to the music. 

In the summer term we will return to ball skills, but this time explore different ways of using our feet to move with a ball. We will revisit and extend on what we learned about controlling the ball and explore what happens when they kick a ball using different parts of their feet. In the final half term, we will transfer the ball skills we have gained into simple ball games. Children will learn the importance of taking turns when playing a game as well as learning to navigate the emotions that comes with winning and losing.

Year 1

In year 1, the main focus is to build control and confidence when moving around in PE. Areas of the year 1 curriculum particularly focus on running, hands (throwing and catching) and feet (dribbling and control). Segmenting these parts of PE into sequences of learning gives the children time to become familiar with new skills.

Children will develop a good running technique, explore running at different speeds and for long durations of time all while making sure they are in a good space. Following on reception where children explored moving balls by pushing them, in year 1 children will practise throwing balls and understand the importance of accuracy while doing so. They will develop their tactical thinking and understand why they may need to send a ball using different force and speed. Additionally, year 1 pupils use an underarm throwing movement in a game situation where they combine their sending and stopping skills, applying their prior knowledge of where we send a ball and why to score points. Children will then switch to learning about controlling the ball with their feet. In time, they will apply their dribbling technique to keep their ball away from their partner and begin to understand how to kick a ball towards a target.

In gymnastics, year 1 will explore moving their bodies in different ways using the words wide, narrow and curled as a guide. They will explore these movements on mats and on apparatus and work towards linking some of their movements together while using the apparatus. Following this, children explore movements and balances using the 'big' and ‘small’ parts of our bodies on the floor and on apparatus. Once children have developed mini sequences, they spend some time adapting them, exploring how to make them more creative.

Within the year 1 dance units, children will learn to respond to rhythm and patterns through their movement, control and co-ordinate their bodies to perform movements and motifs, learn to use improvisation to explore various dynamics and movement qualities and finally create movement patterns. Within the second dance unit the focus lies predominantly with characterisation where children must work in pairs depicting two very different characters, showing their feelings and personalities through movement alone.

In addition to all listed above, children will learn additional skills that will lead on nicely to skills desired in PE hen children progress up the school. These include: team building, health & wellbeing and games understanding.

Year 2

Games- In the Autumn Term the children learn to travel with the ball using their hands and feet to dribble, before further developing their ability to throw, catch and kick a ball. The children learn to complete an accurate pass under increasing ‘game pressure’, developing their understanding of the consequence of the defender intercepting. The children also develop their dodging skills, further developing their awareness of space and tactics for thwarting the opposition.

In preparation for striking and fielding in Key Stage 2 the children develop their underarm and overarm throwing, developing an early recognition of when to use which throw. They are introduced to early batting skills and play informal games which although them to distinguish between the role of the batting and bowling teams.

Towards the end of the academic year, the children focus on developing their ability to be part of a team, playing games that develop their communications skills as well as developing co-ordination, balance and flexibility.

Gym- The focus in Year 2 is on rolling and linking movements together like a ‘champion gymnast’. As the children produce sequences, they are taught to use different pathways and develop smooth movement flows. To support ‘champion gymnastic movements’ the children learn to jump in different ways with a focus on how to land effectively.

Dance-The children use a range of stimuli, including music poetry and word phrases to explore and create their own imaginative movement phrases that express moods or feelings, learning how to change speeds with a focus on the rhythm of the music. Big, clear actions are encouraged using a range of body parts. Clear inks with Gymnastics are made in terms of encouraging flowing movements

Year 3

The Physical Education curriculum at Whirley inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically demanding activities. Through providing positive experiences, a lifelong interest in physical activity is encouraged, as well as promoting positive attitudes towards a healthy lifestyle.

In Year 3, children are taught 11 units throughout the school year. These are; Netball, Gymnastics, Communication and Tactics, Football, Dancing, Basketball, Tag Rugby, Cricket, Tennis, Country Dancing and Athletics We focus on giving children a range of opportunities to compete and take part in a range of sporting activities. By doing this we enable the children to build character as well as helping them embed values such as fairness and respect. In our lessons, children communicate, collaborate and compete with each other as well as developing an understanding of how to improve in different physical activities and sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success. Throughout all the units, children are also taught to understand why exercise is important for health and fitness.

By the end of the year, the children will be able to apply the basic principles they have been taught for defending and attacking across different sports and apply them by playing competitively. As well as this, they will be able to understand different techniques for different sports and represent them continuously throughout the year. For example, in Gymnastics they can represent a range of shapes using the body and apparatus. Finally, they will improve their flexibility, balance and control. This can be observed throughout many performances especially in Gymnastics and in Dance.

Year 4

Building on from gymnastics in Year 3, children will explore movements and balances creating bridges. The focus of the learning is to re-create bridge balances apparatus, looking at how we can begin to move out of them, forming the start of a sequence. Children will progress by applying their understanding excellent gymnastics by starting to develop a sequence, using pair and individual bridges. In athletics, Year 4 will further develop their learning from Year 3 by analysing their own sprinting performance to help improve their personal best.

In handball, children will develop passing and creating space, building up into mini games, where pupils explore the transition between attack and defence, working out simple tactics for creating space and keeping possession. They will also develop their understanding not just of how they shoot but where, when and why they shoot to increase their chances of scoring.

In basketball and cricket, children will build on their skills and apply learning from Year 3 by dribbling to keep possession, to beat an opponent, effective passing, explore the transition of attack and defence, bowling under arm, stopping the ball and develop understanding of batting and fielding.

In tennis and tag rugby, Year 4 will build on their learning in Year 3 by developing passing and moving techniques to create space to beat an opponent and score a try and develop their understanding of how we can win a game of tennis.

In the Summer term, Year 4 are lucky to have swimming lessons at Macclesfield leisure centre. Initially, children will be assessed by the swimming instructors and then placed into ability groups. Instructors will deliver a personised plan to develop children’s skills, raise their confidence whilst in the water and promote survival techniques.

Year 5

During the year 5 invasion games units (football, hockey and netball), the children will build on their previous knowledge to refine their dribbling, shooting and passing skills. They will learn how to defend when they are not in possession, how to react and transition fluidly from attack to defence when possession is lost from attacking to defending and use and explore passing to create successful scoring opportunities as a team. The dance unit will allow the children to show emotions through movement and expression, exploring the social divide and prejudice in society throughout the 19th century. By using different levels, flow in their movements and a clear bold start and finish, the children will create their own choreography that portrays the different emotions performers using movement and expression. Alongside the units taught in Autumn and Spring term, the children will continue their swimming lessons once a week, practising the 4 different strokes (front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly) and learning about how to stay safe at different sources of water.

Within the striking and fielding units (cricket and rounders), will develop their speed and accuracy when batting and fielding. In cricket, the children will learn to bowl accurately and consistently, how to return the ball quickly when fielding, hitting the ball on both sides into space where there are no fielders and varying the speed and angle they strike the ball. During the rounders unit, they will learn how to return the ball quickly, practise throwing the ball over arm, learn to consistently get batters out if they miss the ball and how to work as a team to maximise their fielding efficiency. In gymnastics, the children will be introduced to the new concept of counterbalance and counter tension. The children will showcase interesting gymnastics, with still, silent balances, a variety of fluid moves, considering how they travel on one piece of equipment with a change of speed in their movements. For the athletics unit, the children will develop their sprinting skills so they can maintain speed until the end and then evaluate their own performance, successfully change over a baton in relay, learn how to successfully throw a primary school shotput and successfully extend their leading leg and bend their trailing leg when hurdling.

Year 6

In year 6, children will recap and practise the skills they have learnt in a range of invasion games including: basketball, handball, tag rugby and hockey. They will practise fluency in dodging and travelling. The children will learn how, in a range of game play scenarios, they can attack and defend players. The children will be encouraged to develop confidence within a team, communicating effectively with their peers. Year 6 children are given opportunities to reflect on themselves as good ‘team players’, valuing the importance of team spirit in competitive game play. To further understand the importance of playing within a team, the children will participate in a ‘Communication and Tactics’ unit of work in the Spring term.  

Throughout the year, the year 6 PE curriculum will also develop children’s movement, skill, speed and accuracy through athletics and gymnastics. They will assess their own and their peer’s performance, assessing how they can improve next time.  

The year 6 children will have opportunities to show their creativity in dance and gymnastics. Working alone and in pairs, they will respond to a stimulus (Titanic in the summer term) in a controlled and imaginative way. They will communicate an idea, linking movements in composition in response to music. Children will learn skills such as: turning, jumping, stillness, gesture and travel, which they will encompass in their own composition, taking ownership over their final performance. In gymnastics they will learn to synchronise, travel and balance. They will learn to trust their partner and listen to constructive feedback on their performance. They will use essential reflection time to assess their own performance and decide what steps they will make to improve next time. 

Year 6 children will leave Whirley with a love of competitive and individual sport, having a bank of skills they can confidently use, which will open many opportunities to them as they begin Secondary School. We aim to give them the confidence and desire to try new sports, hobbies and lead a healthy, happy lifestyle.


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Whirley Primary School

Whirley RoadMacclesfield, Cheshire SK10 3JL

Rebecca Gregory | SEN Contact

01625 783815