Physical Education

Rationale for Teaching PE at Whirley

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 reception, children will learn how to dress and undress from their uniforms into their PE kits, taking care of their possessions and becoming more independent and responsible for their clothes. The children will learn spatial awareness in the hall and become adept at finding a safe space. All children will learn to follow verbal instructions and freeze upon request or sound. When using the small apparatus, the children will learn skills of rolling, passing, throwing, catching and balancing. They will also learn how to rotate around the hall, staying in their given group and moving to different activity stations. Furthermore, they will also be able stand in a line guided by a spot on the floor and pass an object from the beginning to the end of their line in canon, developing team and focus skills. In Gymnastics, mats will be used for children to explore making shapes with their bodies, rolling and balancing. For dance the children will learn to follow and explore moves from familiar upbeat music, they will also create their own simple dance moves based on and around familiar everyday actions.

Building upon from their learning in Reception, in year 1, children will continue to throw and catch using a range of equipment, focusing on their accuracy. Children will also show increased control and accuracy when rolling, throwing underarm and kicking. Children will work on their running technique, trying to run for longer distances whilst also understanding the awareness of space. Children will use all these skills to feed into playing games cooperatively and competitively.                                                                    

Within our gymnastics unit, children build upon their experiments from reception of different ways of moving and try out a variety of ways to travel, roll, jump climb and balance. The focus for gymnastics in year 1 is on jumping. When children become more confident with this, they begin to link and repeat basic actions to create and perform a movement phrase on the floor or apparatus. Further to this, children then use their peers advice in order to improve their routine.

Within our dance unit, children will listen to a range of different stimuli and improvise their own body movements to fit. They will begin to understand how different movements can represent different stimuli. Building on from their experiments in reception of different ways of moving children will begin to create, practise and repeat their own movement phrases with a structured beginning, middle and end. Children will then begin to develop group work skills starting off with partner work and moving on to small group work. 

After developing their confidence using a range of equipment in Y1, the focus for games in year 2 is on developing their accuracy and consistency. This applies to core games skills such throwing, catching, passing, rolling and travelling with a ball under increasing pressure. Through simple invasion games they develop their understanding of attacking, defending and finding space.

For gymnastics, the focus in Year 2 is on rolling. As well as learning to perform different rolls the children are taught to link different rolls to create a polished sequence, including using movements they have been taught previously in Year 1.

In dance, the children use a range of stimuli, including music poetry and word phrases to explore and create their own movement phrases that express moods or feelings, learning how to change dynamics within their movements.

During all three genres of KS1 P.E. the children are helped to become more aware of how their body changes and also gain experience of evaluating and improving their performances.


Throughout a Whirley child’s P.E education in KS2, there is a thoughtful balance between children accessing a range of sports yet also being able to revisit, use and progress their skills each year; invasion games are taught to each year group, a striking/fielding sport and net/wall sport are taught alternate years, gymnastics is taught to each year group as is dance (with the exception of year 5 who use that time to go swimming. Athletics is taught in Year 3 & 5 and orienteering is introduced in year 6.

In Year 3, children establish and improve control whilst throwing, receiving, dribbling, passing and striking. They predominantly develop these skills through football.  Children will begin to practise passing and receiving under limited pressure to keep possession and score goals.

Year 3 children will partake in a striking and fielding sport and demonstrate increasing control and accuracy in the skills of sending, receiving and striking the ball. They will show the ability to attack and defend in a games situation and understand what makes a good striker and fielder. Additionally, children will learn to understand the importance of rules in a game, good sport behaviour and working as a team.

In dance, children learn about dancing from a different culture and embody that style of dancing to create a performance partly in pair and partly as a whole class. Children will develop self-control of body movement while turning, jumping, gesture, stillness and travelling.

In gymnastics in year 3 children will focus on showing stretched and curled balances on and between different levels with neat links and clear pathways using a range of apparatus. Children will also focus on how to effectively link movements based on their starting and finishing positions.

In year 4, children will demonstrate increasing control and accuracy in the skills of sending, receiving, striking and travelling with the ball in hockey. They will develop the ability to attack and defend as well as understand when it is beneficial to keep or pass the ball. This prepares them for more competitive play in year 5 and 6. Children will also demonstrate increasing control in the skills of sending, receiving the ball in tennis. This unit will give children the opportunity to develop their accuracy when receiving balls.

In gymnastics, year 4 will build upon their learning from year 3 where the focus was balancing. Children will incorporate what they learnt into their learning this year where the focus is stretching, curling and arching. Pupils will work up to selecting and applying movements to create a sequence linking balances with travelling whilst showing a variety of stretched, curled and arched shapes using varied and larger apparatus.

In dance, year 4 explore and develop new ideas of turning, jumping, gesture, stillness and travel to create original movement sequences using ‘Alice Explorer’ as stimuli. They will focus on using dynamics through a range of movements. Children are encouraged to become confident when it comes to developing, experimenting and performing sequences.

In year 5, children improve accurately sending and receiving the ball while dodging and travelling and develop tactics while attacking and defending. Children also practise becoming vocally confident within a team therefore preparing them for more competitive intraschool and interschool competitions.

Building on from year 3 where children learnt a set of skills for a striking and fielding sport, children in year 5 will develop these skills as well as develop knowledge of the rules associated with small-sided recognised games. Additionally, children will be encouraged to evaluate the performance of their own and other skills.

Building on from year 3, children develop techniques and choose appropriate actions within athletics to determine what works best for themselves and each sport. Children will focus on improving distances and times.

In gymnastics, year 5 children apply and integrate skills learnt from previous years (curling, stretching, arching, balancing, jumping) within a sequence where the focus is on turning and spinning.

In Year 5, in the Autumn and Spring Terms, children will receive 1 hour of physical activity per week in school. In addition to this, they receive 1-hour swimming lesson at Macclesfield leisure centre.

In year 6, children will recap and practise the skills they have learnt in a range of invasion games. 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. In the Autumn Term they will practise these skills through Tag Rugby and Netball. Linking to our Geography topics, they will also incorporate their map reading and problem-solving skills through Orienteering.

During the Spring Term, the year 6 PE curriculum will develop children’s movement, skill, speed and accuracy in tennis. They will learn how to prepare themselves for game play as well as analysing their own skills post-match. They will use this reflection time to improve their performance 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 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

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.

At Whirley, 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 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.

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Contact the School

Whirley Primary School

Whirley Road
SK10 3JL

Main Contact: Amanda Edwards - Head Teacher

Tel: 01625 783815

SEN Contact: Rebecca Gregory - SENDco