Birkbeck Primary School

Physical Education

 The Intent statement of our Physical Education curriculum is:

To inspire children’s Health and Wellbeing through teaching and questioning. To equip children with Physical, social, emotional and psychological skills to develop their knowledge through different sports.

At Birkbeck Primary school, we are committed to providing an excellent and inclusive PE curriculum that inspires all children to get involved in sport, both within and outside school. Alongside our curriculum offer, we also have links with local sports clubs to provide a pathway for any children who want to continue participation in a given sport outside of school. 

We believe in developing athletic fundamentals in the first instance to enable all children to be balanced, agile and co-ordinated as we know that this offers an excellent foundation to access all sports. We cultivate these attributes through the teaching activities we choose and the specific exercises we include in our enacted curriculum that build competency in these areas. We then teach children to apply these athletic fundamentals to the context of a range of sports as they move through the school, providing a well rounded experience of different sports. Not only that, through playing such a range of sports, children further develop the athletic foundations from earlier study. This means that children do not cover the curriculum in a fleeting fashion but instead continually revisit core components of athletic skill. We believe that this is important because it enables children to develop as well rounded athletes first and foremost. 

We understand the term 'skill' to mean something that can be practised to automaticity. Therefore, the core athletic skills of running, jumping, throwing and catching, and the core athletic competencies of agility, balance and co-ordination, are continually and progressively developed as pupils move through the curriculum. All units of work gradually build component knowledge which is the part of the iceberg that sits beneath the water, before applying this in what we see as composite knowledge, where the various aspects of the skill are brought together and performed, usually in the context of a game or sport. We believe that this approach is crucial in developing long term sporting success as studies show that practising and developing component knowledge, while leading to less developed composite performance in the short term, will lead to greater composite performance in the medium to long term. 

We have adopted the Complete PE scheme of work to assist teachers in the delivery of Physical Education. We have chosen this specific scheme of work because of its commitment to developing athletic fundamentals before sport specific skills. It is also very clear that specialisation in specific sports should not be taking place before the age of 13 at the earliest and that participation and development of skills in a range of sports will in fact benefit the proficiency in any sport the child chooses to specialise in in the future. For this reason, there is no one sport that all children participate in every year and this is in-keeping with our philosophy on what a first class PE education is. 

We have adapted the scheme of work to strategically develop the key threads of concept that we believe are central to the development of well rounded athletes. These concept threads are:

  • Technique
  • Balance
  • Attack vs Defence
  • Agility
  • Strength
  • Throwing & Catching

These concepts are strategically revisited throughout a child's time at Birkbeck and are developed and progressed in terms of cognitive demand and sophistication, allowing for the development of proficiency and ultimately, expertise, in each of the areas. 

We have also cross referenced the Complete PE programme against the requirements of the National Curriculum and know that it fulfils these requirements as well. 

Our curriculum coverage posters provide information about which units are taught in which year groups and the order in which they are taught. You can view the PE one below:

pe poster docx.pdf

 Below you can see the development of our key concept threads in grid form so that you can see how each one is progressed and developed as children move through the school.

pe curriculum thread development table docx.pdf


Lesson delivery

Every Physical Education lesson begins with a retrieval practice starter which has the aim of activating prior knowledge around the concept thread which the lesson to come is focused on.

Every lesson also includes clarification of any technical vocabulary to be used in the lesson. This always takes place before the main lesson content begins.

All PE lessons are delivered in line with our principles of teaching and learning which are the same for all subjects. These are the principles that we believe underpin truly great teaching and learning. This Implementation guide also provides further information about which units of work are taught in which half terms of which year group. You can read about how these principles are applied to PE lessons below:

birkbeck primary school pe implementation guide docx.pdf



We assess Physical education once per term. Teachers assess children's body of work against a set of descriptors which match the threads of concept that our PE curriculum is designed by. As such, the curriculum is the model for progression that we follow and assess against. Assessment is reported to parents and carers every term at parents evening.