The future of PE; How will it look?

This unique and unprecedented time of COVID-19 has allowed Educators to pause and reflect. Many teachers have had to rapidly upskill themselves in IT programmes and systems whilst adapting their Curriculums to maximise learning for pupils online. For PE, we have seen the introduction of Joe Wicks, the UKs new National PE Teacher, and have certainly had our creative skills stretched to consider how we can provide Online PE provision which stretches beyond Fitness (one small PE unit of many). Whilst Joe Wicks has been an outstanding role model and provides free online youtube videos perfect for non-specialist PE teachers, as Alan Dunstan quite rightly said (see article link below), the "Education" in PE is currently missing. Physical Education is a unique subject which develops pupils' resilience, courage and collaborative skills, just to name a few. Inquiry based learning for pupils online is presently obsolete and minimal assessment or differentiation is considered in many of the free online PE resources.

The majority of Heads of PE which I have spoken to of late are prioritising the goal of "Keeping children online active for as long as possible", which is, of course, a key ingredient to any PE lesson. However, some creative curriculum reforms may be necessary for when pupils return to school to re-embed the other necessities of Outstanding PE. What will be interesting, is to see how traditional Games-dominated PE Curriculum's may look in the immediate future.

Some poignant questions surrounding Curriculum reform which prove interesting for debate include;

  • Will England start to follow a health-based PE curriculum, similarly to Canada and America as a predominant focus targeting rising obesity levels in children.

  • Will each individual have their own PE equipment - what will this include?

  • Is changing for PE still necessary? After learning at home for a substantial amount of time, Secondary pupils may now feel comfortable in their own sports clothes. This could maximise physical activity time in lessons given that other hygiene practices are followed. Prep school pupils can take as long as 10 minutes to change for PE which minimises their Physical Activity time by a third.

  • Can we still have Competitive sport in the future? will Athletics, Gymnastics and Swimming become more of a focus to allow for social distancing?

  • Can PE teachers pre-record their Lessons for future supply lessons to ensure the provision for PE is consistently high?

COVID-19 has created an exciting time in Education to pause and reassess the positives and negatives of our now PE Curriculum. Many pupils do thrive off of team games, however, whilst the immediate future of PE may look slightly different, it is a great opportunity for Physical Educators to challenge themselves to think creativity about how they can best continue to embed the "Education" into PE whilst encouraging pupils to re-focus on having a healthy body, which will, inevitably, lead to a healthier mind.


The Future of PE (Alan Dunstan);