What is a quality Health and Physical Education program in your context?

In this blog, I share the reflection sheet I used in 1996 to guide the development of a 5 year plan to revise and renew the HPE curriculum when I started a role as a HPE Head of Department. I have used these questions with many schools since to assist their teaching teams reflect on how they are being (or can be) deliberate in achieving their vision for HPE in their school.

1. Outcomes

  • What are our intended outcomes (our vision for the students at the end of compulsory PE)?

  • What outcomes are expected by the school community (do we really know)? 

  • How do we ensure that our assessment tools are effective in measuring what students 'can do' 

  • How do we track student learning to gain valid and reliable data about student learning?

2. Strategies

  •  What is our vision for student engagement in movement culture outside the school gate now, and in their future?

  • How are we ensuring that our HPE programs are 'setting students' up to achieve this vision?

  • How are we ensuring that are programs are subject to continuous improvement, including how we take account of the latest research?

  • How do we gain feedback on the effectiveness of our teaching and where our own learning about our work needs to be focused?

  • What are we commenting on to parents - is it focused on the things we have said matter to encouraging students engagement in movement culture now and in their future?

  • What is our group and individual professional learning plans?

3. Environment

  • Do all HPE areas (Health, Physical Education, Dance, Outdoor Education) link together and support each other?

  • What are we doing to influence school leadership decision making about the facilities, resources and time allocation for HPE?

  • How do we ensure that the department is represented on school development and planning committees?

  • Does the school have policies that support the work we are doing (such as a healthy canteen policy, drug policy, bullying policy, 'fair play' policy)? If not, how can we get these policies developed?

By 2006, I had added an additional set of questions, which I share below and included in the paper Promoting Activity and Health in Schools: A 5 Point Plan

  • What opportunities for physical activity accumulation currently exist in our school day, and what additional opportunities can we identify?

  • Is physical education integrated into other subjects?

  • Do we account for different learning needs and appropriately apply differentiation strategies in our curriculum planning?

  • What school-community links are available? How are we/can we leverage them?

  • What opportunities exist for the sharing of ideas within our school, and beyond it?

In conclusion, schools and PE teachers in particular have potentially more to offer than any other institution in helping children and youth lead active and healthy lives. Children need be 'physically literate', and by extension movement literate, games literate and sport literate. It is physical education that has curriculum responsibility for this development area. Hopefully, taking the time to reflect on the questions in this blog will enable you to gain more or further insights that assist the work that you do in connecting children and young people to the value of the continuous pursuit of engagement in physical activity behaviour.


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