How resourcing a PE department can make a difference
A well-resourced PE department can help improve a child's health, confidence, and attainment. Saving up to £16,500 a year via a technology-enabled approach to recruitment could help fund that.
It is a well-known fact that schools, over the past ten years of austerity, are having to do more with less. Teachers are having to find innovative ways to teach an ever demanding curriculum with dwindling resources. As a supply teacher in London, I see first-hand how the majority of schools are struggling to find the money to provide their teachers with the basic resources they need for quality teaching and learning. The gaps in funding often seem to hit schools hardest in the areas of the curriculum that most need specialised resources such as PE, music, and art. And sadly, presenting children with these depleted resources can inadvertently foster an understanding that these pursuits are not as important as literacy and numeracy.
"If we want children to achieve in the classroom, we want to be aiming to get them moving by inspiring a love of physical activity in well-resourced, high-quality PE lessons."
PE is particularly tricky as resources are often shared across the whole school, used in many locations and have a habit of disappearing into cupboards in far-flung realms that some teachers don’t even know exist, or simply going over the fence never to be seen again! For example, teaching a basketball session to a class of 30 year-one pupils—many of whom speak English as an additional language and at least three have additional learning needs—when you only have a few split cones and three deflated basketballs is no mean feat.
Teachers know from experience that a well-planned and appropriately resourced lesson is going to be a more enjoyable experience for both teacher and pupils. Research conducted by SPARK shows how important appropriate resources are during PE lessons:
“Equipment was found to be a critical component of a quality physical education program…because equipment can be used to differentiate instruction, and build an individual’s self-confidence and self-efficacy.”
Unfortunately, many teachers also know how it feels to go and dig out the class set of equipment only to find it incomplete and then spend time searching the school trying to find something.
Regular exercise could also improve the brain’s ability to learn. The National Academy of Sports Medicine tells us that “exercise increases the production of neurotransmitters, the chemical signals between nerves in the brain. Exercise also improves the pliability of the brain and its ability to make new connections from learning new material. The combination of increased chemical activity and ability to make new connections improves your brain’s ability to learn.”
Surely our main mission in supporting the next generation is enabling their ability to learn and develop.
So how can schools fund this?
Schools that use Zen Educate for their supply cover and recruitment save on average £16,500 per year — with some even saving over £30,000 last academic year. For £16,500 you could buy about 2285 footballs, 400 pairs of hockey goals, 888 junior tennis rackets, 320 parachutes or 19,200 bean bags! Imagine the impact a fully-resourced PE cupboard could have, not only on your enjoyment of teaching PE, but the impact it will have on children across your school in terms of increased physical health, mental endurance, and their ability to learn in the classroom.