Teaching PE at KS1: Getting ready!

Jane Wood-Chambers

Sunday, 9 September 2018

PE is one of the subjects that you can be at your most creative when teaching it!
The national curriculum outlines in its programmes of study that its aims are to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities
  • are physically active for sustained periods of time
  • engage in competitive sports and activities
  • lead healthy, active lives

At Key Stage One – Years 1 and 2, it is important to teach the basic skills such as running, jumping, throwing and catching, developing balance, agility and co-ordination and apply these in a range of activities.

How can this be organised and delivered? 30 wiggly 6-year olds still struggling with buttons, tying laces and knowing where their PE shorts are?

Start by planning each part of the lesson meticulously. Getting changed and ready to start the physical activity is part of the lesson and needs to be organised effectively.

older children yoga stretch


We need to think about the following:

  • Where will the class get changed?
  • How will the PE kits get to the pupils quickly and orderly?
  • How will each pupil get changed quickly and orderly?
  • How will we, as a class, get from the classroom to the PE area; hall or outside space?

Use a lesson, not necessarily PE - could be an English session - to work through the 4 questions above with your class and compile a list of answers that can become the ‘PE Code’.

Putting the time and energy into this at the beginning of the school year will pay dividends for every subsequent lesson.


Important questions to answer include:

  • How will the PE kits get to the pupils quickly and orderly?

Often before PE there is a break in the day so offering an opportunity for a little organisation to take place. If PE is first thing, then the pupils can collect their PE kits from their pegs and take them to their seats.

If it is after break or lunch, the same procedures can be put into place. Not all schools, however, have pegs and often the PE kits are kept in a box or several boxes. In this case make sure the separation of the bags is based on something; table arrangements, house teams of English groups.

Have a monitor to hand out the bags and have this done whilst you are reading a story, sharing a clip on YouTube, listening to a classical piece of music or talking through the lesson they will embark on.

  • Where will the class get changed?

My classes always got changed in the classroom at their tables. The chairs were used to hang their clothes. The PE bag was left on the seat and their shoes underneath the chair.

Pupils would then come to the carpet when they were changed, and this left me being above to see who was still changing and may need extra support or time. My teaching assistant and any additional adult in the classroom would then offer the guidance and support.

kids running

  • How will each pupil get changed quickly and orderly?

Having a time limit is essential; share this expectation with the pupils and talk to them about how they get ready for school, playing outside, their out-of-school activities and going to bed. Ask them the bits that work and the bits that do not and get their ideas about how to address the bits that don't go to plan.

Often the children themselves will help one another with folding clothes, setting shoes together and doing up zips and buttons. Playing calming music can help and if they know the ‘PE music’ lasts for 3 minutes then they will get used to hurrying up to be ready by the end of the piece.

it's important to remain sensitive and use your knowledge of the class to ensure that all children are supported based on what they need. Some children may need to have their PE kit first to give them a head start, and some may need an assigned adult or helper.

You know your class, so you can allocate accordingly! Once ready have the pupils sit on the carpet in their carpet spaces and have a key question, a text to read on the board or the outlie of the lesson they can read though.

Wiggling and fuss happens when children have nothing to do. They are excited or nervous for the lesson and this can spill over into noise and unnecessary movement!

  • How will we, as a class, get from the classroom to the PE area; hall or outside space?

Once the class were ready, I would ask them to line up in their line order, as I would if we were going to the hall for assembly and walk them calmly and quietly to the PE area. Using stickers and rewards for the walk to maintain calm and quiet is a must and acknowledging that they are doing it well essential.

Ask the PE monitors to carry any materials needed from the classroom and stop every several paces to smile back at the class and give it the thumbs up!


My next blog in this series will look at specifically teaching a PE lesson and how best to organise the equipment, the pupils and the adults supporting!



About our Community Expert


Jane Chambers-Wood
Editorial Advisory Board Lead

Over 27 years of educational experiences in a number of settings. Developed a clear vision and ethos for inclusion which puts the child at the centre and a clear understanding of how to support, engage and nurture the individual.

Ability to train all staff through effective and reflective continual professional development in behavioural management techniques that begin, establish and maintain change in all.

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