Purpose of study
A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically-demanding activities. It should provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect.
The national curriculum for physical education aims 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.
By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.
Physical education – key stages 1 and 2
Key stage 1
Pupils should develop fundamental movement skills, become increasingly competent and
confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their agility, balance and
coordination, individually and with others. They should be able to engage in competitive
(both against self and against others) and co-operative physical activities, in a range of
increasingly challenging situations.
Pupils should be taught to:
master basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as
developing balance, agility and co-ordination, and begin to apply these in a range of
participate in team games, developing simple tactics for attacking and defending
perform dances using simple movement patterns.
Key stage 2
Pupils should continue to apply and develop a broader range of skills, learning how to use
them in different ways and to link them to make actions and sequences of movement.
They should enjoy communicating, collaborating and competing with each other. They
should develop an understanding of how to improve in different physical activities and
sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success.
Pupils should be taught to:
use running, jumping, throwing and catching in isolation and in combinationplay competitive games, modified where appropriate [for example, badminton,
basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball, rounders and tennis], and apply basic principles suitable for attacking and defending
develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance [for example, through athletics and gymnastics perform dances using a range of movement patterns
take part in outdoor and adventurous activity challenges both individually and within a team
compare their performances with previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best.
Swimming and water safety
All schools must provide swimming instruction either in key stage 1 or key stage 2.
In particular, pupils should be taught to:
swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres
use a range of strokes effectively [for example, front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke]
perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations.