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Rationale What is the evidence base for some of the strategies and curriculum choices?

This section is kept succinct to ensure this policy remains accessible to a variety of audiences.  Please review our Teaching and Learning Policy for further information on our whole school approach and evidence informed practice. We have selected 3 subject specific areas of focus to highlight our evidence informed practice, as follows:


Dialogic Teaching

Dialogic teaching is incorporated into PE lessons within Woodlane, with an emphasis on KS4 students. The rationale behind this is that students in PE complete a KS4 qualification which involves either performance analysis as part of the entry level qualification or a large range of assessment criteria around the coaching principles in the NCFE level 1 award. In those lessons, students are given the opportunity for discussion and promotion of peer to peer interaction with structured teacher input. Woodlane students also often have literacy skills which inhibits writing extended answers. Group discussion is therefore used as a medium of assessment within the KS4 qualifications to enable students to meet relevant assessment criteria

The research carried out by the EEF ( in to dialogic teaching highlighted the following potential benefits:

  • Children in Dialogic Teaching schools made two additional months in two of the core subjects, and one additional month’s progress in another subject, compared to children in control schools, on average.
  • Children eligible for free school meals (FSM) made two additional months’ progress in compared to FSM children in control schools.
  • The intervention was highly regarded by headteachers, mentors, and teachers who thought that the Dialogic Teaching approach had positive effects on pupil confidence and engagement.
  • Although the study was carried out in core subjects and not specifically PE, the findings also revealed that a lack of any subject specific content in the training suggests that the approach may improve children’s overall thinking and learning skills rather than their knowledge in a given topic.

    To further support the use of dialogic teaching, Clare Cooks TES article which can be found here ( highlights Christine Howe’s research into dialogic teaching and how the use of group work and discussion can promote students own thinking whilst enabling the teacher to build on progress.


Learning Theories

In order to ensure the Physical Education provision is outstanding, Woodlane recognises the importance of understanding a variety of learning theories, as they explore the different ways students learn and retain information.

The approach taken in the delivery of PE at Woodlane can be classed as a Complex Learning Theory approach, which utilises a range of teaching styles. This involves incorporating elements of different approaches.

Using a range of teaching models in PE, was identified as the best approach in order to develop students’ skills, independence and autonomy. It is important to recognise the research doesn’t refer to the delivery of PE in a SEND setting. However, it does conclude that, a one-size-fits-all model is an unrealistic suggestion and may not always be applicable. Thus, as part of the delivery of PE, teaching models are applied on a basis which best serves the needs of the group and the activities being undertaken.

The approach taken at Woodlane is underpinned by research. The PE Project collated and reviewed the impact of learning theories within PE. This included 52 sources of information as part of their research. This can be found here: ( The research reviewed three key learning theories; behaviourist, cognitive constructivist and social constructivist. As well as exploring both teacher-centred and student-centred teaching models including cooperative learning, Teaching Games for Understanding and traditional. Findings from the research highlighted the following benefits for each model.


  • The research states that this approach provides benefits particularly when performing activities where safety is paramount or in the early stages of a PE curriculum.

Cognitive Constructivist

  • Research around these models advocate that skills are more effectively learnt in context rather than in isolation, and that skill transference to other situations are also improved when delivered in a game situation. Additional benefits also include: increased pupil autonomy, motivation, engagement and decision making.

Social Constructivism

  • Research yielded ‘overwhelming positive’ results and purported benefits in the development of interpersonal and social skills, improved; student engagement, behaviour, motivation, attainment (particularly for marginalised pupils), cognition, psychomotor learning, enjoyment and investment in PE lessons and more skilful and literate games players.


Use of game based warm ups in PE

PE lessons at Woodlane start with a warm up to ensure all students are suitably prepared for the lesson, where possible game based warm ups are used. The research around this using game based warm up, which can be found here ( highlights how using a game based method as oppose to a warm up that involves less ‘play’ can provide the following benefits;

  • Can significantly increase the pulse frequency of students
  • Can makes students more motivated to warm up
  • Can enable students to move more actively, which is good for the development in both aspects of skills, social and knowledge.
  • Can Increase student’s readiness to learn.

The research and accompanying study has helped informed practices in PE, by attempting to utilise a range of game based warm ups for students, which also provide opportunities to recap prior learning from previous lessons.

Intent – What is Woodlane aiming to achieve through its Physical Education curriculum?

  • To be active physically, demonstrating knowledge and understanding mainly through physical activity.
  • To engage in activities that develop cardiovascular health, flexibility, muscular strength and endurance.
  • To develop independence through problem-solving physical challenges, evaluating, modifying technique and consolidating skills through practice and repetition.
  • To promote health awareness and the value of adopting a healthy lifestyle.
  • To instil a sense of good sportsmanship, and encourage recognition of other pupils’ contribution.
  • To develop leadership skills, responsibility and self-awareness.
  • To support the development of self-esteem through the development of physical confidence and helping pupils to cope with both success and failure in competitive and co-operative activities.
  • To develop skills as a team player, including praise for others and motivation skills.
  • To recognise and follow relevant rules, laws, codes, etiquette and safety procedures for different activities or events, in practice and during competition.
  • To ensure all pupils leave Woodlane with a PE qualification which reflects the best of their ability. 

Implementation – How is the Woodlane Physical Education curriculum delivered?

Curriculum Delivery

  • Pupils have full access to the Physical Education National Curriculum which is differentiated to meet pupils’ learning needs and styles.
  • The Physical Education curriculum is designed to be challenging, appropriate to each pupil’s stage of development.
  • The Physical Education Curriculum offers opportunities for cross-curricula learning, to ensure pupils make significant personal development, including:
    • Inter and intra house tournaments;
    • Educational sports trip;
    • London Youth Games competitions;
    • Sports day;
    • Run a mile;
    • Rugby activities with RFU;
    • Disability tennis competitions;
    • Football and basketball fixtures and tournaments;
    • After school sports clubs;
    • Personal exercise programmes at a local gym;
    • Sports leadership at lunchtimes;
    • Lunch and break time sports activities; and
    • PE and O/T parent workshops.
  • The KS3 Physical Education curriculum is taught through 2.5 hours (average) contact time per week, (10% of curriculum time).
  • The KS4 Physical Education curriculum is taught through 2.08 hours (average) contact time per week, (8.33% of curriculum time).
  • The Physical Education curriculum is designed to build and expand on previous skills and subject knowledge, over a 5-year period.  It also plans for opportunities for repetition to embed knowledge, increasing the chance of information recall and to integrate new knowledge into larger ideas. 
  • We offer a range of qualifications in Physical Education, which are selected to appropriately challenge, based on each pupil’s stage of development, including:
    • NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Sport (Sports Coaching) (NCFE)
    • NCFE Level 1 Award in the Principles of Coaching (NCFE) 
  • Active participation by students in sport is incredibly important to us, we therefore also run an annual mile run and whole school sports day
  • We provide additional extra-curricular activities at lunchtime, including:
    • Opportunities for homework support;
    • Peer sports coaching at lunch times;
    • Break and lunchtime sports activities.

Teaching and Learning

  • Our pupils are taught by subject specialists.
  • Our Physical Education Subject Leader is well qualified, possessing a BSc (Hons) in Sport Development and a PGCE.
  • The Physical Education curriculum is differentiated broadly into 3 levels of challenge, ‘all’, ‘most’ and ‘some’.  Further differentiation and personalisation are implemented when required.  
  • Physical Education homework is provided on a standardised format and is differentiated to provide the appropriate level of challenge.
  • In Physical Education we have a 3 tiered approach to supporting a pupil’s learning, including:

Universal – this is the teaching your child will receive from the Physical Education subject teachers and will include adaptations to match learning needs.  All classes:

  • Are supported by a teaching assistant (TA);
  • Have a maximum of 12 pupils per class to ensure there is a high level of support available from the teacher and TA;
  • Are multi-sensory;
  • Are dyslexia friendly;
  • Integrate speech, language and communication support;
  • Are supported either directly or indirectly by speech and language therapists; and
  • Collaborate with OT and physiotherapist to make personalised exercise programmes for pupils;
  • Sensory circuits; and
  • Zones of Regulation imbedded in teaching practice.

Targeted­ – it may be appropriate to consider making additional short term special educational provision to remove or reduce any obstacles to your child’s learning.  This takes the form of a graduated four part approach of a) assessing your child’s needs, b) planning the most effective and appropriate intervention, c) providing this intervention and d) reviewing the impact on your child’s progress towards individual learning outcomes.

Interventions may include:

  • One to one support from specialist PE TA;
  • Having a strong focus on sportsmanship and positive play in lessons for targeted pupils.
  • Catch up coursework classes for small groups;
  • Small group of students using another school’s gym facilities to support their needs;
  • Specialist engineers modifying equipment to make PE more accessible for wheelchair users;
  • Making strong club links to encourage students to participate in extra-curricular sports teams.
  • PE/OT parent workshops;
  • Termly PE targets.
  • Promoting pupil voice by holding a pupil conference on break and lunchtime activities.

Specialist – it may be necessary to seek specialist advice and regular long term support from a specialist professional in order to plan for the best possible learning outcomes for your child.


  • Pupils collate Pupil Achievement Books, where they showcase their best work and progress over time in Physical Education.
  • Our bespoke Flight Path is used to track the progress of pupils in Physical Education and determine expected outcomes from different starting points.
  • Physical Education teachers use a range of formative and summative assessment procedures to assess progress and attainment, including:
    • Daily marking;
    • Self/peer assessment;
    • Fitness testing;
    • Targeted questioning;
    • PE homework;
    • Recording pupil performance on the IPAD;
    • B-squared end of unit skill tests;
    • PE coursework;
    • Informal/formal examinations; and
    • Using B-Squared assessment etc.

Impact – What difference is the Woodlane Physical Education curriculum making on pupils?

  • The vast majority of pupils usually meet or exceed their expected progress in Physical Education. 
  • The very large majority of pupils meet or exceed their expected outcomes in Physical Education (external qualifications).
  • The vast majority of pupils leave Woodlane with at least one formally recognised Physical Education qualification.
  • Many pupils join mainstream colleges/sixth forms at post-16 where they study a range of different qualifications and subjects following excellent progress from their starting points in PE and following successful completion of the NCFE Level Level 1 sport qualifications.
  • Pupils are well-prepared for the next stage of their education.
  • Analysis of Physical Education outcomes and pupil progress indicates that there is little statistical significance between key groups.  Where any small differences are identified strategies are implemented swiftly.
  • Healthy lifestyles, leadership, sportsmanship, teamwork and physical activity is embedded across the school and feeds in to all subjects. Excellent progress in Physical Education has a significant benefit for pupils in all other subjects.
  • Life-skills are embedded in the Physical Education curriculum and are personalised for each pupil. This supports pupils to make the leap to post-16 provision and meets their needs when entering the world of work.
  • Joint targeted interventions by the Physical Education and OT ensure aspects of the curriculum are personalised to each pupil based on the outcomes identified within their EHCPs.


* Please see annual SEF/SIP for further details.