«Developing the Potential of Young People in Sport A report for sportscotland by The University of Edinburgh Developing the Potential of Young People ...»
I think it’s worked really well - the children have thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a really good helper of course … she’s been very good, the children respond really well to all the lessons that they have had. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) Its been determination to do it [the DPYPS programme] every single Thursday at the same time because things have come in that have tried to change it and we’ve had to be really determined about it otherwise it would fall by the wayside and to give it a fair chance you need to do it constantly to see the progression. So that’s something you have got to be aware of in primary schools - things keep changing all the time, you have got a timetable but its not always the one that happens. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) Resources Teachers were generally positive about the resources, although some mixed feelings
were apparent about their depth and complexity:
The resources have been useful but I’ve found it really time consuming actually to … it was OK the first ten lessons you know, you have help with that and you start to understand how to work it out but after that when you have covered all the sort of skills and then you go back then you want to go over the throwing, striking and all the rest of it, you have such a lot of resources I think it takes longer than I’ve done it to actually get used to it. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) I like the fact that there is that big pack of resources. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) Some felt that the work could effectively be cascaded down to younger classes. Even so, teachers were confident in the compatibility between DPYPS and the current 5-14 curriculum.
Every single thing [in the psychomotor curriculum] has got a purpose.
Although they are doing this thing and it’s fun, they are still using the skills, they are still striking and throwing and they all match to the task they have been given. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) It [the psychomotor curriculum] starts off rather simply for them [Primary 7 children] but then they take over and they adjust it, you know if you are asking them to do a sequence or something they bring in far more complicated work than a child that’s maybe in Primary 4. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) I haven’t come across anything the children haven’t enjoyed doing [in the psycho-behavioural curriculum] and haven’t been ready to discuss.
(Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) I would say you touch on every single part of the 5-14 [PE] curriculum, so I would say that your programme is geared to the right level. It’s possible that because it is P7 the beginning part of the programme is a bit further down the school - but I would think maybe that’s because you would like it to be further down? (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) Most teachers were happy with the integration and transfer of the psycho-behavioural
I think that’s what I was saying to the head teacher it gives them [the children] more confidence to tackle other things. We discussed this actually … that it’s not just for PE. For instance Maths, it’s a challenge.
(Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) I would mention at some part of it [the psycho-behavioural lesson] that the reason we are doing this is because it will help them in other areas – it might be public speaking so that they can feel confident enough to stand up and speak in a project or something – it’s useful in all areas. We talk about that, it’s not just simply for our own gym PE. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) We’ve got a wee boy in the class who runs, he’s a runner, and he had said that he had used imagery before a big race that he was doing in Edinburgh. He said he imagined himself running and all the people clapping. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) We had a big discussion after doing the imagery task and we were talking about using self imagery in all sorts of situations, not just sport and every child volunteered a time when they could use it, or when they had used it recently. So, for example, we were having a stars in your eyes competition and one of the girls said that to make herself less nervous what she did was she stood in her living room and imagined she was getting applause and everything and then when she actually was on the stage, she said she imagined she was in her living room. So I thought that was great. That’s what it’s all about. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) I hope it’s impacted in other curriculum areas, I hope that they [the children] have realised that it’s not about, say in a maths test, ‘What did other people get?’ but ‘What did they achieve personally, have they got better than they were?’ (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) Teachers were also very positive about the programme’s impact on their teaching
and professional performance:
I think it’s made me look far more at doing basic moves and the importance of it and I hope to do a lot more of it. And it’s all things I really did believe in strongly, but it’s made me think of them more. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) I just feel far more willing to teach PE myself. A lot of the time you leave it to the specialists that come in but I would hope that they would bring in this kind of teaching rather than sport specific all the time, because the kids are constantly going to get these sport specific experiences. It’s nice to get the different activities, so that if there’s something that a child doesn’t like doing, they’re not being forced to do it all the time. I just feel more confident in teaching PE and I didn’t lead the sessions but I was very aware of how easy it would be for me just to do that. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) Differences have occurred since doing the psycho-behavioural programme, I think more in the way that I’ve maybe viewed the children.
Some of the discussions or some of the things that have come up are quite surprising. I’ve had a few surprises of hidden depths that have come from the children. And you learn quite a lot about what they’re maybe doing outside school. Like [one girl] goes dancing and I never knew that and we had quite a chat about different types of dancing.
And, different things have come up during our discussions so it’s helped us also get to know the children a bit better too. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) The confidence [it has provided me as a teacher] I think has been a big thing. The programme has highlighted to us what the children are actually capable of doing and what they’re not, where they’re going wrong. Because the children quite often go in and it [the activity] is pitched too high and we don’t have the experience to break down a skill.
For example, when he [the seconded teacher] was showing them [the children] how to run and we had to watch how high their knees were going. As a teacher, because we’re not PE specialists, we don’t look for that and we could see they can’t run but we don’t know how to make them run faster. But it was broken down within DPYPS and you could sort of actually look at … OK, this is what they’re doing wrong and that’s what they’re doing wrong, or they’re good at this. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) Future Directions Finally, all teachers were keen to see the programme continue. Even without further funding, many felt that DPYPS had made a very positive and lasting contribution to their teaching.
I would like to see the programme continued … I think it’s a good programme. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) I would continue to use the resources even if the programme was discontinued … because it’s a reference … we were always talking about trying to find a new resource and we’ve looked at various things but they all tend to be much of a muchness and I think that if you can allow children to enjoy something you have got them halfway there already so I am being very positive and everything but I’ve not actually found anything bad about it [the DPYPS programme], I’ve really quite enjoyed doing it with them. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) I’m going to continue using the resources, both the physical and mental ones, and I want to do more of the psycho-behavioural, I’m going to push that further. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) I would love to see the [DPYPS] programme continued. Very much so. I would absolutely love it. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) Many felt that, with some adaptation, the programme should be extended to stress the health components and consequent benefits. Others stressed that the programme could serve as a universal philosophy, offering structure across the PE, and even with wider, curriculum. Some even addressed its integration with other initiatives.
I’m not sure that the content just now would work down the school but it could be adapted. A lot of it is simple enough for down the school and they would enjoy it too and there is a lack of that sort of thing in school like personal and social material that’s quite good for them and it works in with health as well. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) Hopefully, if we put money into this programme of PE delivery in the primary school, alongside PSD health which is what I’m also talking about here because we’re looking at our health programme. If we in Stirling Council put money into a sensible PE programme tied in with a very, very good health PSD programme, then we wouldn’t be sitting here having this discussion because you’d have people my age who were extremely fit and very competent. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) I think they’re life skills, so, I think it [the psycho-behavioural curriculum] should have been started before, earlier in the school … I think it might be a bit hard to do it further down the school but I think it’d be good.
(Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) I just think it could go further down the school and be whole school philosophy, if you like, to how we do PE. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) There’s no philosophy with the TOPS cards that I’ve ever seen anyway but I could probably tie the cards into the DPYPS programme. I mean, if I was wanting to target something like ball skills, there’s lots of things in your programme but there’s also other things that you could get out of TOPS, you know, like, maybe for a different game or maybe just a different sort of activity they haven’t tried before. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) 5.3 Local Authorities and Sports Specialists 5.3.1 Local Authority Perceptions The Local Authorities were happy that DPYPS had had a positive impact on the teachers and schools but were not in a position to identify explicitly impact in terms of children’s attitudes or skill because they were not hands on.
Again, that's one for the head teachers I suppose but the general feeling is one of being positive and being enthusiastic about it.
Respondents felt that teacher quality was the key factor in generating an impact on the children. However, DPYPS was seen as having added quality to the system, and offered a structure in which professionals could develop effective programmes.
I think it's the quality of the input and the consistency of the input from the teachers that will have an impact on the kids I think and that's unique to us because people are varied and some people are highly committed to it and have done a really good job but there's the less committed who do a lesser job and that's just life as it is. I think it doesn't change what we believe in about the programmes, so I don't think I'm going to get hung up too much about the results whether in some situations it's worked fine and in others it's less so. That's just the way the programmes will be like this and it's added to what we've been doing, certainly hasn't taken away, so that's a good thing.
There's different bits because these are just framework structures for me. They're not about what you do in them. They're framework structures. So I suppose co-ordinators, schools initiatives, TOPS, all of that has been helpful in terms of creating a structure, a model that we can do things in. It's given personnel, it's given some kind of structure. I think the next bit is to work on the philosophical issues about what we're trying to achieve and that's very much up to the individual local authorities and others to make that kind of move.
Participants felt the main message is that we have a long way to go. The DPYPS model was seen as sound and the ‘way to go’. However, the objectives of the programme were both long term and far-reaching. Accordingly, both time and effort
were required to reap genuinely the benefits that the programme potentially offered:
I think we've got a long way to go. I don't think there's any doubt about that. I think, you know, it's just chipping slowly but being consistent. I think that's always the model that's worked for me, you know, revolutions don't happen overnight. Or if they do happen, they don't become very stable. I think it takes time and it takes a bit of energy and it takes a bit of continued momentum to keep it going because it's easy to get dispirited and just sometimes it doesn't work and there's problems happen and personalities come in and they don't really apply the philosophy in the way you want and it takes time. So you've just got to keep working at it. There's no short term quick fix solution to this. It just takes time and sometimes time is not what you have because you've got deadlines on programmes, you know. sportscotland is quite timelimited. You're not going to have a big impact over that amount of time.
So it needs to be clearly understood that it will take time. You're changing a whole values and attitudes system and that's really hard.