To fed up with this trophy-obsessed Head of PE.

(46 Posts)
Illgetmycoat Fri 24-May-13 23:20:57

The state primary school my two children go to is in general a caring and inclusive school which carries out its aim to bring the most out of all their pupils.

The PE head, however, seems over the last couple of years to have been allowed to run amok. He is beep-testing infants and running trials for every sport. He then selects a team and then if you are not on the team you can no longer join in the out of school activities.

My problem is that he seems to pick the same children over and over again - the ones he knows will bring home the trophies. The ones that don't make the team are left by the wayside. There is a growing group of 7-10 year old children (and yes, they are the short / unco-ordinated / asthmatic ones) who are being repeatedly rejected from teams and getting the message that sport isn't for them. On a personal level this includes my daughter who has been rejected from 6 different teams so far this year and my son, who has stopped trying.

Meanwhile the school trophy cabinet swells and the school is proud. Am I being unreasonable to think that it is not just his job to bring home medals, but to instill a love of sport in ALL children?

UniS Mon 27-May-13 18:43:47

Sounds like a PE teacher who has forgotten that in Coaching terms the primary age group is all about " FUNdamental" skills in many sports, not till age 12 do they hit the "learning to train" stage of a long term development model.
I agree that its nice for a team to win, but its also good for a team to not win every time.

Nanny0gg Mon 27-May-13 15:11:59

I think in an ideal world, there should be clubs open to all who want to participate, but when it comes to picking squads then it must be the most able ( with other matches possibly arranged for all).
Certainly, when it comes to our County gymnastics competitions, there's no point in just fielding the enthusiastic if it leaves the best not in the squad.
The point of a competition is to win.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Mon 27-May-13 14:57:16

I actually think there's a real need in primary schos for more sport/exercise where the children set/are set targets to work towards. Most activities seem to be geared towards competition between individuals rather than the individual competing to better themselves. There's a place for both. I have recently started running and suddenly I see the point of exercise. I block out everyone else and am delighted that every week I can run further and feel better.
I worry that the over emphasis on competitive team sports denies a lot of people the chance to enjoy exercise. And I'm not against competition either, nor challenging the elite. But primary school teachers have a responsibility to all pupils.

RedHelenB Sun 26-May-13 18:43:51

Did anyone one watch that C4 programme following a group of children with Special needs> One of the girls on that was delighted to be on the netball team at secondary when she was never picked at primary so it must be more common in primary schools than you suppose!

RedHelenB Sun 26-May-13 18:41:59

YABU to think the head doesn't know what's going on!

Darkesteyes Sun 26-May-13 18:31:36

saffron i completely agree with you. If a maths teacher humiliated a child in front of a whole class because they struggle with maths there (quite rightly) would be hell to pay.
Why the bloody hell is it ok to do it on a sports field.

musicmadness Sun 26-May-13 17:59:34

I think it's a careful balancing act between encouraging the less sporty kids and making sure the sporty ones don't become bored.

I far preferred rounders to netball at school and was pretty good at both but I gave up going to the rounders club/team because it was completely non selective. Any competitive matches were quite frankly embarrassing because more talented players were regularly dropped to make sure everyone got a turn. This meant that people who could not catch, could not throw and never once successfully hit the ball with a bat were on the team. It is horrible knowing you have been dropped for someone who is much worse than you and it is horrible being on a team knowing you cannot rely on your team mates to successfully play to a basic standard. No one minds if someone makes a mistake/has a bad day but it is taking the piss when someone who is absolutely awful is picked over someone much better. That is not what competitive sport is about. It ended up with all the better players joining other sports teams instead and the rounders team had to drop out of regular competitions because the results were so embarrassing it was completely demoralising everyone.

It would have been so much better if we either had an A and B team or had the club open for everyone but matches for the better players only.

BackforGood Sun 26-May-13 17:10:58

lljkk. My dd's school is a state Junior school. Not an academy. It is 3 form entry too, so even more children potentially to ensure get matches against other schools if they want to. It's in an average part of a big city. The 'teacher in charge of PE' is a full time class teacher, this is just his 'area' in the same way others are in charge of English or maths.
From what my dd has played, and what I picked up from others standing up in assemblies, I know they have teams for :
tag rugby (mixed) - outside coach comes in
football (girls)
football (boys)
football (Yr4/5 - boys)
football (yr4/5 - girls) - he runs all these, but if more than one fixture on the same night, then other staff (incl caretaker and secretary, as well as other teachers, step in, often with a parent volunteer)
cricket (they play kwik cricket, mixed)- run by local development person and a grandad and another teacher
basketball (mixed) - run by a local volunteer who is trying to promote the sport in a few schools
netball (girls) run by another teacher
athletics (mixed)- run jointly by him and another teacher
table tennis (mixed) - run by a dinner supervisor
hockey (mixed) - organised by him, but often accompanied by another teacher or TA
golf - this has just been a couple of 'one off competitions' again, a TA took them
Not teams, but opportunities to take part in :
dance (mixed) - this is a company the school pay to come into school for the day, and they extend it with both before and after school clubs
gym (mixed) as above - same people

I do appreciate how lucky we are, and that this is slightly unusual, but then, all these teams play in leagues and cup competitions against other schools, many of whom are also fielding teams in several different sports, so I don't think it can be that strange or there'd be no-one else to play against! smile

arabesque Sun 26-May-13 10:27:07

I think its important to instill enjoyment of sports into all kids and teenagers - for health reasons if nothing else. I don't have a problem with there being separate events/after school sessions for the really talented kids where you have to compete and prove yourself to get onto a team, as long as it's not being done in a way that makes the less athletic kids feel stupid, or awkward or excluded.

There are definitely a lot of PE teachers who really haven't a clue about actually teaching sports and getting all of the kids involved. Too many of them still think it's okay to strut around shouting, blowing whistles, letting the talented kids take over during normal PE sessions and pitching those sessions at a level way beyond the less athletic pupils. As a result a lot of people leave school totally turned off sport and exercise, something that stays with them for the rest of their life.

EduCated Sun 26-May-13 09:56:07

There really needs to be some middle ground between the cut throat in it to win it and the everybody on the team camps.

The sporty, talented children need opportunities to play competitively, to be coached and to really be pushed.

There also needs to be plenty of opportunities for non-sporty kids to have a go, to try, to practice, to get a chance to join in. Writing off swathes of children at 7 is awful. And who knows, maybe at 12 they'll find their feet and become a star player for the top teams.

I think where school sports here falls down is the over emphasis on team games to the exclusivity of all else (at least in my experience). Yes team games are important, but it should also be about encouraging healthy habits through personal exercise and encouragement at all levels, rather than telling young children they're simply not good enough and turning them off sports completely.

saffronwblue Sun 26-May-13 09:53:51

I have been really shocked at how while every other aspect of education has developed and become more child centred and inclusive since my day, the PE teachers at my DD's school are in a time warp from my own school days, complete with short skirts, officious whistles and an unerring ability to humiliate the less well co-ordinated children.

lljkk Sun 26-May-13 09:45:16

Is this an academy? I'm struggling to imagine a state primary school that would have a "Head of PE." Never mind a trophy cabinet. shock Could you give approx idea where it is, what kind of area it's in, too?

Just so bizarre, our school (big) struggles to muster a team for anything but football, they wouldn't turn anyone away who was keen.

yanbu. Still very impressed by a state school that has so many keen and capable young sports people in it.

LittlePeaPod Sun 26-May-13 09:33:22

Wuldric posted before reading your note. Agree with your points too.

FarBetterNow Sun 26-May-13 09:31:57

Sport is wonderful, but the extreme competitiveness is not good.
The Olympic champions that we are all supposed to admire and aspire to all seem to have massive mental health problems, including self harming, eating disorders and contemplating suicide.
But I suppose at that level, any balance has gone from their lives.

Your PE teacher is taking the joy away from the kids who aren't quite good enough for his teams.

LittlePeaPod Sun 26-May-13 09:29:45

ReallyTired. Totally agree with your points.

I think all children should have an opportunity to part take in sport however as this teacher is doing this in his own time unpaid no one can say anything. I think it's very unfair and wrong to hold any child back who has a talent in a certain activity(sports, music, art, drama etc) so that the less talented dont feel a bit left out.

It would be great if the school had more activities for all. But are we saying that this teacher should either get all involved or non at all? That would be so wrong. Sacrifice the talented for the benefit of not making the non talented feel a bit left out. confused.

Wuldric Sun 26-May-13 09:28:49

I think it is entirely appropriate to have a selected team - entirely. I have no patience for the idea that anyone who wants to can roll up and get into a team without any effort. FWIW at junior level DD was in tears not getting into the hockey team. She tried her hardest and finally made it into the team.

I take the point that school should be inclusive and get everyone motivated. DD's school used to do this by making the activities open to everyone. There might be the occasional A/B team practices but everyone was encouraged to participate in the activities. There were also some non-competitive sports - eg aerobics which were suitable for all.

Of course the same children will get picked over and over again for teams. They're the sporty fit types. That's life. The other side of your story would be a really sporty child, who attends an out-of-school netball club, who is really quite hot at netball, being excluded from the school netball team in favour of a worse player. That's no message to send to either the child that is good at sports or to the child that is not so good (or has not found the right sport).

saintmerryweather Sun 26-May-13 09:23:30

pe in primary schools should be about encouraging all children to enjoy sport and exercise. i hated dance in secondary school, it always did well in competitions but if you didnt show natural aptitude you were ignored. i thought i was a crap dancer but i started ballroom dancing about 2 years ago and actually im not that bad. perhaps if schools focused on encouraging everyone, more children would get involved

They can have a selective team if they want, but why exclude the children who aren't selected from the club? That's what's so unfair and stupid.

You're right it sends a really bad message about exercise to those children who aren't chosen. Do we want our kids to be healthy or not?

That's what I would focus on when I spoke to the HT - not who is currently on multiple teams, just that those not on the team should not be excluded.

My DH went to a very sports focused university - lots of people were there because they were potential future Olympians - they did not exclude people like DH from playing in the sports clubs weekly social sessions because that's bloody daft.

OrlaKiely Sun 26-May-13 09:19:47

It sounds wrong. We turned up to a football match one sunday morning - ds1's first match - and he was so excited.
We were there well on time and he was ready to go.

They delayed the match because the 'star' player was late, and when he arrived, he went on, and ds had to sit on the sidelines watching. Eventually he got a turn for five minutes in the second half.

We didn't bother after that because ds didn't want to. Bunch of wankers. He was 7 and did not understand why he hadn't been allowed to play - how do you explain that to a child?

Casey Sun 26-May-13 09:16:48

YANBU surely they key to tackling health and obesity issues in this country is to engage those children and adults who are not natural athletes.

There seems to be so much money being ploughed into sports in this country in the last few years, but almost all seems to be spent on the 40% who are already committed to sport; rather than engaging those who aren't.

If you teach Maths at school, it's completely unacceptable to say to 60% of the cohort: "we'll, never mind, this isn't your forte, I'm sure there are other things you're good at" and not attempt to teach them and ensure they make progress. Yet at far too many secondary schools this is the approach in PE departments. They just focus on the kids who have the potential to get in the squads.

QueVes Sun 26-May-13 09:14:37

The worst thing is that those rejected from the teams may not even have less aptitude for sport - summer born kids are at a big disadvantage simply because they are younger. I remember reading something along the lines of 75% of pro sports players being born between September and march.

Snazzywaitingforsummer Sun 26-May-13 09:09:35

There was a thread a while back about hating PE at school and this was a key reason for most - being sidelined and even belittled for lesser ability.

scaevola Sun 26-May-13 09:03:24

Our school has a selective A team, but also B, C and sometimes D teams so that everyone gets a chance to compete. They run two after school clubs on different nights, one is extension squad and one is sign up for anyone. I like the balance that strikes.

Illgetmycoat Sun 26-May-13 08:42:42

Well said ifIonlyhadsomesleep! PE at Primary level isn't just about winning - it's about promoting for excerise in all children and creating a healthy generation.

I think that the premise that 'talented' children short get extra sports opportunities for free, whereas 'untalented' should pay a pretty uncaring approach if I am honest. These are 7-11 year olds who are still growing. How can you write them off like that?

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sat 25-May-13 23:44:03

Backforgood-your post made me well up a bit. It's how I picture good sports teaching to be-inclusivity doesn't need to mean the talented don't get to shine, it just means that others get to take part too. Those who just do extra curricular sport for the talented have really missed the point of PE. They also will have a limited impact rather than, hopefully, getting children into a lifetime habit of sport and exercise.

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