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To think frankly, PE is pointless and not as important as getting good grades in english/maths? And that avoiding it will not make you obese?!

96 replies

bananasinpjamas · 10/05/2011 15:10

I was a geek at school. I have only deliberately faked illness once and that was on sports day- it was humiliating and the team sports made no sense and were overwhelming for me- I was put with the 'YRs' in year 6 to 'Help' them as I couldn't do the activities properly (and was terrified of falling off the bloody balancing equipment, thanks shit depth perception).

I also avoided it when I went to Sixthform - said I was on a uni open day (Tutor found me out and found it hilarious as I frantically tried to blurt out a 'cover' story and told me she would keep it hush as she did exactly the same as a kid so wasn't one to talk!).

Avoiding PE does not equate to challenge avoidence or even avoidence of exercise. I bet there are people that have sneaked off something in life and still are very successful people.

For the record, I have severe dyspraxia, SPD and mild cp. I have done my DofE award, 200 hours volunteering award, will be doing race for life, raised over 1300 for charity and at the top uni for my subject. I am a very healthy weight for my height and hardly get ill.

PE really doesn't matter when you leave school. Its not essential like english and maths, and tbh a good parental influence on healthy eating/lifestyle choices is better than any PE lesson. No one, unless you are going to be an olympian, is going to use skipping PE against you as much as they might rely on your SATs results.

OP posts:

nijinsky · 10/05/2011 15:15

Its because otherwise so many children wouldn't be introduced to exercise by their parents. Plus, since you are now training for a 5k, you will be aware that after exercise, your concentration levels are better. You can also develop skills at school in sports that would be difficult to develop in later life.

Its pretty hard to learn to run well if you have never done it as a child. Sure, some people manage but they are probably athletically talented. My 5k pb is 19: 43, which I wouldn't have had a hope of doing as an over 35 woman, had I not learnt good running technique from sprinting in school. Likewise, I've done an Ironman triathlon and would have really struggled had I not learnt to swim in school. I also know that I could still make a pretty good attempt at fencing, badminton, tennis, cricket, hockey, football, volleyball, basketball and squash, all of which I learned the basics of in school.


Hammy02 · 10/05/2011 15:15

I am sorry for what you went through however I don't think PE is pointless. Some people aren't very bright but excel at sports so it is good that all children cover a range of activities. I absolutely loved PE & Games and found it a nice change to academic lessons. Perhaps there should be something in place to enable people that genuinely have real issues with PE that they can do something else.


RobF · 10/05/2011 15:15

It is not pointless. It should just be organised a bit better so that unathletic people are not put into situations where they feel uncomfortable. Turning a blind eye to kids avoiding PE is not a good thing.

Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating can only go so far.


Pagwatch · 10/05/2011 15:16

I disagree.
Pe should be extended to give as much variety as possible and to provide environments where children can find something physical that they enjoy.

Ds 2 has very little access to sport because of his sn. My other two do tonnes. I have a string oersonal belief that his inability to be active adds to his anxiety and stress and sleep problems.
At his nursery the very smart head used to get all the children to run outside for 20 mins in races and brief games. It helped them calm themselves enough to then sit still and concentrate. I suspect many mainstream schools could do worse than copy that.

It isn't good for most people to grow up inactive. Maybe you are an exception - quite possibly that is true.
But for most people inactivity is bad for your physical and mental health


BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack · 10/05/2011 15:16

PE is probably the only form of exercise some children get. we need to teach our kids about healthy living etc etc - we are now onto the first generation where parents are gonna outlive their kids........I think PE is vital!


Debs75 · 10/05/2011 15:17

There are some children out there though who do no exercise at home and so need PE.
I do think some of the things we did in PE were more geared to the sporty so the ones that were already overweight or had balance problems were at a disadvantage and often shunned. Simple sports and less emphasis on running would of helped me, I have asthma and have never been able to run. I love the team games like rounders as I got a chance for a breather, but why they had to test me every year on how fast I could run 100 metres is beyond me.

If you do PE at school and enjoy it then it will help you when you leave school as it should terach you the importance of exercixe., even if it is just cycling to help you keep fit.

Without PE I wouldn't be able to swim so would not be able to take my 4 dc's swimming


reallytired · 10/05/2011 15:17

PE has changed a lot since most mumsnetter were at school. My son's primary school takes great care to avoid children being humilated. Sports day is a mixture of team events, individual events for the more talented and EVERYONE including kids with CP takes part.

PE often includes dance, swimming, orienteering rather than just team sports.

"No one, unless you are going to be an olympian, is going to use skipping PE against you as much as they might rely on your SATs results."

I can guarentee that no one will ask you what your SAT results were when you appy for jobs. Employers are often interested in how fit and healthy potential staff are.


strandedbear · 10/05/2011 15:18

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

madwomanintheattic · 10/05/2011 15:18

meh. i actually wanted to be a PE teacher for that very reason. it should be about the inculcating the joys of exercise to students, not olympian excellence and public humiliation.

i actually got a place and went to warwick on that remit, and left after two terms of not being allowed to smile in the gym. seriously. if we smiled during the practical gym sessions, it meant we weren't taking it seriously enough.

as wannabe pe teachers ffs.

i was a shit hot runner, but crap at everything else. Grin (also no depth perception)

they liked to talk the talk about their ethos, but there was no walking the walk, really.

as an aside (and i know it's aibu so shouldn't sneak in a very serious discussion) - how have you found public reaction to your sports participation as someone with a disability? dd2 has cp as well, and people do seem to go rather overboard if she deigns to take part... i suspect this 'yay, look at the little disabled girl, bless' stuff will lesson considerably as she gets older...


ithaka · 10/05/2011 15:19

I agree with OP - I hated PE at school, as an adult I competed for my country (in a sport PE departments don't 'recognise', because PE teachers are generally fat, stupid and blinkered).


newbroom · 10/05/2011 15:19

Totally agree. I still feel a bit queasy whenever I see a PE teacher [dons hard hat and running shoes ...]


breatheslowly · 10/05/2011 15:20

I don't think it is pointless, but I think some of the activities are pointless. What sort of exercise is hanging around in a rounders queue exactly?


madonnawhore · 10/05/2011 15:21

I fucking hated PE and sports day. I'm not competitive or very sporty at all and I remember finding the whole lead up to sports day incredibly stressful.

When I got to secondary school I would just straight up refuse to do it. By then of course there were all the attendant cringeworthy pressures of body issues and not being allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms - having to wear those stupid knickers and teeny skirts in the freezing bloody cold weather.

Eventually they gave up trying to make me and so I sat out all sports lessons reading on the sidelines.

Horrible, horrible, horrible.


madonnawhore · 10/05/2011 15:22

Also, I have never been overweight and am fit and healthy despite never having spent December mornings getting my shins whacked with a hockey stick.


worraliberty · 10/05/2011 15:23

I think PE is not pointless at all.

It's been lovely to see my 'Geeky' DS2 go from having little or no PE skills at all, to being picked for the Cricket team.

Children do a variety of Sports over the year, there's nearly always something they'll be good at and other thing's they won't.

PE at my son's school is different to how it was when I was at school. The pupils are grouped by ability, the same as they are in other lessons.


bananasinpjamas · 10/05/2011 15:23

But how does PE = exercise. The fat kids would just do nothing or slope off behind the trees (guilty- got told by my teacher I need to bring tea and biscuits next time. I asked whether hobnobs were acceptable...). Not doing PE doesn't equate to them not doing exercise!

Dog walking? Trampoline at home? Tig with friends? Frisbee in the park? Kinect? Dance mats? Climbing mountains? Rock climbing? Dog sports? Gardening? Swimming? Hopscotch? Just mucking about on the climbing frames at a local park?

Training for 10k btw :)

I disagree that only structured exercise is the only way to be healthy- simple science, eat less calories than you burn. Eat your 5 a day. Don't eat processed junk. Eat brown rather than white carbs. Switch to skimmed milk. Limit salt and sugar intake.

OP posts:

Chil1234 · 10/05/2011 15:24

I think school is all about new experiences and trying things out. You may discover a hidden talent if you give something a try whereas if you never try it, you'll never know. It's also about doing things you might not necessarily enjoy or want to repeat. I have probably not solved a quadratic equation in anger in the last 30 years, will never read Grays Elegy In A Country Churchyard again if I can help it, and don't particularly remember(or care) why the British were fighting a Peninsular War. I loathed Latin and Geography but have found both surprisingly useful. Some people will find sport a revelation, others will find it a total arse-ache. It's all character building. Nothing is pointless.


worraliberty · 10/05/2011 15:25

I don't think it is pointless, but I think some of the activities are pointless. What sort of exercise is hanging around in a rounders queue exactly?

It's not all about excercise though is it? It's about learning a team sport.


Bartimaeus · 10/05/2011 15:25

I enjoyed PE at school. It was the one time the "in-crowd" didn't take the piss out of me. They bullied me rotten for getting good grades in all other subjects, but in PE they couldn't laugh at me for being better than them, it just doesn't work so well!

My friend hated PE and always got his mum to write a note. I remember his fury one day when the new PE teacher said ok, but I can see that you can walk fine so spend the class walking around the field Grin. There were 3 of them so they had a good chat, but still, they were furious at being made to "do exercise" even when it was just walking!

He was incredibly skinny but one of the unfittest people I have ever met.

I think children need time when they are moving, not just sitting at desks all day. Even now when I do training days at work they get us to do "energizers" to get us moving around and focus our concentration.


GrungeBlobPrimpants · 10/05/2011 15:26

Another PE-hating sickie-throwing anti-competitive sports former geek here Grin

But actually I DO think PE is important. I hated sport so much and did so little that by time I left school I was seriously unfit -worryingly so I'd say though I didn't look it, being a beanpole in those days Grin

I now do more exercise - walking, swimming, cycling - than I ever did in my youth as I realise how important it is. And try to get my dc's to do some sport or excercise too.

But PE isn't what it used to be at school. Far more inclusive and varied, no naked shower dash or anything. There's some kind of activity for everyone I think, surely?


LadyShapes · 10/05/2011 15:28

YABU. I don't know where to start!

Of course PE is important - your health is just about the most important thing...and that's what PE is all about developing.

If kids don't have to do PE and their parents don't do any sport with them at home, they aren't going to find out about any different sports.

You seem to have an arrogant attitude that because you were clever you were allowed to skive off PE. You can't be good at everything! It's not a bad thing for people to do stuff they're bad at and not just run away. Having to push yourself to do something is definitely a good thing.

And there are loads of studies that show that doing PE is good not just for children's health but for their overall academic performance.

It isn't your academic achievements that get you places. That is a small part. A healthy can-do attitude and the ability to get involved and work hard is just as important.


bananasinpjamas · 10/05/2011 15:28

I would even go as far as saying the jamies school dinner thing was pointless- people just brought crap in bulk and sold it for 3x more because you couldn't get it in school. Parents would be VERY naive if they thought only school enforced lifestyle changes will work without support at home. If anything, it would put you off for life!

OP posts:

Bartimaeus · 10/05/2011 15:31

Also just had a thought. I can honestly never remember anyone getting laughed at or bullied over PE. Mostly we just played games but the emphasis wasn't on winning or getting a certain time or whatever. It was just taking part and playing together.


AlpinePony · 10/05/2011 15:31


In spite of school PE lessons, it's transpired that I actually love sport. I just hate cocking popularity contests (i.e., team picking) and team sports.

This is why I love horseriding and skiing - nobody but yourself to rely upon! :)

I think there's a sport out there for everyone, it's just discovering what it is you like.


cheesesarnie · 10/05/2011 15:33

yabu.for some children its the only excercise they get.for others like my ds1 is a break from the other things that he finds hard.hes dyslexic,he needs a break and change of scenery from the white board and the class room.hes not sporty at all!he got thrown out of football club at his old school because he spent his time looking at the clouds!but its time out.

fwiw i hated pe but never managed to get out of it.

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