Physical Education at St Gabriel’s has developed immensely during the past few years. In addition to the pursuit of excellence, dedicated and highly qualified teachers and coaches provide numerous opportunities for every child to be included in a diverse programme of games, movement and swimming.
All pupils in the Junior School have Physical Education for a minimum of three times a week and those in Year 3—Year 6 have the opportunity to take part in a match. The emphasis is on fun, skills development and teamwork within the context of a conditioned game. Pupils are grouped in a variety of ways during lessons to aid teaching and to improve learning, but for team training before school they are coached in ability groups. The groupings are flexible throughout the season to allow for improvement. We provide an enjoyable, challenging, positive and stimulating learning environment for the children, providing them with the foundations to enjoy and fully participate in sport and access a healthy lifestyle.
Our major sports for boys and girls are football, tag rugby, netball and hockey, with rounders, athletics, tennis and cricket in the summer. Our more able players are expected to achieve district honours and we encourage them to apply for sports scholarships into their Senior School. Every child is proud to represent their school and we celebrate the success of every team equally.
It is our aim to ensure that all children are confident swimmers and are able to swim a length of the pool by the end of Year 3. Most pupils achieve this landmark but, if more development is needed, there is the chance to work in smaller groups before and after school to build up water confidence.
The Physical Education programme is varied in nature requiring individual agility, balance, co-ordination, flexibility and core strength. Gymnastics and dance are particularly valuable because they allow every pupil to express themselves and to create their own sequences and ideas based around a common theme. By Year 6, all pupils in gymnastics lessons will have felt the exhilaration of flight into and out of a vault, the stillness of the balance and the excitement of working in pairs and small groups to create advanced sequences. Pupils have the opportunity to represent the school in district and county competition following the Key Steps Programme and are able to extend their gymnastics further in our inclusive after school Gym Club.
The teaching of athletics builds on the natural delight children take in running, jumping and throwing. They are constantly encouraged to improve on their own personal performance. It is not uncommon for pupils who find games a challenge to excel in these individual activities. The highlight of the Summer Term is Sports Day, an inter-house athletics event involving every child. Athletics extends to our regular Monday morning club, where pupils are encouraged to develop their stamina and running technique through fun activities, which starts our week in a positive way.
Enrichment activities that have been offered to Reception — Year 6 include judo, climbing, tennis, gymnastics, golf, orienteering, quad kids athletics, running, netball, hockey, cricket, football, trampolining, tag rugby, rounders, basketball, bowling, paralympic sports, swimming, volleyball and ballet.
Sporting life at St Gabriel’s balances a commitment to physical health and fitness for all through a diverse and challenging physical education programme.