Primary Schools

Baselining in PE – It’s Child’s Play!

So, teacher’s baselining is important, right? In almost every subject data is gathered at the beginning of the year to enable you to but in place the correct support mechanisms for your pupils and your class.  

You want the best for your children and you want to be able to support them to achieve the potential in school and for their futures and this makes perfect sense. 

However, baselining for Physical Education doesn’t seem to be common practice in primary schools and our opinion is – it should be – and here’s why!  


1. Safety 

More so than any other subject, there is a need to constantly risk assess and manage the environment and the activities for our classes, to do this correctly we need to look at the capabilities of our class to really ensure they are safe, yes we need to check on the usual obstructions in the hall and check the playground and field isn’t too ‘slippy’ but if we really want to ensure are children are safe we need to know what they can and can’t do!


2. Curriculum Requirement 

The National Curriculum asks for children in KS1 to “develop fundamental movement skills, become increasingly competent and confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their agility, balance and coordination” and to “master basic movements” amongst other things. In KS2 it asks children to “develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance” along with other requirements.  

How can we truly show the progress and the development that are children are making without working out what their starting point is? We do this in every other subject, right?


3. Progression 

Our job is to help the children progress throughout their school life, at the end of each year group there are key indicators to what we would see as success, what children ‘should’ be able to achieve.  

There are some that will be able to, some that will exceed these expectations and there will be some gaps in their physical abilities and capabilities, if we not what these are we can address them as we provide high quality PE, School Sport and Physical Activity for our children. Again, with other subjects we identify gaps in learning and attempt to plug these gaps, this should be no different in PE.




4. Inform Planning 

I have mentioned that in other subjects we “plug gaps” in learning. Baselining and assessment obviously support us with formulating teaching strategies, helps us to differentiate and helps every child to succeed. Have you ever been teaching Football in PE and had some children that don’t engage because it’s too hard, they don’t like it, the others don’t pass and then the whole lesson becomes an issue – wouldn’t it be great to minimise how often this happens?


5. Measure your impact 

The PE and School Sports Premium requirement is to monitor the impact on your children. Now although part of this impact could be the amount of children that are now active, or the amount of children that are now taking part in clubs, wouldn’t it be incredible to show the journey that your children take during their time at school, regarding their physical competencies? 



It helps children to achieve. For those schools that participate in the School Games Programme, our challenges and your baselines meet the needs of the digital competitions that your school need to participate in to achieve the sports mark. It also allows children to understand their strengths and development areas so that they can push for their personal bests.


Informed Planning


7. Develop leadership skills of your children!  

Baselining in PE, when structured correctly is so easy to do, as the title suggests, ‘It’s Child’s Play!’  

Again, focusing on the School Sports Mark, part of the criteria is to give children the opportunity to lead in PE and School Sport, with many schools having their own Sports Council or Play Leaders, your Year 5 and 6 children can support and lead the delivery and recording of your baselines for PE, giving your children a sense of responsibility and leadership, further ensuring that there is not extra work for teaching staff! 


8. IT'S FUN!  

Here is without a doubt the most important reason to baseline for Physical Education – it’s fun! The children love it!!! A lesson about challenging each individual that feels like a competition, but isn’t a competition and every child can just concentrate on themselves! Whether you agree with baselines in PE or not, these lessons are incredibly rewarding for the children, and they absolutely love them.  

Our method means that teachers can baseline a full KS1 class in just 30 minutes and a full EYFS class (in Physical Development) and a full KS2 class in just 45 minutes! It isn’t about turning PE in to a battery of assessments, it’s just one lesson, to have fun, but get really good data about the capabilities of your children.  

With our support from our Physical Education and Healthy Schools Platform you can also enter your data and generate reports for your children with just an additional 5/10 minutes! You can find out more about the platform here 

When it’s this easy, it really is child’s play, so our question is if you are not doing it – why not?


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