Jump to accessibility statement Skip to content

Preparing students for PE in Primary Education

Home / Student blogs / Guest blogs / Preparing students for PE in Primary Education

Published: May 29, 2019

This week 50 second year Primary Education students attended a course to achieve their PTA qualification.

Thinking back (way back) to my own experiences of PE at Primary School, I have fond memories of scoring goals, touching down tries, captaining teams and escaping the classroom to spend hours running around on the school field. But as positive an experience I had with the subject, I’ve heard countless other accounts depicting the exact opposite. Stories of embarrassment at being picked last, feeling useless, being unable to compete with peers and even feigning illness and injury to avoid this lesson at all cost. So why is there such an apparent disparity of pupil’s experience of the same subject?

Many believe the answer lies in outdated delivery, old-fashioned values and a lack of understanding in how to practically apply the National Curriculum for PE in Key Stages 1 & 2. That’s why workshops like the FA’s Primary Teachers Award (PTA) are so important. They give teachers and student teachers access to high quality coach education, providing them with adequate training and resources and equipping them with the skills to be able to deliver effective, inclusive Physical Education.

When asked, what is PE? Many think of Football, Netball and Rugby, whereas courses like the PTA challenge teachers to think instead of balance, co-ordination and agility. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to delivery, the PTA shows how National Curriculum objectives can be achieved through games and applying differentiation to ensure every pupil is challenged and engaged.


View this post on Instagram

This week we provided training to 50+ Primary Education students with our friends at The FA #TeamSunderland #WeAreSun #sunderlanduni

A post shared by Team Sunderland (@team_sunderland) on

Ryan Davies Regional PE & Coaching in Education Co-Ordinator from the FA said: ­­­­

‘The aim of the FA Primary Teachers’ Award is to provide teachers, and those training to teach, with increased knowledge of the Physical Education Purpose of Study at KS1 and KS2, linking relevant subject content to support pupil learning. On completion of the course learners are able to recognise the role invasion games have in KS1 & KS2 PE National Curriculum, organise fundamental games to help develop movement skill, modify learning activities to manage difference and help with the running of school teams and extra-curricular sport. 

It has been fantastic to work with the students at University of Sunderland who have all really engaged with the course and it’s key messages. It’s been great to see so many of the students grow in confidence regarding their delivery of PE while adopting a focus on the fundamental movement skills of the National Curriculum to ensure the students in their care, both now and in the future, are getting the best PE experience possible and developing a life-long love of sport.’

This week, 50 second year Primary Education students attended the course and to date, a total of nearly 300 University of Sunderland students have achieved the PTA qualification.

In my admittedly biased opinion, PE is a somewhat unique subject in Education. PE, when properly utilised, can not only teach physical skill acquisition like how to catch and throw but is also an opportunity to develop more subtle psychological and social skills like mental resilience and teamwork. Not only does it provide these opportunities for character development, it does so in a way which is organic, unforced and allows children to discover themselves naturally without excess coaching or interference.

The FA, as a governing body, should be applauded for committing so much resource to providing training like this for teachers as well as the University of Sunderland Education Staff and Students for taking a proactive stance in improving the physical health of the next generation.

Rob Graham
Sport Development Officer
Institute of Sport



Topic: Advice and tips