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Physical education (PE) should be a place for all students to move, laugh, and learn. But for many, traditional PE classes can feel intimidating, exclusive, and frustrating. Students with disabilities, different fitness levels, or cultural backgrounds may feel they don’t belong.

“According to Sport England: More active students report an average happiness score of seven out of 10 (compared to just five out of 10 for less active students).”

So, how can we make PE a truly inclusive experience for everyone? Here are five ways to get started:

1. Ditch the competitive focus

Traditional PE often emphasises competition and winning, leaving some students feeling discouraged and defeated. Instead, shift the focus to cooperation, participation, and personal growth. Celebrate individual progress, teamwork, and the joy of movement itself.

2. Offer choice and variety

Not everyone enjoys the same activities. Provide a variety of options that cater to different interests and abilities. Offer modified versions of traditional sports, incorporate non-competitive games and explore alternative activities like yoga, dance, or fitness circuits.

3. Create an inclusive and respectful environment

Foster a positive classroom culture where everyone feels valued and respected. Use inclusive language, avoid stereotypes, and address any bullying or discrimination immediately. Encourage students to support and cheer each other on, regardless of their skill level.

4. Differentiate instruction and provide options 

Recognise that each student learns and moves differently. Adapt activities to accommodate different physical abilities and learning styles. Provide options for students to choose their level of challenge and personalise their learning experience.

5. Celebrate diversity and encourage self-expression

PE should be a space where everyone feels comfortable being themselves. Celebrate cultural differences, embrace different body types, and allow students to express themselves through movement and clothing choices.

Making PE more inclusive is an ongoing process, but it’s essential to ensure that all students have a positive and empowering experience. By incorporating these strategies, we can create a PE class where everyone feels like they belong, have fun, and reach their full potential.

Using an online PE platform to assist

The PE Office can be the perfect platform that accommodates everything a PE teacher could desire. In-depth lesson plans and schemes of work can help you formulate a more inclusive learning pathway for students. Take a look at the resources on offer here and what the platform can offer here.