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We’ve heard some very creative ideas for not doing PE over the years. One of the never-ending challenges of a PE teacher’s life is dealing with students who pull the ‘I forgot my PE Kit’ card.

Of course, there are some more genuine cases that you will know are valid from past behaviour but generally speaking, most students are just trying to avoid taking PE lessons.

If you are regularly being told by students that they have forgotten their kit, here are some simple ideas that can help to resolve the issue:

1. Spare PE kit

An old favourite in the deterrence of forgotten PE kits – the collection of spare PE kit items is usually enough to prompt students to bring their PE kit the next time.

The idea of wearing kit that isn’t theirs or that is highly unfashionable adds to the impact. So make sure that you have a varied collection of clean, (very) old, bizarrely-coloured and misfitting shorts, t-shirts and socks to hand out when this classic excuse is used!

2. Engage with parents

Having a conversation with parents will often see a good response, as parents will either nag them to take their kit each PE day or they will give them enough of a telling off to ensure they don’t make the same mistake again.

This approach will largely depend on the parent and how seriously they take the situation. Talking to a parent might reveal an underlying issue as to why a student is trying to get out of PE, so it might be worth a quick call.

3. Give non-participants unattractive jobs

Devise a good alternative for those who are not participating in PE due to ‘forgotten kits’.

When we say good, what we really mean is give them a job that they are really not going to enjoy very much, like litter picking or collecting and setting up equipment, cleaning equipment etc.

It might surprise you how many students suddenly become a bit keener to remember their kit when they know a boring or what they perceive to be embarrassing task is the alternative.

4. Detention

Punishment in the form of detentions might also work towards deterring students who don’t like to lose out on their own time.

If you set up a consistent policy for giving detentions and stick to it, knowing the consequences should prevent many students from trying their luck.

5. Ask students if there are any issues

Not all circumstances of ‘I forgot my PE kit’ are the same and there may be underlying issues as to why a student doesn’t want to do PE.

If you can talk to the student on their own, you will have a better chance of finding out these problems, then you can try to build solutions to the issue.

It might be that a girl is struggling with an aspect of puberty, such as not having a good sports bra or not having the right type of sanitary protection. These can be embarrassing topics for them to talk about but can be easily resolved, sometimes with the help of their parents.

Another reason might be that a student feels self-conscious about their body, as reported by the BBC, in which case being able to wear a baggier PE kit might help them to deal with the problem.

Unfortunately, some students just don’t like doing PE but in order to keep them exercising regularly and participating in PE lessons, using one or some of these methods should help to deal with the situation.