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Keeping teenagers engaged in any subject can be a challenge. But when it comes to KS4 physical education, the struggle can feel real. Between exam pressures, changing bodies, and competing interests, it’s easy for physical education to become an afterthought. However, we must treat PE equally as important as other subjects for children. In this post, we’ll take a look at ways you can keep engagement high when delivering PE sessions.

“The Association for PE recommends that pupils actively move for 50% to 80% of the available learning time. This is as important in key stage 1 as it is in key stage 4. This can usually be achieved through effective planning and organisation of pupils and resources, and making sure that very limited time is spent waiting to participate or to share equipment.”

1. Cater to the chaos

Gone are the days of regimented laps and monotonous drills. KS4 students crave variety, challenge, and a sense of choice. So, ditch the one-size-fits-all approach and embrace the beautiful mess of individual needs and preferences.

• Offer a buffet of activities: From team sports and dance to fitness circuits and outdoor pursuits, provide options that cater to different skill levels and interests. You can even let students vote on their favourites at the beginning of each term!

• Embrace technology: Gamify your lessons with fitness trackers, heart rate monitors, and interactive apps. Let students compete against themselves or their classmates, adding a layer of friendly competition and instant feedback.

• Personalise the journey: Allow students to set their own fitness goals and track their progress. Encourage them to experiment with different activities and discover their hidden talents.

2. Unleash the inner coach

Remember, you’re not just a PE teacher, you enthuse your students and become a role model to them.

•Positive reinforcement: Ditch the negativity and focus on praising effort, celebrating small wins, and recognising individual progress. A simple “high five” or a pat on the back can go a long way.

•Create a supportive environment: Foster a sense of community within your class. Encourage teamwork, cooperation, and positive sportsmanship. Let students know that they’re in this together and that everyone is on their unique fitness journey.

•Connect with their world: Tap into their passions and interests. Use music, movies, or even pop culture references to make your lessons more relatable and engaging. Imagine turning a dodgeball game into a Hunger Games simulation, or a fitness circuit into a superhero training session!

3. Remember, engagement is a two-way street

By incorporating these strategies and being open to student feedback, you can create a dynamic and inclusive PE environment where every student feels valued, challenged, and excited to move their body. So, ditch the drill sergeant routine and embrace the playful, diverse, and empowering world of high-engagement KS4 PE!

Using online resources

Online resources can be transformative in keeping engagement high, especially during KS4. Online platforms such as PE Office can provide engaging lesson plans and schemes of work that can allow students to focus more on what they are learning. The resources on PE Office also provide videos of elite athletes performing skills which can inspire and motivate students to achieve excellence.