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Croftlands Junior School

Physical Education & Outdoor Learning

A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically-demanding activities. It should provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect.

In 2017, the school achieved the Sainsbury's School Games Gold Award. Because of the building works related to our new building, we were unable to apply for the award in the following two years. We had commenced work towards re-accreditation when the pandemic started but we have now started to work again to meet the criteria needed to achieve this award.

Swimming is taught in Years 3 & 4 in a two-week block per class of intensive daily lessons. Children who have not achieved the required standard at the end of Year 4 continue to attend swimming lessons in Year 5 and Year 6 if necessary. This year, our Years 5 & 6 are also having an additional ten lessons of swimming to help make up learning lost due to COVID-19.

We teach a broad range of different sporting activities, focusing on skills in Years 3 & 4 and progressing to applying those skills to match and game play in Years 5 & 6.

Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL)

This year, as part of our COVID recovery, we are embarking upon an outdoor learning journey with OPAL.

Children in British primary schools spend 20% or 1.4 years of their school attendance in play and yet many schools have no strategic or values-based approach to play across all ages.
The Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) Primary Programme is a mentor supported school improvement programme. It addresses all of the areas schools must plan for if they want to strategically and sustainably improve the quality of their play opportunities.
The OPAL Primary Programme is the only programme of its kind that has been independently proven to sustainably improve the quality of play in British primary schools.
Research shows that play contributes to children’s physical and emotional health, well-being, approach to learning and enjoyment of school. Given the importance of play in children’s lives and current concerns about children’s health and opportunity to access time and space to initiate their own play outdoors, there are considerable benefits for children, parents, school and the wider community from participating in OPAL's programme. The OPAL Primary Programme supports schools in developing a cultural shift in thinking about and supporting children’s play. Its success comes from a series of interrelated actions undertaken with the specialist support from the OPAL mentor. This embeds play into school’s policies and practices and establishes clear guiding principles and strategies for initiating changes at playtimes. The results can be transformational and - at best – spectacular and show progress even in more challenging school environments.