Wednesday, May 02, 2012


When I read that a study for the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation had concluded that girls don't like PE, my first thought was-

I wonder if there is a Men's Sport and Fitness Foundation?

Of course there isn't, but there is a debate about the value and purpose of PE in schools going on.

Now this is something we can argue until the cows come home.(Which judging by the size of some of the kids and staff at my local school, happens each day at 3.30pm).

So what should the purpose of School PE actually be?

Should it try and encourage pupils to lead active healthy lifestyles when they become adults?
Should it try and give the kids experience of as many different sports as possible?
Is it about letting them experience Teamwork, obeying the referee and learning the value of competition?
Or should it simply be an opportunity for the bigger pupils to bully the smaller ones?


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Anonymous said...

It could be all of those things, but not while elephant girl's blubber is on show lolloping round the gym, or underdeveloped flat-chested bony girl's stick legs are available for boys to laugh at.

Macheath said...

The biggest problem with PE is that it is taught - almost invariably - by the sort of people who were very good at it at school.

You could say the same, of course, about the core curriculum (though sadly there are exceptions), but by and large classroom teachers understand that some find their subjects difficult and take great trouble to help them understand.

In my experience, most PE teachers simply do not have time for that - and many do not have the inclination either. Having always excelled at team sports, they have little understanding of the experience of the less coordinated, sporty or athletic souls in their charge.

Boys tend to let this wash over them - girls are likely to take it to heart, hence the aversion.

As for what we do - look at the number of women attending fitness classes; that's something girls will do, and happily too if well-motivated and reassured.

I've seen it work well - the PE teacher in question (a gymnastics specialist) turned round girls' PE in the school within a year - largely because she, too had been bad at hockey and understood an aversion to team games.

I bet the WSFF is full of jolly hockey types!

Anonymous said...

It would help if they stopped letting the boys lean over and watch the girls , stopped the shit rounders n basketball and let girls play cricket and football, and the media start focusing on our excellent female sports teams instead of obsessing about males in sport. Seriously we have a great female football team That the media won't cover.

Frank chalk is a hoot but he has a big blind spot for girls participation. Sexism is as real in sport as it is in physics .

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