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Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Top ten tips for PE

Do not assume that PE lessons are inaccessible for pupil with disabilities. PE is an important vehicle for developing social skills, teamwork, leadership skills, improving movement, balance and spatial/perceptual ability for all pupils. Not just a time to be spent catching up with other work, doing homework or physio exercises.

  1. Be aware of how the pupil is affected by their condition
  • Responses or behaviours may seem odd, so assume there is a reason for this, and check first before trying to eliminate the behaviour
  • Not all pupils with the same condition have the same disability
  • Find out about child’s abilities before teaching PE, start where they are
  • Find out about any restrictions e.g. forward rolls for children with shunts
  • Ask the pupil, their TA, parent, relevant professional e.g. physiotherapist
  1. Use concise, sequential language
  • Pupils may take things literally, or not be able to decode banter or sarcasm
  1. Use visual and auditory instructions and directions
  • Some pupils will struggle to hear, see or make sense of vision or hearing
  1. Give the pupil the opportunity to check understanding
  • It may be best to wait until after the initial group talk as they may not want ask to in front of the group
  1. Considered your positioning re-audio and visual clarity
  • Sunlight behind someone can make a silhouette, and facing away can mean a child can’t hear, lip read or get visual clues
  1. Condition any game to ensure success is achieved
  • Adapt movements or in group games adapt rules or equipment e.g. use bigger target, or have staggered starting points
  • It is easier to catch a ball which has been bounced, or hit a stationary ball
  1. Use small-sided games, consider the dynamics of pairs or groups
  • Some pupils may struggle in large group with lots of people around them
  • Some pupils may find it difficult to work in pairs
  • Encourage independence to avoid over-reliance on adult support
  1. Offer everyone a range of equipment to choose from
  • Koosh, spider balls, bean bag, but not just for the pupil with identified needs
  • Slower moving objects are easier to catch, e.g. lightweight balls or balloons
  • Use lightweight or Velcro bats. Grips are available to secure bats
  1. Create clear boundaries, considering size and surface of area
  • Some pupils need to have a reduced playing area
  • Some may need a smooth level surface with bold floor markings, e.g. pupils with physical and/or visual difficulties, so a mat could be used to denote area
  1. Be flexible regarding getting changed for P.E
  • Anxiety because of changing, or taking too long, can make or break a PE lesson for some pupils.  Allow some to change elsewhere or before everyone else. Do not give instructions when a signing interpreter is not present, e.g. in a male changing room if the interpreter is female and elsewhere