PE: Improving bodies and minds
It’s common knowledge physical exercise is vital for keeping our bodies in good shape but the benefits of Physical Education in school extend far beyond the sports field.
In 2020, after the national lockdown, children’s charity Youth Sport Trust carried out a survey of 1,396 young people aged 6–15 to discover how they now felt about sport and exercise. Over a quarter said physical education, sport and exercise had made them feel better during that time. Additionally, 40% said not being able to play sport had made them feel worse. Clearly, sport and exercise has a positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.
At Ipswich Academy it is easy to see the positive effects PE has on our students. In lessons following PE their attention is noticeably greater, their ability to focus is far better. And in the long-term PE builds self-confidence, reduces anxiety and improves self-esteem. It also helps young people develop attributes which help them cope with difficulties and setbacks.
We take a skills-based approach in our PE lessons to improve the fundamental movement skills – running, jumping, hand-eye coordination, balance, agility, throwing and catching – this way pupils can develop the core abilities which are used in multiple sports and physical activities.
The mental side of sport isn’t ignored though. We place a great emphasis on the ability to outwit opponents with strategy and tactics, and students are routinely exposed to attacking and defending principles specific to activities through in-depth discussion.
To be able to track our students progress effectively, measurement is key. We use five assessments each term to check how they’re improving in areas such as speed, fitness, coordination and strength. We then use that data to adjust our lessons accordingly, so the pupils continue to make progress, term after term.
At the core of sport is competition, which is important for helping students develop a winning mental attitude and equipping them to handle both success and failure. To do this we play competitive games in sport and take part in inter-school competition. As well as teaching pupils about sportsmanship and respect, it fosters a sense of friendly rivalry and school pride, and boosts morale and self-esteem. PE is an essential part of the curriculum that builds strong character and develops qualities in pupils which are beneficial in all subjects, as well as their lives beyond school.
Paradigm Trust is consulting on the admissions arrangements for all the schools across the Trust for the academy year 2023/24 in line with the School Admissions Code 2021.
The consultation is taking place for a period of six weeks, between 17 December 2021 and 28 January 2022.
Please go to ‘Admissions Consultation‘ page to find out more.
Striking the right note – music at Ipswich Academy
In a world in which we are surrounded by music every day, Music lessons help pupils understand and appreciate it in some way, whether that’s by learning an instrument, connecting on an emotional level or even using it as a method of self-regulation. It’s also a subject which has many benefits that reach far beyond learning an instrument or improving children’s musicality.
To give our students the best music education we can, all our lessons are planned and taken by specialist teachers. We have also allocated Music more space in the timetable – rather than being on a carousel rotation, music is now a regular part of the curriculum so all students in year 7, 8 and 9 receive an hour’s music lesson every week, all year round. We also run several extracurricular clubs for students who wish to explore music further, including music tech club, guitar club and Let’s Jam where they can turn up and play songs together.
As well as improving their musicality, students are also building interpersonal and intrapersonal skills in their lessons. We ensure there’s always a practical aspect to every lesson, usually group work and performance. These activities build confidence and self-esteem, and grow skills such as team-building and working with others. Learning to play a musical instrument also teaches resilience and patience, as there is no shortcut to competence, just perseverance!
A good example of what music can teach is demonstrated in our Year 7 unit called ‘Find Your Voice’. On one level this is about singing and body percussion, but it is also there to help deal with the performance anxiety many Year 7s have, especially as they are starting a new school. The goal is for them to recognise that music is a subject where there are high expectations, and even though their worries are understandable, they are still encouraged to perform. The quality of the singing is important, and so is building the learner’s confidence, so in future units of study and elsewhere in their life they are better able to cope with similar situations.
As well as learning about music theory, our pupils also learn about the cultural aspect of music and its history. As we learn about different genres of music, we also study the context and diversity of the genres; the place where it was born, the people who created it and the time period. For instance, when studying funk, soul and blues pupils also learn about slavery and segregation. In this way Music is a cross-curricular subject, linking pupils’ learning to many other areas on the timetable.
Student Newsletter #2 – Christmas 2021
We are delighted to share the very first newsletter written by students (and for students) at Ipswich Academy.