Physical Education in RMT schools
Physical education (PE) gives all students opportunities to develop their physical skills and to apply those skills in different situations. It also enables personal and group achievements to be acknowledged. Movement and physical activities are an integral part of our schools’ day.
Physical education at the RMT schools is delivered through non- traditional techniques. This is due to the complex needs of the students attending the school. However, at a minimum, every student has at least one session within their weekly timetable where physical activity is the primary aim.
The curriculum in our schools is predominately movement based, with a 60% outdoor and craft curriculum, with sports facilities in our schools and in the community being accessed throughout the school week. For many students PE has been difficult in the past due to a number of reasons. At our schools, we aspire to remove those obstacles while ensuring that students have enough opportunities to engage in physical activity. We understand movement very much in its therapeutic context and staff are aware that for many student’s proprioceptive stimulation is a necessity to be able to self-regulate. This understanding is fostered with ongoing staff training by Occupational Therapists and therapeutic movement practitioners.
Physical education is embedded within Ruskin Mill schools applying the model of Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE) and is primarily delivered as outdoor learning. Students develop gross and fine motor skills, and are encouraged to engage in physically demanding activities through Horticulture, craft, food production and artistic activities.
Physical Education through the Curriculum
Our curriculum supports students to develop increasingly complex skills and physical movements in crafts such as textiles, green woodwork and pottery as they work with a wide range of materials and processes. Students access a range of equipment which develops coordination and control.
The curriculum includes opportunities for work in the garden and in animal care through a range of physical activities with access to tools and equipment. This always involves learning to stay safe. Students engage in activities linked to seasonal processes. Horticulture activities aim to develop fitness, balance and agility.
Students take part in rhythmic activities and artistic expression through dance and drama, seasonal celebrations and storytelling. They develop increasingly complex sequences of movement and an understanding of physiological changes throughout exercise.
As part of PSHE lessons, students develop social skills through collaborative physical games and activities which aim to support teamwork, self-esteem and co-ordination.
Physical education delivered through PSTE aims to support students in their understanding of physical health, behaviour, sensory regulation, mental health and wellbeing. Therapists support the development of activities in line with pupil needs.
Students access the local leisure centres to develop confidence in a range of swimming strokes and awareness of water safety.
Students are encouraged to take part in rambling activities in a range of environments to develop understanding of local geography.
Occupational Therapy and Physical Education
RMT ensures that schools have access to OT support so that PE can be underpinned by OT input. We adapt and tailor Physical Education exercises to each student depending of their needs. The OT provides consultation to staff members, and shares the students’ sensory diets with all staff, so PE includes exercises that promote the students’ physical education activities. The OT, where appropriate, provides all staff with a sensory pen portrait, so staff are aware of what activities can be overstimulating or calming, with the idea of promoting a positive engagement throughout activities with a calming end.
The OT sensory diet uses everyday activities for therapeutic purposes, while they are also adjusted for physical education exercises that are appropriate for each child and young person with sensory integration difficulties.
Where we have students that are visibly impaired, Rebound Therapy can be run weekly. This develops the sensory and vestibular awareness of the individual.