Over 80 teachers and delegates gathered on Cyncoed Campus to reflect on how to build strong physical education and school sport communities for 'successful futures'. The event, aimed at Physical Education (PE) teachers, was organised by staff in the Cardiff School of Education and Cardiff School of Sport.
Participants included representatives from primary and secondary schools, FE Colleges, Sport Wales, Educational Achievement Service (EAS), Central South Consortium and training provider Estyn. All had the opportunity to network and share good practice, at a time when the profession faces new challenges.
With the changes taking place in Wales in relation to the Donaldson Review (2016), which champions six 'areas of learning and experience' (AoLE) as the basis for the new Welsh curriculum, the PE profession finds itself in an interesting position.
The current understanding is that PE will now sit within Health and Well-being AoLE. This implies that teachers will, in addition to their current role of providing high quality PE experiences for all pupils, be at the center of a whole new strategy for Health and Well-being.
Key speaker Sarah Powell (CEO of Sport Wales) talked about the work Sport Wales has been carrying out for the last three years on behalf of the Welsh Government, looking at how the concept of Physical Literacy can be used to underpin high quality delivery of PE and school sport programmes. She challenged the delegates to not just continue doing what has always been done but 'dare to be different'.
The second key note from Jason Davies, Senior Lecturer and PGCE Programme Leader for D&T and ICT and commuting, looked at the role of the new Digital Competency Framework (DCF), going through the 3 strands and identifying different opportunities for PE to contribute to its delivery.
The conference also provided delegates with practical professional development opportunities in various alternative and traditional activities that can be incorporated into the PE curriculum.
Throughout the day, 27 workshops were delivered by both Cardiff Met Staff and local schools, such as Cadoxton Primary School, Fitzalan High School, Bassaleg High School, Michaelston Community College, Caerleon Comprehensive School and St Josephs' Roman Catholic, and High school Newport. Mixing practice and theory, the sessions challenged delegates to reflect on pedagogical approaches, learn new techniques, and enhance their knowledge.
During lunch time, an interactive Market Place event hosted 27 stands from Sport National Governing Bodies, external organisations and educational companies. The Market Place gave teachers and delegates an opportunity to discuss and share initiatives, and provided a platform for potential collaboration, support and development.
Julia Longville, Deputy Dean of School of Education at Cardiff Metropolitan University and Interim Vice Chair of Sport Wales, chaired the discussion panel at the end of the day.
She said: 'This was an excellent opportunity for colleagues from across sectors to come together and discuss the importance of engaging young people in physical activity. The wellbeing of our future generations is in the hands of teachers. We must take advantage of the fact that we have a captive audience in our schools and use the opportunity to promote lifelong participation, health and wellbeing'.
The event's success exceeded all expectations. It triggered a long-overdue debate, and by alleviating concerns and encouraging innovation, brought a new wave of optimism.
Fiona Diffey, Secondary PGCE PE Programme Leader, said: 'Moving away from the current traditional games-based model of delivery towards a more holistic approach to PE underpinned by the concept of Physical Literacy, we can insure the whole child remains at the centre of how we plan and deliver lessons. There is a real opportunity to develop pupils who want to be 'active for life''.