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Levelling the playing field: the physical education subject report

Teenage girls playing basketball in a sports hall

For many pupils, physical education (PE) will be the first and only place where they are taught safe, efficient and intelligent movement. In PE, pupils are also taught important health-related knowledge to help them make informed decisions about how to live a healthy, active life. When taught well, high-quality PE challenges myths, misconceptions and ingrained inequalities that can limit participation for all. In addition to timetabled PE lessons, schools also offer extracurricular experiences that can provide additional time for high-quality instruction, practice and feedback to increase pupils’ competence and confidence in PE, physical activity and sport.

This report evaluates the common features of PE in 25 primary schools and 25 secondary schools visited between November 2022 and June 2023. It identifies strengths and areas for development in how pupils are taught the subject. It builds on OFSTED’s physical education research review, which was published last year.