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Physical Education

Teach me and I will learn, challenge me and I will grow, believe in me and I will succeed.

Our intent in the PE Department is to develop the whole person through physical activity and to encourage lifelong participation in sport and exercise.

Students are encouraged and motivated to realise their full potential through a range of purposeful, yet enjoyable, activities in a challenging environment. Our aim is to help every student progress by developing their skills, fitness and tactical understanding.

A key aim of Physical Education at Hitchin Girls’ School is to meet the individual needs of all students.

Alongside our curriculum, we offer an extensive range of extracurricular clubs, which promote numerous personal qualities and build positive relationships across our school community.

Key Stage 3

The KS3 curriculum offers a broad and balanced selection of activities, which foster students' physical literacy, fitness, leadership, choreographic and performance skills, through a range of invasion, striking and net games, gymnastics (including trampoline gymnastics), athletics (including cross-country running) and dance.

By introducing numerous activities at this stage, we believe that we can offer something for everybody, without losing sight of the need for experiences in a variety of fundamental skills. We encourage all students at this level to take part in individual and team activities, aesthetic appreciation and creative/performance experiences.

Developing enjoyment in physical activity is central to the programme, addressing the needs of all students, whether they are competitive or recreational, in order to help them make informed decisions about their learning pathways in PE at KS4.

The early emphasis in Year 7 is multi-disciplinary and skills-based, with a gradual change of emphasis throughout Years 8 and 9 to nurture leadership, observational, evaluative, tactical and compositional skills.

Students are encouraged to gain a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and set regular targets against an informed assessment process, which tracks their development across all three years. Dialogue about the individual’s progress between students and teachers is actively encouraged. Students are taught in mixed ability tutor groups in Year 7 and are placed in either top or mixed sets in Years 8 and 9.

Curriculum map for Years 7 - 9 PE

Key Stage 4 

All students study Physical Education at KS4, but are encouraged to develop their experiences through different pathways, covering PE at recreational, vocational and academic levels. The pathway will be largely determined by student choice. At KS4 there is a strong emphasis on health and fitness, and the establishing of lifelong habits related to sport and exercise.

The pathways available are as follows:

Students can opt to undertake GCSE Full Course Physical Education (Edexcel). This course enables students to develop their knowledge and understanding of physical activity in relation to a healthy and active lifestyle. The course comprises units on scientific, psychological and socio-cultural aspects, as well as units on physical training, injury and prevention, and health, fitness and well-being. Coupled with the practical component, this pathway enables students to apply a sound theoretical knowledge to their training and sporting requirements, thus developing their overall understanding of sport and physical activity.

Curriculum map for Years 10 & 11 Full Course PE

Students can opt to undertake GCSE Dance (AQA). This course enables students to further their technical and performance skills, their compositional and choreographic experiences and their appreciation of dance through the observation and evaluation of professional companies and their works. (See below for more on GCSE Dance.)

Students can also opt for a leadership pathway, to achieve the Level 1 Sports Leaders Award in Year 10 and the Level 2 Award in Year 11. These highly valuable courses enable students to enhance their organisational and communication skills through basic teaching and coaching, including coaching experiences with younger years and in local primary schools.

Curriculum map for Years 10 & 11 Sports Leaders

Students can also opt to undertake a non-examined route in Physical Education lessons. They are encouraged to gain experiences in a variety of activities and sports, which will enable them to make decisions about lifelong physical activities, through a purely recreational and fitness-based programme (e.g. yoga, Pilates, etc.).

Curriculum map for Years 10 & 11 non-examined PE 

At KS4 we follow: Edexcel 1PE0

GCSE Dance

The aims and rationale of this course are to enable students to:

  • Develop their creative, physical, emotional and intellectual capacity, whatever their previous experience of dance
  • Improve their technical and performance skills
  • Take part in compositional and choreographic experiences
  • Appreciate dance through the observation and evaluation of professional companies and their works
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of choreographic processes and performing skills
  • Develop their ability to critically appraise professional dance works and provide a springboard for engaging in practical tasks

The practical component of the course enables students to study dance by ‘doing’, and the anthology of professional works provides a springboard for creative and engaging practical tasks. The study of the anthology will facilitate the development of students’ skills in performance and choreography as well as broadening their knowledge and understanding of dance, and ability to critically appraise dances of different styles and cultural influences.

Curriculum map for Years 10 & 11 Dance

Key Stage 5

We have a long and successful history of delivering Physical Education at A Level and currently offer GCE PE (OCR). Students are encouraged to develop their performance, training and theoretical skills as well as knowledge to a higher level. The subject is taught across the Hitchin Consortium schools by an experienced, combined team of staff from all three Physical Education departments.

The course takes a multidisciplinary approach, encouraging different methods of enquiry drawn from anatomy and physiology, movement skills, sociocultural studies, exercise physiology, sports psychology and biomechanics.

Students can also opt to undertake additional Sports Leadership Awards at Level 2 and Level 3 in Sixth Form. Both of these are designed to foster a variety of personal and leadership skills in a practical environment. 

At KS5 we follow:  KS5 OCR H555

Curriculum map for Years 12 & 13 PE
Curriculum map for Years 12 & 13 Sports Leaders

Teaching staff

We are a team of seven highly experienced and committed professionals, who are dedicated to providing opportunities through physical activity and sport in curriculum time and also in extracurricular activities. We pride ourselves on the diversity of teaching styles that enable us to deliver an enjoyable and well-balanced programme. We recognise the need for a safe and disciplined teaching environment, but strongly encourage the development of the students’ independent learning and thinking skills.

Mrs Caroline Gales - Head of Department (maternity leave)

Miss Hanna Shaw - Acting Head of Department 

Miss Hayley Connolly (maternity leave)

Miss Sophie Froud

Miss Jo Jacobs

Mrs Laura Johnson

Miss Jessica O'Leary

Mrs Barbara Sayers

Extracurricular activities

The Physical Education department is fully committed to developing a student’s potential, participation levels and enjoyment through an extensive extracurricular programme that takes place at lunchtimes, after school and on some weekends.

This includes a number of recreational club activities, team practices and training, and a weekly recreational inter-House league. Students are able to take part at either a recreational or competitive level in a wide range of activities, and are encouraged to join at least one sports club per week - although many opt to take part in more.

We run teams and take part in fixtures in most of the sports undertaken as extracurricular activities, with students performing at county, regional and national level in a number of sports. We also actively encourage and support those who take part in sports not covered by the clubs programme. We aim to develop links with local clubs to facilitate post-school involvement, with many of our students acting as ambassadors for these community clubs.

Clubs exist at all levels and for all years in netball, hockey, football, badminton, basketball, trampoline, athletics, rounders and tennis. There are also three tiers of gymnastics, plus rhythmic gymnastics clubs and a further five clubs for dance. Clubs are organised and coached by experienced teachers and also by senior student leaders. 

Within school, we organise an annual gymnastics competition, a sports day and a gym and dance display, as well as a number of smaller charity events involving sport and exercise. Sports tours have been well attended over the last few years, with our students gaining experience against international opposition.