More than 200 University of Aberdeen postgraduate students on the Professional Graduate Diploma in Primary Education (PGDE) course gathered at the King's Pavilion Playing Fields on Wednesday 17 August to attend an Active Schools event.
Through continued effective partnership working between Active Schools Aberdeen and University of Aberdeen, the day was organised with the purpose of upskilling the next generation of Primary school teachers – building their confidence in the delivery of physical education (PE).
Two group sessions were planned and organised by Active Schools Coordinator Cameron Robinson – a morning session from 1000 to 1230 and an afternoon session from 1300 to 1530. These were delivered by Active Schools Coordinators from across the city, supported by staff from University of Aberdeen.
The students took part in different sporting activities including touch rugby, football, hockey, athletics and circuits, learned about the practicalities of delivering PE in a classroom environment, and were given a platform to ask questions before going on placement.
This complements the work of the Physical Education, Physical Activity and School Sport (PEPASS) group, consisting of representatives from Aberdeen City Council’s Integrated and Family Services and the Sport and Leisure industry, with the shared goal of improving the quality and access to sport and physical activity.
Kim McRobbie, Active Schools Inclusion Manager, said: “PE is a crucial part of the primary school curriculum, having a positive impact on children’s physical health and emotional wellbeing.
“It’s great to play our part in helping future teachers to develop the fundamental skills and be confident when teaching PE through our successful partnership working with University of Aberdeen.
“It’s alarming to see and hear how negative past experiences of PE have stayed with students and teachers into adulthood. Our role is to inspire them to change this for the next generation of school children.
“One student commented that they hated PE at school which made them nervous about the event… but by the end of the day, they said they loved it! Everyone took part in every activity, seeing that sport is for all.
“I’d like to give a huge thanks to Active Schools Coordinator Cameron Robinson for his responsibility in organising the day, and Alyson Young, Programme Director for the PGDE programme. We look forward to building on this partnership going forward.”
Alyson Young, PGDE (Primary) Programme Director at University of Aberdeen, said: “The School of Education at the University of Aberdeen has been working closely with Active Schools Aberdeen and the PEPASS group for a number of years and now that the PGDE (Primary) Programme has returned to campus we were very keen to give our students some practical experiences of PE before they embark on their first placement.
“I think it's fair to say that a lot of fun was had by students and staff alike! Participation and engagement by students was extremely high, with many talking about how this practical experience gave them more confidence and changed their perceptions of what PE would be like. It was also great to hear students reflecting on their experiences and asking challenging questions, particularly about inclusion.
“What a great opportunity to develop and understand skills and attitudes in physical activity and PE for a new generation of primary teachers. A huge thanks to everyone involved and we can't wait to do it again soon!"
Ian McGregor, Partnership Manager at sportscotland, said: “Sport and physical activity has a huge role to play in young people’s development and that’s why it’s so important that the experience they have at school is a positive one.
“This partnership between Active Schools Aberdeen and University of Aberdeen is a fantastic way to upskill the teachers of the future and give them the confidence they need to provide young people with more and better opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity.”
Looking ahead, Active Schools and University of Aberdeen are planning a similar session with the HWB course in the 2nd year of the MA in Education Programme (the 4-year undergraduate programme) and in the second semester of the PGDE(P) programme.