Since the UK won the right to host the London 2012 Games, teachers and school leaders responsible for PE and school sport across the UK have been working with the Olympic and Paralympic Values and the inspiration of the Games to transform their school’s PE and sport programmes. We have seen countless examples of innovative and creative projects that have not only increased participation in sport and physical activity but have also had a positive impact right across the school. This holds true for primary, secondary and special schools:

‘When I mention the Games the boys sit up and listen. They think it’s completely different to anything they have experienced before and they are eager to find out more…and these are students who don’t want to learn, who don’t even want to be in school.’ (Head, Greenhill Special School.)

‘They really encourage us to take part in sport as it’s so good for you and a lot of fun as well. I’m definitely doing more now and am getting fitter.’ (Year 3 pupil)

‘There’s a divide between people who want to come to school and those who don’t. For those who don’t have the incentive to learn to do well at their GCSEs, there’s more to come to school for, as it’s not boring anymore … you’re being asked what you want to learn, how you want to learn, what you’re not strong at, if you want to make a competition out of it. You’re given a choice and so you’re more willing to do things.’ (Secondary school pupil.)

Here are just some of the ways PE, sport and the Values have contributed significantly to participation and school improvement so far:

Why not try some of these ideas yourself?

  • Use the inspiration of the Games and the Values to help students set their own targets for improving their performance in PE, sport and overall fitness levels.

Recognise and reward their successes and encourage them to set personal targets (or new personal bests) for other areas of school life e.g. being determined to improve in a favourite subject, committing to being more respectful to peers and staff or finding the courage to face up to something they find difficult, perhaps by working on it with a friend etc. Some Get Set schools introduced a ‘Values Passport’ where students received a ‘stamp’ each time they demonstrated one of the Values in PE/sport. This proved to be highly motivating for all students, but especially those at risk of disengagement or under achievement. In schools where the passport, (or a similar Values-based reward and recognition system) was seen to be especially popular with students other subjects departments also joined in.

  • Build on the success and inspiration of the London 2012 Games by introducing new kinds of sports that the students may have seen during London 2012 but have never tried themselves such as Handball, Goalball or Boccia.

You will find help and support for introducing these sports to students of all ages in our suggested classroom activities which can be found in the resources area. The activity ideas are designed to provide opportunities for students to take responsibility for certain aspects of the sessions; to develop leadership skills and an understanding of the importance of the Values in sport and other areas of school life. Many Get Set schools took the opportunity to introduce their students to Paralympic sports like Boccia or Wheelchair Basketball, and encouraged them to focus on the Paralympic Values. They found that not only were the students more engaged with sport itself but they had also gained a deeper respect for disabled athletes and for people in the community with disabilities.

  • Use the Values and the inspiration of global sporting events to introduce the non-performance aspects of sport such as leading and supporting, officiating or coaching.

Get Set schools that offered opportunities for students to become leaders and ambassadors found that confidence and motivation increased, along with communication, presentation and organisational skills, and that these skills can in turn have a positive impact on student achievement across the board. You will find ideas and guidance for encouraging leadership and other ‘soft skills’ in many of our classroom activities resources.

  • See the Values and the power of sport as an opportunity to forge new friendships and partnerships with other schools in your area.

Numerous brilliant sports, enterprise and cultural events incorporating the Values have so far been run by Get Set schools. They told us that their students frequently took on new challenges in terms of leading and taking significant responsibility for special events that included other local schools and members of the wider community. Why not ask your pupils to help you organise and run a festival or other special Values-led event in your school or community?

  • Strengthen your links with local sports clubs and use their specialist coaches and expertise to work with the students.

Talk to any coaches and volunteers you’re keen to work with about the importance of keeping the Values at the heart of all their activities.

  • Encourage and support students to set up and attend new school sports or fitness clubs.

Use the Values to create a mission statement for the new club e.g. that it will be open and accessible for all abilities; all members must show mutual respect and friendship and be determined to improve their fitness levels.

  • The evidence from Get Set schools shows that students of all ages and abilities are inspired by Olympic and Paralympic athletes and see them as positive role models.

Schools that arranged for an athlete to visit them to support the students with their Games and Values-related activities found this to be a powerful force for raising aspiration and achievement – not just in PE but across a range of subjects and also in terms of positive behaviour. Although not quite as powerful as a personal visit from an athlete, the stories and information in the athletes resources can be used to stimulate discussion about the Values and to encourage the students to set themselves new targets and to try new things.