United Teaching Blog

Why train to teach P.E?


There has never been a more important time to join the PE profession. Research tells us that children’s already-low levels of physical activity have dropped by almost 2% since 2018 and that both children and their parents are reporting an increase in mental health issues for young people. Physical Education and school sport have a crucial role to play in redressing these declines.

A high quality PE experience will enable young people to grow in confidence and competence in all four of the domains in which PE can have a positive influence: physical, cognitive, affective and social. Being a PE teacher provides the opportunity to be a force for good in the lives of young people; to be a positive role model for sport and physical activity, the impact of which may be immediate or may not be obvious for years to come. It is a true privilege to be a PE teacher – and it is a huge responsibility. Helping young people to progress in their PE-specific skills, knowledge and understanding is extremely rewarding, but when you support children in applying that learning and those attributes into their wider academic and home lives you begin to appreciate the transformative effect that a PE teacher can have on young lives.


One of our recent graduates describes his experience:


“One question that I often ask myself is ‘What has been the meaningful outcome to the PE lesson?’. This academic year has taught me within each group, the perception of each child is unlikely to be aligned. Forming relationships with each student has fundamentally allowed me to check for their understanding at each juncture. My striking take-away to the importance of relationship building was during a Monday morning Period 2 Year 8 PE lesson.


Our scheme of work was to investigate and the energy systems in the human body. This is traditionally  delivered with a practical in which students experience differing heart rate levels and are able to make a valid assessment. Upon entry to the changing room, one boy broke down in tears when he heard what the topic was. My assumption was that he felt uncomfortable about using the treadmills and other cardio vascular equipment in the gym. Given this was in the initial stages of the year, the understanding of his reaction wasn’t so easy to establish. It transpired that he had a significant fear of getting changed in the presence of his peers as he has a low self-esteem and feeling about his body image, as he has been unable to look after himself as he has been supporting his sole carer, his mother, as she is undergoing treatment for a terminal illness.


To support his development I enlisted him to be my teaching assistant (where his learning was enhanced) and he helped me deliver the rationale behind the energy systems to his peers. Subconsciously he gained a new level of self-respect and self-assurance, where he now changes unconditionally for other PE lessons and actively tries to engage on every task. I have since received a message from his mother who said  “Thank you, you really have changed his outlook on physical activity, I haven’t seen him this happy before”. Teaching really does have the power to change people’s lives.” United Teaching trainee


To start your ITT course with United Teaching, you will need a degree in a sports related field, or experience in coaching children alongside an unrelated degree.


To find out more about training with us, take a look here. If you would like to see what other teaching experiences are like, then our blog has all the information you need.



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