The article presents an ethos that I have developed over the course of the various teaching, coaching, mentoring, tutoring and consultancy roles I have undertaken during the past 18 years. The ethos is that high quality Gymnastics in Primary schools is not dependent on the delivery or achievement of any ‘recognised’ Gymnastics skills. By recognised Gymnastics skills, I mean those actions that immediately spring to most people’s minds when they visualise Gymnastics e.g. forward roll, backward roll, headstand, cartwheel and handstand.
Having presented the ethos, the article goes on to reflect upon the wording in the National Curriculum PE Programmes of Study before introducing a model for progression and differentiation that is specific to Educational Gymnastics. The picture accompanying the ‘Principles of Progression’ section shows 6 pupils performing 5 varied and differentiated versions of a v-sit involving wall bars in 3 different ways to demonstrate the range of movement vocabulary that can be generated as a result of exploring just a single basic Gymnastics action in depth.
Before reaching a conclusion, the article also addresses the wide spread lack of confidence among teachers to deliver Curriculum Gymnastics but also my belief that they are the best people for the job. Appreciating that training is therefore key to overcoming the resulting reluctance, the final section details my recommendations for the nature of Gymnastics professional learning that teachers should seek.
My purpose for writing the article was to express the huge potential for learning that exists in Curriculum Gymnastics. By recognising that potential and viewing skills acquisition as only a small part of it, achievement in and through Gymnastics becomes considerably more accessible to teachers and pupils alike.