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Developing Character through Sport

Physical Education lessons, like our School community, are a true melting pot of interests, beliefs, aptitudes and opinions. We celebrate this in our lessons through a broad and varied curriculum, with a purposeful slant towards Character Education. We strongly advocate that Physical Education is much more than simply ‘playing sport’ and that it is a supportive vehicle to societal flourishing.

From a sporting sense, it is well documented that elite athletes who measure success through intrinsic factors (such as effort, displaying character virtues, experiencing personal growth, rising to the challenge) rather than extrinsic factors (medals, prize money), feel less depleted and have more positive fulfillment and pride. In turn, this motivation energises an athlete to commit to being the best version of themselves, more often; exactly what we aspire our pupils and students to be.

In the same way athletes train to enhance muscular strength, through conscious planned attention and practice, exercised regularly and consistently, muscles become stronger and we are able to rely on our capabilities when the pressure is on. The Physical Education curriculum aims to harness character strength, where practise becomes permanent and we flourish as model citizens.

We purposefully invite pupils and students to practise character virtues by putting every young person outside of their comfort zone practically and socially. By recognising the individual who runs the slowest but does not give up, the individual who stops to help advise a peer where they went wrong, or the individual who puts their hand out first to shake their opponents hand at the end of a game, our pupils and students recognise that PE is far from just ‘being good’ at sport, and encourages modelling good sportspersonship and teamwork.

Sport provides the opportunity to teach young people what good character looks and feels like, and how it can impact success and teamwork. Through our commitment to demonstrate this in our lessons, pupils and students are then able to apply these qualities to other areas of their lives, inspiring the next generation of citizens who will flourish in society.

What we do

We provide explicit opportunities for leadership to encourage young people to make decisions and empower pupils and students to understand when a decision is right or wrong and to get them to reflect on the impact this has on others. In years 10 and 11 this term, pupils have embarked on a Leadership Pathway and achieved the Level 1 Sports Leaders UK Award in conjunction with the charity Sport4Life.

We also work with organisations such as they YST (Youth Sports Trust) and their Girls Active Programme, and University Sports Clubs to seek further leadership opportunities in our community. Consequently, not only are our pupils and students practicing their civic virtues – we are ensuring that as an organisation, they are being virtuous by sharing our wisdom, kindness and generosity in the local area.

Sport at University of Birmingham School is bright, and we are really excited to see where the future takes us.

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