March 11

6 Features of an Outstanding Primary PE Scheme of Work

With an ever-increasing number of Primary PE Schemes of Work available to schools and organisations, selecting the right one which works for you and your children can be a difficult decision.

Within our years of Primary PE Consultancy, we have worked with 100’s of schools, many of which had PE Schemes of Work which were not fit for purpose.

These Schemes not only did very little to support teachers and coaches with a high-quality PE Curriculum but also gave many children a potentially irreversible, negative experience of PE.

In this post you will learn the 6 essential elements of the best Primary PE Schemes of Work ... that make lessons easy to plan for and teach, meet National Curriculum and OFSTED requirements - and are fun and impactful for the students learning from them.

1. An Outstanding Primary PE Scheme of Work is Easy to Use and Access ...

An Outstanding Primary PE Scheme of Work is Easy to Use and Access

Teaching 20+ lessons a week is demanding and time is precious.

Teaching and coaching in a Primary School pulls you in all sorts of different directions during the school day, so the Scheme of Work you choose is important.

Primary PE is an essential component of the Primary National Curriculum but time within our school days being so precious and with fluctuating confidence levels in the teaching of the subject across the school staff, an easy-to-use PE Scheme of Work is essential.

You and your colleagues need a PE Scheme that provides easy access to a ready-made, high-quality Curriculum platform which is simple and effective to use.

When you are selecting a Primary PE Scheme of Work for your school, make sure that it has the following:

  • Quick Login - all your staff can access your school or organisation’s Curriculum platform on a laptop, mobile phone or tablet through their own unique login.
  • Year groups - the Curriculum is separated into Year groups making it a quick process to find and access the content suitable for your class.
  • Concise lesson plans - you don’t have the time to scroll through reams of planning, our lesson plans (teacher notes) provide a clear scaffold to support the teaching of high-quality Primary PE.
  • Revisit Learning - you don’t need something new every lesson, learning is revisited and layered to encourage a Mastery approach. This promotes depth of learning and saves teachers countless hours of unnecessary planning and preparation!
  • Lesson videos - each Unit has 3 short lesson videos to show you and your children what learning could look like, this also promotes consistency across your  school.
  • Impactful PE Assessment - no long assessment processes for you and your staff, capture what will actually make an impact on pupil engagement and progress in an easy to use format.

“The Beyond the Physical PE Scheme is so easy to use, it’s quick to navigate and if for whatever reason I am out of school I know I can hand over the learning in a simple way. The videos provide all staff with a model of what the learning can look like. It’s incredibly inclusive, I can adapt for SEND pupils and engagement levels are so high!” 

Mr Raines - Moorlands School

2. Do Your PE Units of Work Meet the Aims of the National Curriculum?

National curriculum PE KS1 and KS2

PE is a compulsory part of the National Curriculum for all primary school children. This begins with children in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) being taught important knowledge about building gross and fine motor skills.

While academies are not required to teach the National Curriculum, they must teach a curriculum that is at least as broad and ambitious.

Unfortunately, “Many schools do not match the ambition of the national curriculum.” (Ofsted PE Subject Report, Sept 2023)

PE is not just about getting students active; it's a fundamental component of their holistic development. When it comes to Primary PE, ensuring that your chosen PE Scheme of Work is tightly interwoven with the National Curriculum is not just important—it's imperative.

You should ensure any PE Scheme of Work you use to support your PE Curriculum covers all the aims and subject content stated in the National Curriculum across all Key Stages.

““We know, as a school, that by using Beyond the Physical’s Scheme of work we have complete coverage of the National Curriculum in all year groups.” 

Headteacher - Primary School in Leeds, UK

3. Will Your Primary PE Curriculum Develop the Whole Child?

Best Primary PE Scheme of Work

There is a reason we called our organisation 'Beyond the Physical'...

We know that Primary PE schemes of work should not solely focus on children being successful physically, because, as our name suggests, there is so much more to explore!

Primary PE lessons should also improve your children’s cognitive, social and emotional understanding for themselves and others around them.

It is vital that within your PE lessons you are allowing children to have the opportunity to learn and be successful with these different domains.

Success in Primary PE cannot be achieved and measured by physical skills alone.
PE Schemes of Work should identify clear learning intentions and objectives in each lesson which focus on the different holistic domains.

Our way of keeping this simple is to structure the success criteria within our PE lessons in three categories – MOVE, SOLVE, CONNECT.

This allows children to focus on and have success within different learning domains. These also link to our PE Assessment tool.

Move - the Physical Domain. What are pupils learning and working towards within their physical learning? This is linked to the appropriate developmental stage. Beyond the Physical PE Scheme of Work is designed to enable all pupils to access learning at a level that is suitable for their individual needs. This means ALL pupils can make rapid and sustained progress!

Solve - the Cognitive Domain. PE presents unique learning opportunities to engage in higher order thinking skills. For example, in our learning theme WATCH, MOVE, CONNECT pupils need to work together to come up with strategies and communicate how they will create ‘3 in a row’. Problem solving, strategy and identifying areas for development are all key skills we can teach and assess in Primary PE.

Connect - the Affective Domain. PE can develop and foster positive peer to peer and peer to teacher relationships. Primary PE presents an ideal opportunity for the development of Key life skills such as conflict resolution, teamwork and communication.

Within our Beyond the Physical Scheme of Work we have created units specifically for children to learn more about those often hidden areas of PE such as creating rules, playing fairly and having respect for opponents.

"DUEL, WIN, LOSE is one of my favourite units to teach as the children now more than ever, need to learn how to play against each other in a fair and respectable manner and accept they may sometimes win and may sometimes lose. "

Mr Oates - St Augustines Primary School, UK

4. Does Your PE Scheme Provide Flexibility and Autonomy for Those Delivering it?

Free Primary PE Schemes of Work

Teacher autonomy is hugely important - and it can be difficult to achieve when implementing a Primary PE scheme of work.

While Schemes of Work provide a structured outline of what needs to be taught - 'how they are taught' is where teacher autonomy is important.

Firstly, teachers possess a nuanced understanding of their pupils’ needs and abilities - they spend a lot of time with their pupils and have incredible relationships with their class.

Therefore it is essential that the scheme isn’t too prescriptive - to the point the above advantages are stifled.

The framework must allow for the opportunity to teach the children in front of you.

Your year 4 class is not the same as the year 4 class at the neighbouring
school, nor will they make the same progress or develop in the same way.

The Primary PE Scheme we recommend at Beyond the Physical, is a mastery-focused curriculum - so we encourage you to stay on the same activity for a longer period of time and adapt that activity rather than move on to something else. 

Our Scheme provides suggestions of how learning activities can be adapted to suit the needs of your children.

To do this yourself, utilise the STEP principle to adapt; challenge the pupils to be creative and have ownership of their learning and most importantly use your own knowledge and expertise to explore ideas you feel may work for your children.

5. Do PE Lessons Enable Children to Learn and Master Key Knowledge, Skills and Understanding?

Best free primary PE scheme of work

Primary PE Schemes of Work should clearly define the intended learning outcomes for children.

They should clearly explain what they should know, understand, and be able to do by the end of each lesson or unit. 

These outcomes should be clear and challenging yet attainable. 

With Beyond the Physical’s Scheme of Work, each unit is based around three key words. These words fundamentally make up the key learning outcomes to be achieved by the children.

For example, in our LOOK, RUN, AVOID unit, children will learn how to use their eyes to look for space, move into it safely and avoid others around them.

Having a full unit based around the three key words also allows children to have the maximum opportunity to gain some mastery in their learning. 

If we only focused on looking and finding space for one lesson and the next lesson focused on passing a ball using our hands we are not given children enough time to go deep in their learning and really master the skill of finding space ...

... which is an essential skill not just for a wide range of sports but for everyday life tasks.

“‘Having three key words to focus on during the unit of work makes the learning so much clearer for the children in my class and they can always remember what we are focusing on’ 

Miss Smith - Christ the King Primary, Leeds, UK

6. An Outstanding Primary PE Scheme of Work is Inclusive of All Children

Your PE Scheme of Work should not have a one size fits all approach.

We know every child and school across the country is very different, so what works for you in your context might be completely different to someone else - even if they are in the school across the road!

However, a highly effective PE Scheme of Work should account for the diverse needs and abilities of children and provide suitable activities which will place the children at the heart of their learning.

It should provide opportunities for adaptive teaching, allowing all students to participate and progress according to their individual strengths and interests.

An effective model used within our Primary PE Scheme of Work is the STEP Model.

STEP Stands for ... Space - Task - Equipment - People

The STEP Model is explained further at

Those teaching PE can use this model as an approach to adapt the learning activity to meet the needs of the children in front of them.

These adaptations should be purposeful, building upon previously acquired skills, allowing students to develop their abilities gradually and consistently to gain some element of mastery in what they are learning.

By using this approach it allows all children to access the learning at the level that is right for them.

They can take ownership of which size ball to use or how big to make their playing area, whatever is appropriate for them at that moment in time.

Congratulations! ... You now know how to evaluate your own Primary PE Scheme of Work - or find one which will meet the needs of your school, its students and other external stakeholders like Ofsted ...

Can I offer you the chance to test drive our own Primary PE Scheme of Work, completely free for 14 days? 

Finding Primary PE Scheme of Work that have all these elements can be challenging.


Many hours can be lost searching for and testing, plans, lessons and assessment - to find the right one. 

Can we offer an alternative?

>> Click Here to get Full Access to our Primary PE Scheme of Work - Free - for 14 Days! <<

Try our Primary PE Scheme of work free for 14 days


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