Welcome Back! Our next Parent Event will be on Wednesday 3rd July. This will be an opportunity to meet with senior leaders to chat about the school year and celebrate. There are also a number of pathway events coming up - look out for the invitations to these!
Home Page

Oaklands School

Building Foundations for Fulfilling Futures

Home Page

Oaklands School

Building Foundations for Fulfilling Futures

Physical Development

The curriculum and strategies used to support development of

physical development (PD) skills.

What learning looks like in Willow pathway within this AoL:

  • Physical development circuit sessions, sensory movement breaks and breaktime play are structured to help Willow children to develop self-awareness and confidence in sharing space in school
  • These sessions also encourage and support interaction with the world around them.
  • All Willow PD sessions  support children to explore through sensory experiences as many are most motivated by sensory learning
  • Planned PE sessions progressively build up complexity of movement and demand on sharing space and teamwork over the year 
  • There is a wide spread of physical skills acquisition across the pathway so  motor skills development  will be highly differentiated by class and often by child. e.g. fine motor skills are well established for some and so independent cutting etc. will be woven into non-PD sessions; however, others will have poorer hand eye coordination and under-developed grip
  • Children in Willow will access climbing apparatus with support or independently

What learning looks like in Elm pathway within this AoL:

  • Elm PE lessons are more structured than in Willow. There will still be some child-led learning especially in outdoor learning; however, more challenge and teamwork opportunities will be built into PE lessons.
  • Elm children may need bespoke support in developing fine motor skills to support good grip & tool use (cutlery; writing tools etc.) so that they can be more independent
  • In general,  Elm children will have good fine and gross motor skills so they can be taught team games and to use a wide range of apparatus
  • Children in Elm should be independent in following a circuit in PE
  • Yoga has been introduced in small groups and children are engaged and joining in using video (Cosmic Kids) and trained staff input
  • The climbing frame is used for children to attempt to climb, rather than explore space at bottom to develop their strength  and resilience
  • Team games support children's developing self-awareness and awareness of others 
  • Movement sessions and sensory breaks are planned in part to develop core strength to support good attention skills 
  • Planned PE sessions have linked outdoor learning consolidation sessions
  • The Mastery learning approach is used and pupils are encouraged to watch their peers, comment on their skills and celebrate each other's efforts, building social skills through this

What learning looks like in Cherry pathway within this AoL:

  • Structured PE sessions develop team work, strength and a healthy attitude towards exercise
  • Children are encouraged to change for sessions independently
  • The climbing frame and other apparatus around school is utilised to support development of a range of PD skills
  • There are planned opportunities to develop fine motor skills at Oakey Boost and golden time sessions, and bespoke support for those who have under-developed grip etc.
  • Yoga is offered every afternoon 
  • PD sessions and planned play interaction that focuses on team games develop self-awareness, awareness of others and key social skills such as how to accept winning & losing
  • Movement sessions are planned in part to develop core strength to support good attention skills
  • Encouraging pupils to watch their peers and cheer them on develops pupils’ peer play and teamwork skills
  • Positive adult modelling of effort and fun during PE sessions develops pupils’ understanding of how to have a healthy life
  • Planned PE sessions have linked outdoor learning consolidation

  • The Mastery learning approach is used and opportunities for communication built into the 'Your Turn ' part of lessons

Strategies and teaching tools used to support development of physical development skills: 

We have established an outline programme with flexible content that meets the core learning objectives we believe will support children to develop essential skills and behaviours, culminating each Summer in team games & sports. 

  • Dance Unit
  • Vestibular & Proprioception Unit
  • Circuits Unit (Balance & strength)
  • Striking & Kicking Unit
  • Running & Travelling Unit
  • Games Unit
  • Skills consolidation Unit
  • Individual sports units


  • PD Circuits: The targeted approach was introduced around three clear 'zones’ of movement and sensory input. Sensory Circuits are targeted around children’s needs in terms of vestibular and proprioception input but also in terms of throwing, catching, jumping and this helps with some children’s sensory differences. Circuits also have a calming section which helps with the children reflecting and getting ready to transition back to class. Circuits are delivered for 20-30 minutes a week and are adapted by teachers to ensure they are matched to children’s strengths and developmental needs. Staff have been guided by OTs and SALT to create sensory circuits that are bespoke to meet our children’s needs and offer personalised support within a group session. Sensory need-based circuits are advocated by many Occupational Therapists.
  • Dough Disco: Dough disco involves moulding play dough in time to music and performing different actions such as rolling it into a ball, flattening it, putting each individual finger into the dough, rolling it into a sausage and squeezing it. This  exercise for the fingers is designed to improve fine motor control and gross motor skills. Children and adults need to have strong muscles in their hands to enable them to write effectively. Doing these simple, fun exercises will help our children prepare for writing. Children at Oaklands have the opportunity to partake in this daily if they require the extra support to improve their fine motor control. Dough Disco is used in some classes as the transition cue to literacy lessons.
  • Yoga: Yoga and mindfulness have been shown to improve both physical and mental health in school-age children. Yoga improves balance, strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity in children. Yoga and mindfulness offer psychological benefits for children and a growing body of research suggests that yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and classroom behaviour, and can even reduce anxiety and stress in children. At Oaklands, children have the option of daily Yoga and mindfulness sessions that use Cosmic Yoga videos or trained staff to improve their balance and strength as well as improving focus, self-esteem and reducing anxiety.

Other strategies include:

  • Climbing Frame & other playground apparatus
  • Structured PE lessons differentiated across pathways
  • Swimming
  • Fine Motor Skills Curriculum

Resources, training & CPD for staff & families:

  • The Association for Physical Education is useful for everything related to physical development, and has lots of useful blogs and research papers on their website. 
  • AfPE Swim England’s Website Everything you need for Primary Swimming lessons as well as the Swim Awards we follow.
  • YST (Youth Sports Trust) has lots of great resources for SEND PE lessons. We have a log in as a school Inclusion resources - Youth Sport Trust


see staff share & OneDrive CPD folders: Planning and advice guides linked to PE, Outdoor Learning, Gross and Fine Motor Skills

Supporting Physical Development in Early Childhood

Strengths we celebrate about teaching & learning within this AoL:


  • Structured PE lessons have helped to develop children’s gross motor skills, listening, attention and engagement skills.
  • Yoga is being implemented across the school and is beginning to show an improvement in children’s engagement, flexibility and listening skills.
  • Swimming sessions for YR6’s are giving the children a chance to learn to swim, develop their engagement and interaction with PE sessions.
  • Children are more active across the school within the first few weeks of physical development sessions such as PE or PD circuits than they were at the start of the year.
  • Trampette in calm rooms and classrooms help with children’s gross motor skills and their regulation skills.

Areas for development & refining within this AoL:


  • ‘Sensory Circuit’ training for new staff (following the school's expansion)
  • PE curriculum planning could be refined further now children are in pathways that are better suited to them. Units for Stages 1-5 need to be more defined 
  • Implementation of Yoga across the school with SITs team monitoring and evaluating across the year.
  • Expenditure on Scooters and Bikes for playgrounds for children to be more active at outdoor learning and lunchtime.