By John Callender, Head of PHE & First Aid Lead


As John F Kennedy once said:

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity”.

At ICS, this statement summarises our purpose and aim for students in our Physical Health and Education programme. It is one the key building blocks and cornerstones that completes a student’s curriculum. We aim to provide a culture that breeds success, achievement, challenge, team spirit and community.

You might ask “Why PHE and not PE?”

In the IB curriculum, PE is PHE, or in other words, Physical Education is Physical Health and Education. The key component here is the focus on Health through Physical Education not Physical Education just to play games.

 “Isn’t PHE just about students playing, having fun and getting out of the classroom to destress and unwind?”

 Yes and no. We are, of course, committed to students enjoying themselves in PHE, however the IB stipulates that students in MYP5 produce an ePortfolio of work that is 15 pages of research accompanied by a 3 minute video based on their performance.

 The structure of the MYP PHE programme is 75% theory (written work) and 25% practical (performance/playing). Therefore, we need to ensure that we produce students who can engage with the knowledge and understanding about a unit of work, planning and applying this knowledge to enhance their performance and are able to reflect and improve their performance.

“What does assessment look like in PHE?”

Students are assessed across four distinct areas:

Criterion A Knowing and understanding
Criterion B Planning for Performance
Criterion C Applying and Performing
Criterion D Reflecting and Improving Performance

As you can see, the journey that students make is not quite as simple as going to the sports hall and having fun!

This year we have experimented with assessing students in video for Criterion A, B and D, like we do in C, so the focus isn’t solely on written work, however we are mindful students need to be able to prepare for the ePortfolio. We use a mixture of formative and summative assessment to track students progress.

“So are students sitting down for 75% of the time?”

 No we try and engage students through practical work at least 75% of the time which is probably putting students at disadvantage to performing in the written criteria, however we are aware of the need for them to let off steam in PHE.

“What teaching methods and pedagogy do you use in the department?”

 A normal PHE lesson starts with a warm up, the main content, and tasks to engage students to enable them to fulfill their potential by meeting all the assessment criteria, whilst being mindful we are aiming to create decent, functioning human beings who will contribute to society in a positive manner. Tasks are a mixture of teacher, student led and guided discovery and some lessons are flipped where students complete homework to prepare for next lesson.

“What do students study during each year?”

 At MYP1 students are introduced to the concepts of healthy lifestyles, and engage with units of work based on dance, this year students learnt the dance Thriller based on the song and popular music video.  Students also learnt how to play tag rugby, game creation, athletics and rounders.

Their learning continues and develops in MYP2 and 3 where students engage with units of work that are focused on Volleyball, Circuit Training, Acro-gymnastics, badminton, First Aid, Athletics and Rounders.

As students enter MYP4 and MYP5 students complete the following units of work Basketball, Badminton, Futsal, Issues in Sport, Volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Athletics, Rounders and produce an ePortolio of work.

These units of work are focused around key and related concepts, a global context, and a  statement of inquiry. Physical and health education focuses on both learning about and learning through physical activity. Both dimensions help students to develop approaches to learning (ATL) skills across the curriculum.

 “Where do students do PHE and how do they get there?”

Students take the school bus to Little Venice Sports Center where we have access to a sports hall. It is a short 5 - 10 minute bus ride on average.  When the weather permits and we don’t have too much equipment we walk to PHE lessons which is roughly 10 minutes. During the summer we use Paddington Recreation Ground, using the track for athletics and sports day. We use Hyde Park for rounders, and have used it for Discovery running and other games

 “What other sporting achievements has the school celebrated?”

Our boys and girls football teams have competed this year in local football tournaments with our boys reaching the final against rival international schools. For the second year running, students have been entered into House groups and compete against other houses across the school and all year groups. This has been very successful and popular with students, which has seen our first House Badminton Tournament this Christmas. This year students will be travelling with the PHE department to Vigo, Spain to complete in the NACE summer olympics, as well as our own summer sports day which is hugely successful.

We are focused within the PHE Department to inspire a culture that breeds healthy competition, camaraderie and team spirit, whilst achieving success through Physical Health and Education

If you have any questions regarding PHE at ICS please do not hesitate to get in contact.

Mr John