Memorable moments from The Active Primary Schools Conference 2022

The Active Primary Schools Conference took place on 25th November 2022 and was the biggest conference to date.

And no, we’re not just talking about the screen (see the photos below).

Over 90 primary school PE teachers, senior leaders, business managers and governors booked to join us at Millennium Point, all on a mission to boost their PE, school sport and physical activity offering.

The conference was a full day of:

  • keynotes from industry experts;
  • practical and theory-based workshops;
  • and a marketplace full of innovative resources and services

…all with one core goal: To help primary schools engage more children in positive physical activity experiences, enabling those children to lead healthier and happier lives.

Valuable ideas, evidence, case studies, stories, insights, and good practice all were shared, providing schools with action plans they could embed right away.

Keep reading for a round-up of the day’s highlights:




The critical ingredient: ensuring physical literacy for young people in challenging times

Will Roberts - Chief Operating Officer – Youth Sport Trust

Will Roberts joined us to discuss the importance of physical literacy. Will shared the current challenges children and young people face, and why we need to set them on a physical literacy journey for the rest of their lives.



Swim England

Ashley Jones – Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Manager – Swim England

It’s part of the national curriculum, boosts physical and mental health, and is both a life and a lifesaving skill.

And yet 1 in 4 children leave school unable to swim.

Which is why it was so valuable to have Ashley join us to deliver a keynote speech.

Ashley is responsible for supporting school swimming, water safety interventions and providing technical expertise across the sport.

In his keynote speech, Ashley shared:

  • The importance of school swimming
  • Opportunities to bring swimming and water safety into the classroom
  • How you can best use limited pool time



Commonwealth Games Legacy and Guest speaker

Siobhan Fitzpatrick - Team GB Wheelchair Basketballer

James Grinsted – Youth Programmes Manager – Education at Birmingham 2022

Birmingham 2022 saw thousands of athletes from 72 nations and territories compete in the largest-ever integrated programme of para sport over 11 days.

As part of its aim to inspire the next generation, Birmingham 2022 delivered a comprehensive programme of activities in schools.

870,000 young people directly engaged with the Bring The Power youth programme.

James Grinsted, Youth Programmes Manager at Birmingham 2022, joined us to share the impact of that programme and the legacy opportunities.

Joining James was Team GB Wheelchair Basketballer Siobhan Fitzpatrick. Siobhan shared her inspiring story from first discovering wheelchair basketball to becoming a Paralympian.





PE Deep Dive

Greg Dryer - National PE Consultant and Founding Director of the Centre for PE, Sport and Activity at Kingston University

Greg Dryer shared invaluable insights and advice to ensure delegates are ready for their school’s Ofsted PE deep dive.

Drawing from his experience and expertise, Greg shared:

  • How to prepare for a PE deep dive
  • What to do during a PE deep dive



Evidencing Premium Spending

Jim Morris - National Development Manager - Youth Sport Trust

How can you effectively evidence the use of your school’s PE and sport premium?

Jim Morris delivered a workshop to answer exactly that.

Delegates were supported to:

  • Effectively evidence the PE Premium fund within their school, focusing on young people who need it most, ensuring the right activity for the right young person
  • Deploy strategies to maximise senior leader support within their school for more effective PE Premium spending
  • Understand examples of best practice from across the network.



How to Maximise Engagement on the Playground (PRACTICAL)

Matthew Whittington – Playground Activator National Tutor – Aspire Active Education


For some children, the school day provides their only opportunity to be active.

And quality break times can be vital for children’s physical, social, cognitive, personal and emotional development.

But the purpose of break time can be unclear; there’s a lack of clarity around how it can support school aims and children’s development.

A lot of schools lack the resources to run activities at break, and even if the equipment is there, the lack of training for staff means supervising is done at a distance.

That’s where Matt’s practical workshop comes in.

Learning how to set up and run safe and inclusive physical activities during lunchtime and playtime, delegates gained the skills and ideas to create a playground that achieves its potential.



Embedding Physically Active Learning in Your School (PRACTICAL)

Andrew Stanton – QTS, Maths Lead & Programme Manager – Aspire Active Education

Physically active learning is proven to boost physical activity, reduce sedentary time, and facilitate learning.

It improves children’s concentration, increases their confidence, makes concepts easier to understand and raises attainment.

In Andrew’s practical workshop, delegates:

  • Explored the latest research in physically active learning
  • Discovered the reasons why children benefit from physically active learning
  • Took part in practical activities to implement in their setting

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Assessment in PE

Crichton Casbon - Education Consultant

"Reports should be written by the children, not by you."

Crichton used his expert knowledge as a curriculum designer with a specialism in Physical Education to show delegates:

  • How to set their expectations of what children learn and make progress in
  • How to use assessment to help children make rapid progress
  • How to spend minimum time and effort for maximum impact on children’s learning and development



To help delegates put the knowledge into practice, this workshop linked to Jon Davies practical workshop. Speaking of…


Assessing within a PE Lesson (PRACTICAL)

Jon Davies – Operations & CQA Manager – Aspire Active Education

Effective assessment supports pupils to succeed. It can enhance both teachers’ teaching and children’s learning.

Jon’s workshop enabled delegates to:

  • Explore effective and simple assessment procedures that can be replicated across the curriculum
  • Discuss the importance of assessment in PE
  • Take part in a practical session that can be implemented in their school setting



Outdoor Adventurous Activities in PE (PRACTICAL)

Mike Chamberlain - Founder of Open Minds

Delegates enjoyed getting stuck into this workshop! Mike shared lots of fun practical ideas to help delegates deliver effective Outdoor Adventurous Activities (OAA) lessons whilst making the most use of their own site.

The practical activities promoted co-operation, speaking and listening skills and teamwork. Whether it was making sure there was no detonation in 'Carry The Bomb' or 'Dueling' with noodles, delegates got to experience a variety of challenges that will help their pupils work together and solve problems.

The activities Mike shared are currently used in schools successfully, can be adapted by theme or ability, and can be used to focus on elements in Physical Education, PSHE and Citizenship. Additionally, as Open Minds activities are flexible enough to be used in a cross-curricular or thematic approach, aspects of English, science and maths are also included.

Here’s the key points Mike covered:

  • Provided delegates with practical ideas to deliver effective OAA lessons whilst making the most use of their own site
  • Fulfil OAA of PE curriculum
  • Gave delegates lots of ideas for them to design their own Scheme of Work throughout the school



Primary Dance in PE (PRACTICAL)

Steph Donovan - PE Coordinator


Steph’s workshop gave delegates the confidence to deliver dance at their school.

Drawing on her expertise as a dance specialist and 20 years’ experience working in primary schools and within the community, Steph offered advice on how to plan, research and resource engaging dance lessons.

Steph discussed the importance of having a mix of genre and theme when teaching dance, and shared ideas and structures to apply to different year groups.




And speaking of dance, it wouldn’t be The Active Primary Schools Conference without a movement break!

A big thank you to Bally from Bhangra For Schools for getting everyone up and energised, keeping spirits high and smiles on faces.



Sponsor address: The PE Hub

Headline sponsors of The Active Primary Schools Conference 2022, The PE Hub, joined us on the day, sharing their incredible resources that empower primary school teachers to deliver better PE.



We’d like to say a huge thank you to The PE Hub as well as Aspire:ED for being headline sponsors, the day wouldn’t have been possible without you.


And since we’re onto thank yous, there’s a few more we’d like to say:


Speakers and workshop leaders

As you can see from the above, the day was absolutely packed full of valuable content that has the ability to transform primary school PE, sport and physical activity. And so, we would like to say a huge thank you to our speakers and workshop leaders who shared their expertise and experience to help get more children moving and, as a result, transform lives.



Thank you to all of our exhibitors! It is only through collaboration that we can end physical inactivity. We’re incredibly grateful for both your support on the day and the work you do each day to help increase the quality of PE, school sport and physical activity to get more children more active, more often.



MPCT Young Leaders

Aspire Active Education

Sports Directory

Ackers Adventure

Enrich Education

Golf Foundation

Aspire:ED + Aspire Training Solutions

Marathon Kids

The PE Hub

IP Presents


Real PE

Lawn Tennis Association

RB Gym & Sport

Community Games

Play Innovation



And of course, a big shout out and huge thank you to each and every one of our delegates! Your passion and drive to support your pupils in leading happy and healthy lives is inspiring. Thank you for sharing your ideas, getting stuck in, and striving to do the very best for the children you teach.


Finally, thank you to the Aspire team who all worked so hard to organise and run an impactful conference. And thank you to the Millennium Point for hosting us all.

All profits from the conference are going to our charity partner The Wilson Stuart School Fund, helping the school to support all students to enjoy school and achieve their full potential.


Be sure to keep an eye out for news of next year’s conference, we hope to see you all there!


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