Progression in Physical Education

Fundamental movement knowledge

What is progression in Physical Education? According to our resident PE specialist, Lesley, it begins with fundamental movement knowledge.


(This post follows on from previous posts about the organisation of knowledge and  knowledge categories in art and design to form a subject schema in students’ long-term memories.)

Stability, locomotion and object control are the three foundations of fundamental movement knowledge. They need to become automatic so that students can move without having to think about it, much the same as decoding while reading needs to be automatic before fluency and comprehension is possible. Without mastery of fundamental movement knowledge, students will have little working memory to think about strategy and tactics, key components of physical education. Fundamental movement begins as generic knowledge then develops into sport-specific knowledge.  This is shown in the diagram below, taken from our new Curriculum Companion for PE:

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Fundamental movement knowledge in PE


This fundamental movement knowledge needs to prioritised in Key Stage 1 but also re-visited in Key Stage 2 as often as possible, with the goal of automatic procedural fluency.  To do this, Lesley has created knowledge webs to help teachers to focus on the key aspects of each movement.  Below is an example of the fundamental stability movements, balancing on one leg:

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Fundamental movement knowledge: stability- balancing on one leg


For progression to be clear and precise, she has included POP tasks (Proof of Progress) for each Milestone (Milestone 1 is Key Stage 1; Milestone 2 is Lower Key Stage 2; Milestone 3 is Upper Key Stage 2)  Here are the progression tasks for each Milestone:

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Progression Tasks, Milestone 1

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Progression tasks, Milestone 2


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Progression tasks, Milestone 3

Sport specific progression

Beyond the fundamental movement knowledge progression, sport specific knowledge becomes important to plan for.  Here is an example of a knowledge web for a striking and fielding game (Give me five) in Key Stage 1:

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Knowledge web for movement Key Stage 1

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Knowledge web for healthy lifestyle, tactics and strategy, leadership, personal and social and vocabulary Key Stage 1

Here is a diagram showing how the game is played

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Give me five diagram

Here are the progression tasks:

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POP tasks for Give me Five

Here is a knowledge web for an Outdoor and Adventurous orienteering task in Key Stage 2:

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Movement knowledge Counting Cones KS1

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Knowledge web for healthy lifestyle, tactics and strategy, leadership, personal and social and vocabulary Key Stage 2

Here are some maps for students to follow:

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Counting Cones route maps

Here are the progression tasks:

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Counting Cones POP Tasks

So, whilst students may be busy in Physical Education lessons are they making progress?  If you’d like a full resource packed with games, activities and progression tasks, find out more here.

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