Insights | Fostering an Active Life Philosophy Through Sport

Sport is an integral part of each pupil’s development, wellbeing and education. It provides a platform to celebrate all that is unique about being a Wellingtonian. By fostering an active life philosophy and promoting a lifetime involvement in sport and physical activity, we generate a sporting ethos that puts into action the philosophy of the Wellington Identity. Of course, sport is not just about physical fitness – it develops the whole person. In that sense, sport at Wellington is a truly transformative experience. Wellington sport is emphatically for all.

In this article, Mr. Billows and Mr. Schulze will share their ideas about developing resilience and growth mindsets through physical activity, as well as provide an overview of what Wellington physical education looks like in different year levels.

Sport at Wellington

Over 30 different teams represent Wellington College in England on a weekly basis in over 30 different sports. Remarkably, 5,000 competitive fixtures are played by Wellingtonians during each school year. Wellington College in England has a “premier league” reputation as one of the best schools for sport in the UK. This success is built on an ethos of participation and a culture which appreciates the wider value of sport. In recent years, the College teams have achieved national renown and titles in hockey, rugby, golf, shooting, triathlon, squash, equestrianism, cricket, rackets and polo.

Similar to Wellington College in England, and with the facilities available on campus, Wellington College China schools continue this tradition and encourage pupils to represent Wellington in teams across a wide range of competitive sports, as well as participating in a number of different recreational activities.

It is commonly acknowledged that resilience is very important for people in the workplace, but when is the most appropriate and effective age to start developing it and what duty do teachers have at school to support this growth? The PE department at Wellington College International Hangzhou truly believe that sport is a great way for pupils to experience setbacks and become stronger because of them. It is often forgotten that experiencing failure is the best way to learn. Through PE and sport, our pupils are placed in challenging situations and it is here where real growth and learning take place.

As adults, we face many difficult scenarios and situations. The way we deal with these situations is determined by an individual’s character, and we think resilience is one of the most important attributes that a person can develop. Every single adult in the working world has been turned down at a job interview at least once in their lives, received examination results that did not meet their expectations or endured issues with their family members. The individuals who succeed when handling the next difficult situation they encounter are those that ask for feedback and turn it into action to be better next time. My department will give regular feedback to all pupils in their lessons to ensure they can develop this skill.

Physical exertion is something that everyone needs to experience regularly. We use the outdoor elements to our advantage to stress the importance of working together, especially as others observe, as performing through periods of brief discomfort will allow pupils to stretch themselves in other areas of their school lives.

We will do our best to produce as many accomplished sports men and women at Wellington College International Hangzhou, but we collectively think that it is more important to instill a growth mindset in our pupils. We are trying to cultivate the growth of robust individuals and give pupils the opportunity to solve problems and be analytical thinkers. We believe these traits will help them flourish later in life and ultimately succeed in an ever-changing society.

Physical Education at Wellington College International Hangzhou

In Pre-Prep (Years 1 – 2)

The aim of the Pre-Prep PE curriculum is to develop the fundamental movement skills and provide a range of opportunities for pupils to improve their agility, balance, swimming strokes and coordination. We aim to develop these skills through independent activities or as part of a group/team. Pupils take part in competitive physical activities using a variety of equipment.

Pupils will be taught to:

  • Develop basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching.
  • Develop balance, agility and coordination, and begin to apply these in a range of activities.
  • Participate in team games, developing simple tactics for attacking and defending.
  • Perform dances using simple movement patterns.
  • Develop basic movement skills, water confidence and safety awareness.
  • Work towards being able to swim 10m-20m on their front and back using various strokes.

In swimming, pupils will be regularly assessed according to the English National Curriculum along with the Amateur Swimming Association’s (ASA) standards for both Pre-Prep and Lower Prep.

In Lower Prep (Years 3 – 6)

The aim of Lower Prep PE is to continue developing the skills learned in Pre-Prep and apply them in a variety of ways. Pupils learn how to link actions and create sequences of movement. As part of a team, pupils will build on their communication and collaboration skills whilst often competing against each other. They will improve their understanding of how to make progress in different physical situations and sports, learn how to evaluate their performances and recognise their success. They will learn stroke technique, competitive swimming skills and water safety skills.

Pupils will be taught to:

  • Use running, jumping, throwing and catching in isolation and in combination.
  • Play competitive games, modified where appropriate (for example, basketball, football and badminton).
  • Apply basic principles suitable for attacking and defending.
  • Develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance.
  • Compare their performances with previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best.
  • Swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of 25 metres.
  • Swim using a range of strokes efficiently and competitively.
  • Perform self-rescue in different water-based situations.

In Upper Prep (Years 7 – 9)

The aim of Upper Prep PE is for pupils to build on, and embed, the physical development and skills learned in Pre-Prep and Lower Prep, become more competent and confident in their techniques, and apply them across different sports and physical activities. Pupils will gain a better understanding of what makes a performance more effective and how to apply these principles to their own and others’ work. Every Upper Prep pupil receives four periods of PE per week.

The aims of our curriculum are:

  • Use a range of tactics and strategies to overcome opponents in direct competition through team and individual
  • games (for example, badminton, basketball, football, netball and athletics).
  • Develop technique and improve performance.
  • Take part in intellectual and physical challenges and be encouraged to work in a team, building on trust and
  • Developing skills to solve problems, either individually or as a group.
  • Analyze performances compared to previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best.
  • Take part in competitive sports and activities outside school through community links or sports clubs.
  • Swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of 25 metres.
  • Swim using a range of strokes efficiently and competitively.
  • Perform self-rescue in different water-based situations.

At Wellington College International Hangzhou, we believe in the long-term health benefits of physical activity and hope to provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their interest to get involved in exercise, sports and activities both inside and outside of school.