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CONFERENCE – PE & Sport Conference: Levelling the Playing Field

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Recent reports from Ofsted and the Youth Sport Trust highlight the need for PE and sport staff to level the playing field ensuring all students have the chance to achieve and reach their potential. From the way the curriculum is designed, the systems and processes departments use, what is taught in lessons and the way the department is led, these all have an impact on what students learn and the progress they make.

In this new, vibrant conference we will focus on the key priorities and latest issues that affect secondary PE and sport, with inspiring keynote sessions on how PE leaders and teachers can level the playing field and why there is a need to do this, what defines high quality PE and sport teaching and how to create the climate and culture for girls to engage and achieve in PE and sport.

The conference also includes sessions on high quality PE staff professional learning, spotting talent, stretching and challenging able students, using digital technology and AI to advance teaching and learning in PE and outstanding leadership of PE and Sport.


  • Hear the latest on the key issues faced by leaders and teachers in PE and sports
  • Explore why there is a need to level up the playing field in PE and sport
  • Find out more about how you can ensure high quality PE and sport teaching in your school
  • Gain strategies on how to create the climate and culture for girls to achieve success in PE and sport
  • Take away high quality techniques and tactics appropriate to highly able students
  • Spotting talent and driving students into elite level sport
  • Discover the potential for AI in PE and sport


Introduction & Welcome:

10.00 – 10.10am Steve Smith Head of Professional Development, Keynote Educational

Exploring How You Could Level the Playing Field in PE and Sport

10.10 – 10.50am
  • Key messages, latest issues and the key findings from the recent Ofsted PE review and subject report
  • Why is there a need to level the playing field?
  • What are secondary PE leaders and teachers doing to level the playing field?
  • What changes need to be made?
Will Swaithes – Senior Lecturer in Physical Education, Birmingham City University and Education Director at PEScholar

Morning Break

10.50 – 11.10am

High Quality Teaching in PE and Sport

11.10 – 12.00pm
  • What defines high quality PE and sport teaching – academically and practically?
  • Why does the quality of teaching vary so much from school to school?
  • Are we spending too much time on the breadth and not enough on the depth of content?
  • Looking deeper – what’s on offer? the variation – are we catering for all different groups?
  • How much time is needed for PE and sport to ensure high standards and an insightful curriculum?
Rebecca Berger-North – Head of PE, Epsom College

Girls Active: Achieving Excellence in Girls PE and Sport

12.00 – 1.00pm
  • Women’s and girl’s sport in the media – the importance of role models, it’s not all about the lionesses!
  • The key messages and insights from the YST ‘Girls Active’ report
  • Creating the climate and culture for girls to achieve success in PE and sport
  • What are we doing to make PE and sport attractive to girls?
  • What’s going on in classrooms to maintain girls’ interest in sport?
Laura Buscombe – Director of Physical Education, Southend High School for Girls


1.00 – 2.00pm

Breakout Strand 1

2.00 – 2.50pm

1A: High Quality PE Staff Professional Learning

  • Creating a first-rate teaching and learning education in PE – ensuring your staff contribute to raising the same high aspirations.
  • Methods and approaches to establish highly ambitious subject and pedagogical knowledge, to promote deep knowledge and understanding across the PE curriculum.
  • Developing the specific skills PE staff need to teach more complex practical techniques
Stuart Maddock – Head of Educational Technology, Millfield School

1B: Spotting Talent: Stretching and Challenging Able PE and Sport Students

  • Challenging and stretching able students to attain excellence
  • High quality techniques and tactics appropriate to highly able students
  • Competitive sport and wider culture
  • Driving students into elite level sport and professional academies
Marcus Sharrad – Director of Coaching & Mentoring, Head of Exercise and Sports Sciences, Marlborough College


2.50pm – 3.00pm

Breakout Strand 2

3.00pm – 3.50pm

2A: Outstanding Leadership in PE and Sport

  • What makes an outstanding leader?
  • Communicating the vision, changing the culture and the mentality of your team
  • How do you build from good to outstanding leadership?
  • How do you develop yourself to ensure you become an outstanding leader?
  • How can you achieve all of this without worrying about the battle with imposter syndrome?
Marcus Sharrad – Director of Coaching & Mentoring, Head of Exercise and Sports Sciences, Marlborough College

2B: Using Digital Technology and AI to Advance Teaching and Learning in PE and Sport

  • The potential for AI in PE and sport
  • Using advanced digital technology to raise attainment in PE and sport
  • Ways digital technology and AI can minimise teacher workload
  • Preparing PE students for further education, study and work in an AI world
Stuart Maddock – Head of Educational Technology, Millfield School


London | Thursday 29 February 2024

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Will Swaithes is Senior Lecturer in Physical Education, Birmingham City University and Education Director at PEScholar, he has over 20 years’ experience in education with previous roles including Advanced Skills Teacher, Specialist Leader in Education, Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning and Head of PE and Achievement for the Youth Sport Trust. He has a Masters in Educational Leadership; continues to do considerable work for YST; contributes to the PGCE PE programmes at Loughborough University, University of Buckingham and runs the Secondary PE PGCE course at Birmingham City University along with guest lectures for a number of other ITT providers; leads the Head of PE network for two Nottinghamshire Teaching School Alliances; and also does a variety of other consultancy work. Will has a strong track record of authoring/ delivering training and has also published an OCR GCSE PE textbook.

Rebecca Berger-North is Head of Physical Education at Epsom College, leading a team of 9 PE teachers and 4 PE sport specialists. Prior to Epsom, she acted as Head of Girls’ Games at Kew House School. She graduated from Loughborough University with a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science and is passionate about creating an interactive and exciting learning environment that maximises pupil involvement and outcomes. She completed an MA Education in 2020, with a dissertation focussing on pupil perceptions of the impact that sport and physical activity have on mental health and well-being.

Laura Buscombe is Director of Physical Education at Southend High School for Girls and has taught for 21 years in secondary PE. Southend High School has a reputation for sporting excellence built on a history of achieving multiple national, county and district titles underpinned by many students who have gained international sporting honours. She has led on the recent development of a programme of study that engages more female students in sports that have not previously featured in the competitive offer. She is passionate about developing inclusive, diverse academic and practical curriculums where girls see themselves in the content being taught. She has been instrumental in transitioning numerous girls into sport and exercise science in university with some progressing to complete PhDs in the area and take up research and consultancy positions.

Stuart Maddock is Head of Educational Technology at Millfield School and is a highly experienced teacher and teacher trainer. He has worked in educational settings in the UK and abroad for over twenty-five years and was a Head of Physical Education for fifteen years. He has an M. Ed from the Institute of Education, University College London, focusing on teaching and learning and technology in education and a qualification in Effective Online Tutoring from Oxford University. He also holds the Level 5 CIPD Diploma in Learning and Development. He is passionate about teacher learning and development and was Head of Academic Physical Education at Millfield School for seven years before becoming Director of Educational Technology. Stuart is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Trainer.

Marcus Sharrad is the Director of Coaching & Mentoring and Head of Exercise & Sport Sciences at Marlborough College, where he has worked since 2015-16, leading the department since 2016-17. During his time as Head of Department Marcus has overseen the redevelopment of the core physical education curriculum, aligning pupil experiences with research-driven functional movement and athletic development principles. In addition, placing a heavy strategic focus on the academic credentials of sport sciences at GCSE and A-Level has seen pupil uptake double, with enhanced grade profiles to match. Marcus is an Institute of Leadership & Management qualified professional coach, which, along with Level 3 Talented Athlete Lifestyle Support (TALS) qualification, sees him work with aspiring and current elite athletes.


  • SLT/Curriculum Line Managers with responsibility for PE and Sport
  • Directors of Sport
  • Heads of PE
  • Teachers of PE
  • Sports Coaches

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