Physical Education (PE) is a brilliant method for children to keep active and develop physically, but it’s also a great way for children to build social skills and learn to express themselves.
Riley, a Year One student at Eaton Valley Primary School, has selective mutism and was initially very shy and withdrawn when at school, with little language used and teachers unsure if he could have a conversation.
After 10 months of participating in the Premier League Primary Stars programme, Riley has made remarkable progress and is now able to speak more with his teachers, form friendships with classmates and participate in PE with a smile on his face.
“Over time, you could see Alycia gaining that bond with Riley. He was opening up more, you could see the change,” said Miss O’Connor, Learning Support Assistant at Eaton Valley.
“He was enjoying it, you could hear he was talking to his friends. He would speak to me about what he’s been doing within PE and who he’s been playing with.
“Without the small interventions, he would have been lost. The progression the small group work has made is unbelievable, he’s like a new boy.”
Eaton Valley is one of our Premier League Primary Stars partner schools and we deliver sessions four days a week, supporting teachers with PE at the school.
Disability Sports Coach Alycia Nattress also delivers Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) sessions, which are designed to develop children’s social skills and confidence.
Alycia works with children who may feel isolated, struggle to make friends, struggle with their behaviour and be on the autism spectrum. The small group sessions can support children like Riley with their confidence and help to reduce anxiety ahead of adjusting to mainstream PE lessons at school.