Getting the students to think like a Coach

Part 1

In a previous post I discussed how both Unit 2 (Practical Sports Performance) and 6 (Leading Sports Activities) of the Level 2 BTEC Sport qualification can be combined and taught alongside each other. This post offered more of an indication as to how the two Units were going to be delivered, whereas this post will be focused on evaluating the completed delivery of the first Learning Aim of the Leading Sports Activities Unit.

Following the delivery of Unit 2 and 6 in conjunction with each other the student’s evaluations of their own performance were better (unit 2) and their sessions plans for their coaching session (unit 6) were far more detailed as the skills they learnt about in Practical Sports Performance were still fresh in their mind. However, what I did find was that Unit 6 Learning Aim A was not completed to the level I had hoped, the students spent too much time worrying about the presentation of the work (animated video) and not enough time on what it was they were explaining.

Therefore, with this year’s cohort I have dedicated more time to teaching the students how to “think like a coach”. This is an idea that I got from reading the work of Daniel Willingham. Dr Willingham expressed the concept of getting students to think like scientist, mathematicians etc., providing situations where the students are challenged with applying their skills in a real world problem/scenario. My school is focussing it’s CPD around the six principles of teaching and learning presented by Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby (challenge, explanation, modelling, practice, feedback and questioning). I have taken my research of these principles and applied them to my planning and teaching of the aforementioned unit.

The first areas I have looked to incorporate and develop are challenge, modelling and deliberate practice. They have been used when re-doing/amending my Scheme of Work for Unit 6 (figure 1). I have changed the lesson objectives from a three levelled success criteria to one single but challenging learning question that allows me assess whether students are ready to move on or if they require support/scaffolding. I have then planned in lessons dedicated to developing any fluent knowledge that maybe missing or to stretching the students to apply their knowledge to more abstract concepts (PLC lessons). Finally, once the students Personalised Learning Checklists are completed and the students have had adequate time for deliberate practice, they are given a set timescale within which to complete their assignment.



This time around I used a simple baseline assessment prior to teaching Learning Aim A, it included multiple choice and open questions and that allowed to me gauge what existing knowledge the students had, as well as areas where students showed a particular interest. I analysed the results and found that the majority of the responses were based around Football, therefore this is why a large focus of our lessons were on sports leadership in Football. The results of the baseline were put into the PLC and these were changed once students demonstrated an increased understanding in particular concept.


Now that I knew the starting points of the students I could plan lessons that would both engage and challenge them. The subject of assessment for this Learning Aim was to demonstrate understanding of the attributes and responsibilities of sports leaders. I aimed to get the students to do this by creating an advertising campaign to recruit successful sports leaders for a sports coaching company they had to create. They then had to write a newspaper article to promote sports leadership, within which they had to compare and contrast two successful sports leaders (assignment brief). In order to achieve this the students had to have the relevant fluent knowledge to be able explain each attribute and responsibility, as well as have enough experience to be to compare and contrast between the attributes of different sports leaders.


As you can see from my scheme of work I broke the content down into two lessons delivered over two weeks, the learning question for each lesson was “Can I explain the attributes needed to be a successful sports leader?” and “Can I explain the different responsibilities of a sports leader?”. There was a created scenario at the heart of each lesson that was designed to present the key content to the students but in way that the students had to think and extract the information for themselves. Each lesson had a journey that allowed for the students to work through the tasks at a pace that was suitable, so no one was slowed down or left behind. The tasks got progressively difficult and required the fluent knowledge addressed in earlier tasks, there were also examples/models used throughout to show the detail I expected in their work (figure 2).


Throughout these lessons the students were assessed and the PLC was continuously updated. Following this there were two lessons (one week) set aside to ensure the students were where they needed to be before moving onto more abstract content (creating their coaching company). Within these lessons the students completed activities that would allow them to stretch their understanding or to fill any gaps that may have emerged (figure 3). For the most part my students could discuss the different attributes for a sports leader, but they were not able to make the distinction between the attributes of different types of sports leader. This was the focus of our drop down sessions, and the aim of these sessions to specifically target the areas that the students needed support or stretching.



We then moved onto completing the next part of our preparation which was comparing and contrasting two successful sports leaders. This time however, I wanted the boys to experience observing coaching in practice. So we had a lesson in the classroom followed by a lesson observing a Core PE lesson. The students had a Coaching Passport (discussed in previous blog) which was used to document what they had observed, and also served as their homework tasks for the week. The class was split in half watching two of my colleagues, they made notes on the sessions during the lesson and then had to interview the teachers for homework. The homework fed into the next lesson where we discussed the similarities and differences between the two. The Coaching Passport will be continuously used throughout the Unit to allow deliberate practice of planning and delivering coaching sessions.


To this point we were near enough ready to complete the BTEC Assignment, so I got the students to plan out their coaching company. This had to include a name, logo and slogan, as well as an ethos and background information. The students really enjoyed this aspect, although some got a little carried away with the size of their franchise. The students set about the task of planning the assignment, they used a planning sheet I gave them alongside the assignment development tool. This is a document used to support the students with their writing structure and use of language, they use it both to plan, write and review each of their assignments (figure 4). I found that taking an extra hour to get the students collate all of the information and plan their assignment has improved the attitude shown towards assignment writing, as well as the level of response generated.



I have now competed the teaching of the first Learning Aim this half term and it has been the most successful to date. The students have responded really well the changes that have been made and were able to provide a far more detailed assignment. More importantly they seem to have a far greater grasp on the concepts which puts them in better position to complete Learning Aim B/C (planning, delivering and reviewing coaching sessions). My next post will be evaluating the delivery of Learning Aim B and Learning Aim C.

It’s not all about the grades

This post was written by Chris Bailey @MrCwBailey.

In a previous post I have discussed how I have been adopting an assessment policy that supports the students in accessing the higher criteria through having a deeper and longer lasting understanding of the key content within the Units that I teach. This is still a work in progress and although I have had my best results from the current Year 11 cohort, there are still times where the students are relying on me to help them with their organisation and motivation towards either revision for Unit 1 or completion of the assignments. Therefore, I am now looking to develop another initiative to run alongside the subject specific assessment and this will focus on the student’s strengths and areas for development as a learner and provide them with opportunities to develop areas that will benefit them not only in my BTEC Sport classroom, but in all of their other subjects too.

I have been reading a book called “Teaching Backwards” by Andy Griffith and Mark Burns, within which the authors state that before teaching begins there needs to be a clear idea of each students starting point, the end goal needs to be demystified and the students need to know the skills that are required to be successful. Although this sounds really simple, it is an area that is not often addressed when the time is short and pressure is high, especially when assignments just need to be completed. The book discusses a concept called KASH assessment. This is an assessment that looks at the Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits of learners. Knowledge would be the subject specific aspect of the assessment that is concerned with what the student already knows and this has been left out as this is covered in my baseline assessments that are used prior to starting a new unit or assignment. Attitude looks at how the student views the subject and/or school; skills is concerned with the competence of working independently and as part of a team, as well as the ability to solve problems and Habits looks at the organisation, punctuality and ready to learn aspects the student has, or does not have.

BTEC Sport Athlete Assessment

The idea is to have a greater focus on the student’s ability to be an effective learner, not just the summative attainment. If I am able to get the students to be more resilient and independent in my BTEC Sport lessons then the summative assessments will continue to improve and the students will be more likely to continue their success in Level 3, A Level or Degree level Physical Education/Sport Science.

At the end of each half term I am going to complete the BTEC Sport Athlete Assessment. This has a scoring system that I have created to allow the results to be tracked and any increases or decreases can be investigated. The score a learner gets will then be linked with a specific classroom role that has been created to help develop the aspects that the learner is lacking. These roles will be completed over the next half term and then the process repeats, with the students being re-assessed.

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Figure 1: BTEC Sport Athlete Assessment

The assessment covers punctuality and organisation, ability to work as part of team and individually, growth mind-set and confidence in own ability. Each question is scored on a scale of 1-5 (5 being outstanding). All of the results are then analysed as the “Athlete’s top qualities” and “Athlete’s areas for development”. I complete the assessment and then meet with the student one to one to discuss the results, this has been really good because the students get the chance to discuss their learning in more detail and can clearly see where they need to improve to be a more successful learner. The students then give their view and we both sign the form which then acts as contract. Depending on the score the students get given a role that they will complete in the lessons for the next half term, these are highlighted on the bottom of the assessment.

Classroom roles

There are six roles highlighted on the assessment; Kit man, Commentator, Referee, Vice captain, Captain and Coach. Each role has specific duties.

Kit man – for students who struggle with organisation and punctuality. This role is looking to develop the ability to be ready to learn and avoid simple things like not having their PE kit slow them down. The kit man will be required to get to lesson on time to help the teacher organise the resources needed for the lesson, and look after the resources throughout and after the lesson. Students that score between 1-9 on the assessment are assigned this role.

Commentator – look to develop understanding through verbalising their thought process. This would be given to a student that rushes into their work, can’t successfully explain the required concepts or often misinterprets what is required. The commentator will be required to verbalise what has been asked, i.e. repeat teacher instructions, and explain what was learnt last lesson and what has been successful or not successful in the current lesson. Students that score between 10-14 on the assessment are assigned this role.

Referee – look to develop positive learning behaviours and stop the little distractions and disruptions having a negative impact on the lesson. This is aimed at students that are easily distracted and become off task; the idea being to make them aware of how being a distraction can hinder the progress of the lesson. The referee will have a set of cards and can issue a yellow card to warn a student that is not following the classroom rules. If a second yellow is issued then the student has to go the teacher. Students that score between 15-16 on the assessment are assigned this role.

Vice captain – for students that are performing well in lessons independently but are not yet confident enough to support or work with others. The vice captain is obviously there to support the captain so the student will not be thrown into the deep end but instead will be slowly encouraged to work and support others. The vice captain is tasked with the liaising with the captain to support other students who are struggling with the work or who are not working well together. Students that score between 17-19 on the assessment are assigned this role.

Captain – this is a chance for the role model of the group to be just that, a role model. The student that is showing all of the right attributes of a successful leader is tasked with the role of implementing the instructions of the coach and teacher and working with the referee to ensure their peers are working effectively. Students that score between 20-24 on the assessment are assigned this role.

Coach – this role is for the students that are excelling in a particular topic and/or is showing that they have the ability to a successful independent and group learner. They work closely with the teacher to stretch their own understanding to a more abstract level and then support peers by providing constructive feedback. Students that score 25+ on the assessment are assigned this role.

This is the first attempt at creating roles to support the development of an all round student, however as the initiative is in early stages I would be grateful for any feedback on what you think could be improved in this system.

Video evidence in BTEC Sport

This post was written by Chris Bailey @MrCwBailey.

Capturing video or annotated photographic evidence of students is now a fundamental requirement when students are completing practical elements of the BTEC Sport course. Needless to say it is one of the most obvious ways of proving that the Learning Aims within a Unit of Study have been correctly delivered and that the appropriate assessment criteria have been achieved.

The gathering of this evidence however is not a straightforward task. I was finding it difficult to record and organise video footage of each of my learners performing the wide range of skills within the different practical Units, while still trying to maintain the pace and challenge within my lessons. I am sure that there are a number of teachers in the same situation, equally I am sure that there are teachers that have established an effective way of achieving this mammoth task. I invite these teachers to share their good practice (@SubjectSupport #BtecSport) so that more BTEC Sport teachers are able to effectively record the performances of students without having to compromise the learning that takes place in lessons.

The method I have been using that has been working well for me this year, but is still something that I am looking to develop further, is The PE Geeks (@mrrobbo) Easy Portfolio App. This is an app that allows you to record and organise learners practical work. There are other apps available that do a similar job, for example Three Ring but I have found Easy Portfolio more suitable for my needs.

Easy Portfolio

As the name suggests the app is easy to use and has saved me a lot time when it comes to organising and sharing video and photo evidence with students. The app allows you to create portfolios for your groups which is helpful if you have more than one class completing the course. When recording the footage, you can tag the students that you are focussing on and the files are then saved in the learner’s individual folders. The app then allows you to export these files to Google Drive and Dropbox, and this is the way that I share the files with my students.

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Specific Unit Application

In a previous post I discussed how I use a Sport Logbook to evidence student’s practical performance in Unit 2. This logbook features pictures of the students completing skills in drills and games, and a video of them participating in a competitive environment. To gather these pieces of evidence I get the students participate in conditioned drills and record them using Easy Portfolio. Once I share these with the students they can then screen shot themselves completing the skills and insert them into their logbook, along with a video of their competitive performance. The responsibility is put onto the students to evidence their skills; I merely facilitate them through making sure the videos have sufficient footage of them completing the skills. It is made quite clear that they do not have to demonstrate the perfect model for every skill (technical demand) and that any areas for development will be the focus of the final assignment (Reviewing sports performance).


Screenshot 4

Also in the previous post I touched upon how I combine Unit 2 and 6. Easy Portfolio can obviously be used in the same capacity to record students coaching sessions. These recordings can be used by students to assess their current coaching skills in the lead up to the assessed coaching sessions, much like the way teachers would record their lessons to identify their areas for development. Combining these recordings with the use of a coaching passport provides students with the opportunity to use their own personal experiences when completing Learning Aim A (Attributes associated with successful sports leadership). Having the videoed coaching sessions also allows the students to use specific examples in their review for Learning Aim C. They can clearly state and evidence areas of strength and weakness, and use this information when developing their Personal Development Plan.


Coaching Session

I am going to be using a similar approach to Unit 5 (Training for Personal Fitness). During the six-week training programme the students have to maintain a training diary and this has served as my evidence for completing the Learning Aim (along with observations sheets). For the next cohort I am going to be using Easy Portfolio to take pictures of the students completing the different exercises and these can be included in their training diary to support their evaluation the training sessions. These images could be compared with a perfect model to see if they are completing the activities effectively. Easy Portfolio also has a facility for recording audios. Therefore, I will use this feature to question the students on their session plans, enabling them to justify their plan. As I mentioned earlier all of this evidence will be saved in the individual student’s portfolio and can be shared with them via Google Drive or Dropbox.

These approaches are the way in which I am looking to develop my practice and allow the students to achieve the higher assessment criteria. They may not be perfect and there may be other practitioners that have more effective methods. It would be great if we could work together to come up with a series of strategies to effectively record sporting performance. It would also be fantastic if these recordings could then contribute to a bank of WAGOLL (what a good one looks like) for future cohorts to use as a benchmark and so that the quality of work produced continues to go from strength to strength. Please feel free to share ideas by tweeting @SubjectSupport or myself @MrCwBailey using #BtecSport.

The Flipped BTEC Sport Classroom

This guest post was written by Chris Bailey @MrCwBailey.

The flipped learning approach has been around for some time now and it is something that I have been experimenting with for just over a year. I first discovered it through @PE4Learning on Twitter and adjusted the GCSE PE examples to suit my BTEC Sport classroom. In basic terms, the students are presented with tasks to complete outside of the classroom so that when they come into the lesson they have a basic understanding of the key concepts and can therefore have a deeper learning experience. It can also highlight any misconceptions that the students have in a topic, as well as serve as a measure for the required differentiation within a lesson.

The BTEC Sport Level 2 has a great deal of content for the learners to take in and apply, particularly in the externally assessed Unit 1 – Fitness for Sport and Exercise. This unit alone has 13 topics, within which there are numerous key terms and concepts that need to be defined and applied to in order to be successful in the online test. I have therefore found using the flipped classroom approach really useful in building students knowledge base and focussing their attention the areas that they need to develop in order to be successful in their external or internal assessments.

The problem I have been facing is that although my students were able to demonstrate understanding in class, when they got into the external assessment and had to apply their knowledge to exam questions they struggled. This obviously could be due to misunderstanding of what the question asking, but I also believe that they went into the exam without a deep enough understanding of the content. The work of Daniel T. Willingham on cognitive science that has made me focus the development of fundamental knowledge prior to teaching my students to apply the key concepts in an abstract way. The use of flipped classroom activities is starting to make difference in the amount of depth my students can put into their answers.

Three methods I have used so far

Video notes task

This is a template that I found on @PE4Learning and adapted to suit BTEC Sport Level 2. My students are given this as a homework task prior to starting a topic. I create videos that cover the key elements of an area and the students are asked to complete a series of activities while watching them. In the example below the students needed to watch a video on testing an athlete’s speed and agility, and then draw a diagram to summarise the video, note down key words and sporting examples and create an exam style question on what they learnt from the video. They are also asked to write down any questions they have about the video, whether this be things they do not understand or something that that has sparked their interest.

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Example of a flipped classroom homework task for testing speed and agility.

Take-away homework

My students complete their best work when they are offered a choice of activities. Therefore, I have set up a takeaway homework sheet to consolidate the learning of a topic, or to organise areas that need to be further investigated within a topic. Once they have completed the video notes task and the teaching of a topic is underway the students are set this homework. As you can see from the example below, there are a number of layers to the task sheet. This can be organised in a number of ways, they can complete tasks horizontally (Starter, Main and Dessert) or vertically (tasks within a set meal type). The tasks include watching a video, drawing a diagram, constructing a model, creating an exam question/revision resource and writing a tweet/blog post. The key idea behind this type of homework is to try and take the knowledge the students are picking up in the lessons and applying it in a more abstract, less concrete manner.

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Example of takeaway homework task


More recently I have been using Thinglink as an alternative to the video note task and takeaway homework. Thinglink is a web platform that allows you to create an interactive image. It is free to sign up and really easy to use. You upload an image that is relevant to the topic you are studying and then attach “targets” to the image. These targets take students to resources that you want them to use. This obviously can also be used in throughout a lesson as well as set as a homework task. The key benefit I have found using this resource is making sure that the students are researching relevant content and that they know the kind of resources that will be beneficial to them when it comes to completing independent research tasks.

As I have discussed in a previous post my students follow a learning journey of three levels; they complete a learning task prior to a formative assessment and then use all feedback to complete the BTEC Assignment. I have begun to use Thinglink images within the learning tasks, both as a support strategy for low ability students and to stretch the more able (using relevant journal articles and other wider reading materials). Another great aspect of the Thinglink web platform is that you can search for images created by other teachers and there are some great examples out there. Below is an example of a Thinglink I used when we were looking at joints and their range of movement. The targets that I attached were a range of YouTube videos related to the topic, the class presentation and various documents that would both support and stretch the different ability levels within the group.

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Thinglink on the range of movement at different joints

What is next?

I am now looking at developing flipped classroom resources specifically based around answering questions in the externally assessed Unit 1, as well as the Unit 7 – Anatomy and Physiology of Sports Performance. This will be done through the use of the Chrome extension Screencastify, anyone that is already looking into this or would like to collaborate please feel free to contact me @MrCwBailey. I have also been designing learning journey resources for each Learning Aim, which include the flipped classroom tasks. I have begun to alternate my usual scaffolding formative assessments with scenario based tasks. This is partly because of preparation for the new 2016 specification for Level 3 and partly because it provides the students an opportunity to apply their knowledge to real world examples.

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Example of Learning Journey for Level 3 Sport

Taking a P.E.E. in BTEC Sport

This guest post was written by Kate Ward @k8lw.

This blog post is a follow up to my previous blog post on using English teaching techniques in BTEC Sport lessons. The original blog post concentrated on increasing accessibility to Merit criteria for students with very low literacy levels. It concentrated on using the English teaching technique for analysis of text which is P.E.E. paragraphs.

P.E.E. Paragraphs

A P.E.E. paragraph gets students to use a writing frame where students write one or two sentences as a point for the P, which I used as a description. Evidence as the E, which I used as an example. Explain for the other E, which I used also as explain. For more information on a P.E.E. paragraph please refer to my previous blog post or there or many videos which explain it further on YouTube.

With pressure on results and meeting targets, I developed this idea further, opening up the distinction criteria within the writing frame that was created. Within English lessons they add in an L or A depending on the requirements. The L enables students to LINK to the original idea or to ‘A’ ANALYSE the explanation thinking about strengths and weaknesses. For BTEC First Unit 6 – Leading Sports Activities, I originally applied this technique to, we linked back to how the skill, quality or responsibility was important when leading a sports session. The beauty of this technique is you can switch between analysis and link depending on the requirements of the task, without confusing the students as there is only one aspect that changes.

Adding in the analysis or link aspect proved somewhat successful, but in order to support students further I started using some V.C.O.P. (Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuality) sheets I downloaded from the TES that were placed on there by susanmclaren66 as extra support, but I soon felt like I was giving too much support to the students, therefore after using V.C.O.P. sheets for one unit we progressed to developing our own ones within small groups, which made students think more about how they would start their sentences and the key vocabulary they would need to use.


As this was proving to be successful with the Level 2 BTEC, I thought I would see if it could be a springboard to improving our Level 3 BTEC grades. We had disappointing results the previous year, albeit with a group that had low prior attainment, gaining an average point score of 199 compared to the national average of 230. We therefore knew we needed to change something to deal with the students coming to us to complete Level 3 BTEC with ever decreasing literacy levels. I used the same core principles as used with the Level 2 BTEC class, but by just expecting more of students for each aspect we were able to move our results to all students within the class gaining a Distinction*, thus giving us an average points score of 270 in the space of a year.

With the changes that were made to how you can give feedback for BTEC courses the groundwork that was already put in using this technique and the V.C.O.P. has meant that rather than some students first attempt at a task meeting some elements of the pass criteria and then having to provide further feedback to support them gaining all of the pass criteria then moving onto looking at the merit criteria and so on, which under the internal assessment guide is no longer allowed. Using this technique, students were producing work far ahead of where their prior attainment would have placed them. I was then able to utilise peer assessment using the writing frame and student produced V.C.O.P. sheets as extra guidance for the peer assessment in order for students to improve their work further.

Practical Sports Performance and Sports Coaching

This post was written by Chris Bailey @MrCwBailey.
There is a large cross over between Practical Sports Performance (Unit 2) and Leading Sports Activities (Unit 6) of the Level 2 BTEC Sport NQF qualification. It would then seem obvious that these units should be taught either alongside or following each other. Getting this structure right is very important in making sure the students get the best possible learning experience and come away from both units with the vocational skills that the qualification looks to develop.

I have often found that my Btec Sport students complete the units well and meet the required criteria, however months down the line when we have moved on to other units, or when they have progressed onto Level 3 BTEC Sport, they have forgotten a lot of the skills they are supposed to have learnt. This was the case for my current year 11 class, who had been taught Unit 2 before I joined the school (in year 9), but could not effectively explain or demonstrate the core skills in the same sports when we moved on to the coaching aspects of unit 6.

Therefore, for my year 10 class I have adjusted the way these two units are delivered. We will be completing Unit 2 in our lessons and Unit 6 will be introduced as a homework task to run alongside this. The main focus of Unit 2 will be on developing the skills in our chosen sports and the homework task will be to gather experience of these skills from a coaching perspective. The students will be more likely to make progress and remember the skills if they are exposed to the process of teaching the skills as well as performing them.

How it will be delivered

Unit 2 will begin with a task to research the rules, regulations, scoring systems and roles/responsibilities of officials for two of our chosen sports. This will then feed into our formative assessment where the students will be given a scenario for each of the sports, from which they need to apply their knowledge and understanding to answer questions (similar to the AQA GCSE pre-release and new Level 3 assessment tasks). We will have one lesson in the classroom and one lesson performing practically, this will allow the students to put what they are learning into practice. Once complete the students will complete their BTEC assignment, which is to create an animated video (using Powtoon) to explain the rules, regulations and scoring systems for two sports and a booklet to explain the roles and responsibilities of officials. The reason I am going to get the students to create a video is so that they have to be creative when presenting their information which will hopefully mean that the learning will be longer lasting.

Following on from this the students will begin to practice the skills within our chosen sports; a good amount of time should be spent on this so that the students are in the best possible position to complete the practical assessment. To evidence their knowledge of the two sports the students will complete a logbook that will need to explain the skills and tactics of the sport and have pictures of them completing the skills. A final performance is recorded in both sports, which will also be put into their logbook, and used to evaluate performance for the Learning Aim C assignment.

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While completing this in lessons, the students will begin their homework tasks based around Unit 6. Through helping at extra-curricular clubs or their own sports clubs the students will complete a coaching passport that gradually introduces them to attributes and responsibilities of a successful coach. The idea being that when we come round to completing Unit 6 the students will be in a strong position to handle the daunting task of coaching another group of students.

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Example of Coaching Passport

Unit 6 will begin in the same way as Unit 2, with a research task on the attributes and responsibilities of a sports leader, and then a scenario task based around two contrasting successful sports leaders. The final assignment in Learning Aim A will be to create a Sports Coaching Company where the students have to create a sports leader job advert and description to show understanding of what makes a successful sports leader (plus a video advert that compare and contrasts for distinction – we will use Powtoon again).

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The coaching passport will help with Learning Aim B, where the students will be planning and justifying two coaching sessions before delivering one session to a KS3 core PE group. Through completing the passport the students would have already observed, team taught and independently led coaching sessions so should be more confident with the whole process. The session will be recorded and, like Unit 2, this will be watched in order to review coaching performance for Learning Aim C.

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I should note here that in my school the students complete the Level 2 BTEC Sport qualification over three years with the students getting two hours a week. Therefore, I am in a fortunate position where more time can be dedicated to the learning process and as a result I can make sure that my students are as prepared as possible for the final assignments in each of the Learning Aims. I know this is not the case in all schools and would be interested to hear how other teachers are structuring these two units under tighter time constraints, tweet @SubjectSupport and @MrCwBailey.

Essay Structuring – The Key To Better Work

This guest post was written by Grant Ormerod @PE_Grant.

BTEC Essay Structure

BTEC Essay Structure

Imagine receiving a student’s first assessment of the year. You don’t even know their face or name yet, however the work is immaculately presented, well referenced and includes a faultless bibliography. The work looks professional. Do you remember them and the work they produce?
Each year at my college we enrol between 60 to 80 new BTEC Sport and Exercise Sciences students. All of which hold a variety of skills and knowledge that they developed from school. Literacy and Numeracy are a key area to incorporate in all lessons in sport, but when my students come to the end of their first year, they start to think about the skills and knowledge they may need for university.

Looking at the first assessments that the students produce, they are… let’s say dynamic! Its an explosion and combination of different fonts, text sizes, using bold, not using capitals, using pictures for no reason, copying and pasting, centralising the text, text changing colour, as well as leaving large gaps in the work.

The jump from college level to university is both academically and socially difficult. At school, such academic writing is not taught to a high level, therefore being able to develop these skills at college is something I felt was the right thing to do.

I begin this quest by including some of these points in the feedback we provided. This then became a document which outlined the basics to writing with a good essay structure. Some used this and others left it on the table at the end of the lesson. The best thing was that it was crystal clear who had and who had not followed the structure. Our key word has been ‘professionalism’. I wanted the mindset of the students to be to produce a professional looking piece of work. Having found and shown some university level essays, the student agreed that the work looked smart and nicely presented.

My way of selling this to the students was getting them to imagine handing in their first report at university, showing great presentation, uniformity, and structure. Furthermore, to include a well-developed and correctly written bibliography using relevant references for information and images. A university lecturer will remember them for future assessments and will be likely to offer more support if necessary.

The response has been incredible, so much so that this poster is on our moodle area, is up on our notice boards and in classrooms. More importantly, the work produced by the students is now looking very ‘professional’ and achieving high grades on the first attempt. Moreover, the students are proud of what they are producing, of which is unteachable!!!

You can download the poster from here.

Making assessments more meaningful in BTEC Sport

This post was written by Chris Bailey @MrCwBailey.

The Internal assessment rules for BTEC Sport state that no formative feedback can take place once an assignment has started. This does not mean that formative assessments should not take place prior to the commencement of a BTEC assignment. With this in mind I have devised my assessment plan around the following three stages;

Learning task

Students complete activities that build a knowledge base that will be required to be successful in the unit of study.

Formative assessment activity

After completing the learning task and acting on feedback, students complete a formative task to check their understanding.

BTEC Assignment

Finally students use all of their completed work as a reference while completing the assignment.

Following the assignment students are given summative feedback that will detail what criteria has been achieved or not achieved. They are only entitled to resubmit work if they have met the predetermined deadline, are capable of meeting a higher criteria and doing so without support. This is made clear to the students and I have seen a big difference in their attitude and understanding of the assignment process.

Examples of my stages of assessment

Learning Task

These are completed in books or in Google Classroom once we have gone through the content as a class or in small groups. Each learning task is supported by a learning mat that provides students with a structure and allows for differentiation across the assessment criteria.


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Formative Activity

The learning task feedback is acted upon and used to complete formative feedback that is also set in Google Classroom. These learning tasks not only assess understanding, but also look to develop the structure of students writing.

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BTEC Assignment

All of this work is then used to complete the assignment. I try to set assessment tasks that have varying demands and allow for development of a range of skills. For example, in Unit 6 Learning Aim A (Coaching attributes, qualities and skills) the students were asked to create a recruitment campaign that needed to include a video advert (we used PowToon).

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Google Classroom

I have found that using Google Classroom to communicate, monitor and assess the learning tasks, formative tasks and BTEC assignments much more effective than having the work in students individual network folders.

With Classroom you are able to attach key documents/resources that can help students with their work e.g. YouTube videos or presentations from lessons. You can create a copy of the task for each student, which means that once the student clicks on the task a copy is automatically transferred to their Google Drive and has their name in the title of the document. All of these documents are also stored in automatically created and titled folders in the teachers Google Drive which saves a lot time.
Classroom clearly shows you who has or has not completed the work, and whether the work was completed on time or late. I use this feature to evidence whether or not a student can resubmit an assignment (following the three rules I mentioned earlier). The documents are web-based so comments can be made while students work on them, obviously this is not permitted in the BTEC assignments. Finally, the results of the different assignments can be downloaded as an spreadsheet which I keep a record of as evidence of progress over time.

Grading Assignments

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I wanted to give the grades more meaning and show the students how close/far they were from the next level. Therefore, my department and I created a University style assessment criteria that looks to prepare Level 2 students for the step-up to Level 3, and focus our post-16 students on what will be expected of them at University.

How they work

For Level 2, a Level 1 Pass is 40%, Pass is 50%, Merit is 60% and Distinction is 70%, whereas in Level 3 the Pass criteria is broken down into a lower (40%) and higher (50%) Pass. These therefore represent an equivalent to a 3rd or 2:2 at University. Obviously the BTEC assignments can only be graded as Pass, Merit and Distinction (and Level 1 Pass for Level 2), so the above percentages are always given to represent the criteria achieved, however these grades are topped up by considering literacy, presentation and referencing. The students get an extra 2.5% for spelling, punctuation and grammar, 2.5% vocabulary, 2% for presentation and 2% for referencing.

For example, I recently gave a Level 2 student his controlled assessment back as 62%. He knew straight away that he had achieved a Merit, but he had not been successful in either his literacy, presentation or referencing and this would therefore be his focus for the next assignment.

Going back to Google Drive, when an assignment is set the grading can be adjusted. So for an assignment that has a Distinction I would leave the maximum score as 100%, but if the top criteria is a Merit I would change the maximum score to 69%. This is where the exported breakdown of grades begins to have more meaning as you can clearly see how the students writing has improved from one assignment to another.

This whole process has made the teaching and learning in my BTEC Sport classroom more meaningful and the students have been in much better place to complete their assignments. They are less reliant on teacher support and therefore we have been able to be successful despite the introduction of the new assessment rules.

Using GoPro in BTEC Sport lessons

This guest post was written by Simon Bradbury @PeBrado.


I have recently been using a colleague’s GoPro in lessons and have found it to be a great tool, so much so that I will be purchasing one for the department.

I used the GoPro with my year 13 Level 3 BTEC Sport students. I am not keen on paper so wherever possible I will try to avoid getting the students doing paper tasks. My students are currently undertaking Unit 8/9: Practical Team/Individual Sports. For P2 students have to describe the rules and regulations of two different team/individual sports, and apply them to three different situations for each sport. For M2 they need to explain the application of the rules and regulations.

In the past I have got students to design a rule booklet for younger students either on powerpoint or publisher. However, this time I thought I would film the students officiating using an ipad but that they would also wear the GoPro using the chest mount. What this showed was when the students blew the whistle they then explained why they had given the decision therefore covering the rules and regulations. Just to be on the safe side I am also going to conduct a short interview with the students so they can explain any of the rules and regulations that may not have come up within their game situation.

The students find this more engaging as it involves more practical and from a teacher point of view it is a lot more interesting to mark than a pile of rulebooks. The footage captured can also be used for P3 which requires students to demonstrate appropriate skills, techniques and tactics.


I will also be using it with any of my GCSE PE students who wish to do any form of officiating as one of their four sports. I have also seen it used by my colleague for mountain biking assessment as he attached it to his helmet and followed the student in front.

I would be interested to see how other PE teachers use GoPro cameras within their lessons.

Getting ready for BTEC First External Assessment

When considering how to deliver Unit 1 Fitness for Sport & Exercise for NQF BTEC Level 1/2 in Sport it is important that the centre ensures that before entry for the assessment,that all of the learners are exam ready.

The online external assessment has proven to be difficult and a number of centres have fallen foul to early entry of learners onto the assessment, which has resulted in large numbers of learners completing the assessment and not achieving any of the grades available.

All Externally assessed units in this qualification (Unit 1 & Unit 7) have the same grades as internally assessed units:

● Level 2 – Pass, Merit, Distinction
● Level 1
● Unclassified

The assessment will take 1 hour and consists of only 18 questions. Unless a learner has a specific learning need, the assessment is completed onscreen. There is no need for speakers, although the centre will need to ensure that the workstations that the assessment will be completed upon meet the required specification. For more information on this please follow this link

The questions look to be weighted and towards the latter part of the assessment they look to get more difficult. A number of the questions require expansion (more than one word answers) and one of the questions is weighted to award 8 marks. For this response, the learner is required to provide a detailed balanced response to the question. In order to understand what is required at each of the different levels (grades), the centre assessor should familiarise themselves with the grade descriptors. These can be found in the qualification specification under the title of ‘Grade descriptors for internal and external units’.

Prior to entering the learner for the assessment and preparing them for the questions that they are likely to face, the centre should ensure that they map out a clear and structured delivery plan. The delivery plan should cover all of the unit content. As there is no assessment criteria provided in the specification for this particular unit the centre tutors should look at the Sample Assessment Materials (SAMs) and past papers to look at how elements of each learning aim have been previously assessed and use these questions to assess learners understanding of each part of the content.

As the qualification is still in its infancy, there may be parts of the content that to date have not been assessed. In these instances, the centre tutors should consider developing questions in a similar format and use these questions to assess the learners.

Initially after each part of delivery, I would suggest that the assessor uses the questions not to inform the learners of how they are going to be assessed, but to simply assess understanding. The use of questions will start to prepare the learners for what they might see when they sit the external assessment. The use of the actual questions or questions that have been developed in a similar format will also start to develop the learner’s skills of reading the questions and understanding the requirements of the command verbs and the format of each question.

When planning the delivery I would strongly suggest that the centre tutors break the delivery down into three components. These components should be based upon each of the learning aims (A, B & C). I would suggest that small cluster assessments (more than one question) are given to the learner at the end of the delivery of each topic and then a final mock assessment is provided to the learners at the end of each learning aim. The mock assessment can be carried out in external assessment conditions, although the learners are highly unlikely to fully replicate the environment that the actual assessment will be carried in because the past papers and Sample Assessment Materials are not available in an online environment. The materials are only available as hard copies (PDF).

Past papers & mark schemes are available using the following link.

The sample assessment materials for unit 1 can be found using the following link.

Delivery of the content can continue to be flexible and the centre has the option of how to deliver each component of the unit. This can and should include both practical and classroom based sessions. The focus of delivery must be on retention of the theoretical input, as it is highly likely that the content covered from the specification may be covered in the external assessment that the learners will be completing.

Through the completion of these sub tasks, the learners should develop a further understanding for the demands of the external assessment. It is important at this stage that the assessor also takes some time to further develop the skills for the learners to understand how to answer the questions that require the extended responses.

It is difficult to predict the exact number of marks (the total number of marks for the entire paper is 50) required to achieve a distinction grade, merit grade, level 2 pass, and level 1 pass. However, on the mark schemes of the papers it shows the previous mark ranges. However, at present due to the infancy of the qualification it is still difficult to predict the exact grade ranges.

At the point when delivery for the entire unit is close to completion the assessor should liaise with the examination officer/quality nominee to ensure that all learners are registered to complete the online assessment. The external assessment for this unit is an on demand assessment. The centre is therefore responsible for registering the learners to complete the assessment at a date and time that is convenient for them.

When considering the date that your learners will complete the external assessment you should consider a time that is suitable for the learners but one that will also enable the learner’s time to complete a re-sit. The first test booking is included in the cost of registration, but re-sits will be charged (approximately £14) per unit, per learner. Learners are unable to re-sit a test until they have received a result from their previous attempt.