How to use, improve and create resources for outstanding PE lessons

Marginal Gains to Develop PE Departments

An article on the use of Marginal Gains in PE as well as an example of how to display and use these Marginal gains in your team – By Sam Southwell


In PE we have continuously sought ways to develop the quality of our lessons and functionality of our team. There are only so many changes you make before you soon realise you are just reinventing the wheel, but how do you make the changes to take you to the next level


A chance meeting with Educating Essex’s Vic Goddard, Headteacher of Passmores Academy, showed me that there are still ways to develop and move forward. He told me the story of how he modelled his school and staff development in the same way as the British Cycling Team, by using Marginal Gains


The British Cycling Team were already on a par in performance terms with the rest of the world, but needed that extra one or two percent to bring success. For British Cycling this could be something as simple as having an athletes own bed travel with them around the world to ensure a full and comfortable nights sleep, rather than a hotel bed without the same home comforts


Vic was open enough to say he didn’t need to put in place wholesale changes, instead a series of ‘Gains’ that would aid development, and these included ensuring that leadership is distributed properly and creating a future leader group


We have now put this in place in PE and we have come up with 8 Marginal Gains that will help the quality of our lessons and the functionality of our team. On the surface these may seem quite simple, but having that supply of whistles for non participants to take part, or a task for students to complete when entering the changing rooms is enabling our lessons to start quicker and the students to be on task and progressing for longer


To illustrate our Marginal Gains we have fittingly put them together in the form of a bike wheel. The Marginal Gains theory from British Cycling and the work from Vic Goddard is readily available, and well worth a read if you are looking at refining those areas needed to take your team to the next level

Marginal Gains in PE - Diagram and display used to illustrate Marginal Gains in PE

Marginal Gains in PE - Article on the use of Marginal Gains in PE



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

− one = 7