Physical Development

At Mayfield School Physical development (PD) plays a key role in developing learner’s movement mechanics, confidence, resilience, independence and self-awareness. PD is one of the key areas of infant and toddler development and relates to the growth and skill of the moving body, including the brain, muscles, and senses.  Research indicates learners who are not physically active can struggle to engage effectively within school and beyond. Lack of activity can affect cognition and concentration and can have detrimental effects on learning. Mayfield School believe PD is integral to every learner’s Curriculum entitlement; we want our learners to be healthy, happy and prepared for adulthood.

The PD curriculum provides a range of opportunities for traditional PE skills to be developed, while providing essential research-based movement development programs and intervention for others who cannot access this type of approach. At its core, the PD Curriculum aims to develop learner’s independence and understanding of Health and Self-Care. It embraces a methodology to allow learners to fully engage with their physical and mental health, giving learners ‘choice and voice’ to develop into active and healthy adults. For more complex learners, core physical attributes are developed to increase an intrinsic more visceral appreciation of their own body, while supporting and promoting independence across all aspects of personal and intimate care.

In principle the learning journey is simple – our learners: –

  • Develop an understanding of themselves
  • Develop an understanding of their bodies and learn how to use it safely in space
  • Develop fine motor skills to assist with school life and life beyond school
  • Learn how to work with others safely and effectively in a variety of situations
  • Engage with team and group games/sports
  • Learn how to take care of themselves
  • Develop technique and positive relationship with being active
  • Reflect and refine technique to perform your best
  • Develop understanding of diet and healthy food choices
  • Develop understanding of illness and disease and know methods to minimise risk.

Overview of the Physical Development Aims & Objectives


  • To provide a high quality, ambitious, logical, sequenced, and progressive Curriculum designed to meet the needs of all learners, regardless of their starting point.
  • To provide enjoyable, engaging real life opportunities in which learners develop physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively.
  • To offer a comprehensive range of learning experiences meeting the needs of all learners.
  • Structured and developmental schemes of work provide opportunities for repetition, progression, challenge and enable learners to gain sense of achievement.
  • To develop confidence, tolerance and the appreciation of one’s own, and others, strengths and weaknesses.
  • To promote community engagement and nurture positive attitudes and relationships with local leisure facilities conducive in an active and healthy lifestyle.
  • To establish and instil a passion for PD and activity within our learners.
  • To support and contribute to the aims of the wider school curriculum.
  • To deliver the curriculum using visual, audio and kinaesthetic learning, adopting a total communication approach.
  • To provide learners with safe and appropriate opportunities to self-regulate behaviours.
  • To provide learners with the sensory diets and requirements they need.

The curriculum design for PD is a developmental, tiered approach and can be adapted so that it can be coherently sequenced to meet our learners’ individual needs, considering their starting point and aspirations for the future. It is broadly split into three bands and assessed using our Schools bespoke Milestones ranging from Milestone 1 to 21.

Mayfield School’s PD curriculum recognises the need to develop learners’: –

  • Gross Motor skills
  • Fine Motor skills
  • Mobility and sensory development
  • Skills for Sports/techniques
  • Teamwork and gameplay
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Reflection and evaluation skills

The descriptions below capture the typology of the learners within each milestone band, although there will be exceptions where learners will cross bands depending on their individual needs.

Milestones 1-6

Typically, learners within Milestones 1-6 can be found in our PMLD department although there will be some PMBL/ASC learners within this banding.

Skills explored within Milestones 1-6 focus on;

My Body

Gross Motor

Fine Motor



Health and Self Care

Given the physical complexities of a typical learner within Milestones 1-6, PD is not delivered a discreet subject. Instead, PD is accessed through a series of personalised interventions highlighted and documented in each learners’ bespoke Physical Development Plan informed learner’s EHCP. For example: –

Physiotherapy supported by Birmingham NHS physiotherapists

Use of postural aids and equipment


Rebound Therapy

Occupational Therapy


Intensive interaction

Sensory integration

Milestones 7-14


Learners within milestones 7-14 are predominantly our ASC learners although there will be some PMLD/PMBL/MLD learners within this banding. Typically, these learners will be non-verbal or have severe communication delay. Whilst these learners usually present with having good gross motor ability, we find these learners usually have less understanding of their own body control, weight, balance, coordination and strength. Within this milestone band the focus is on developing a visceral understanding of the body. Learners explore how their bodies interact with others in the space, and the world around them. Learners explore spatial control and awareness is developed along with flexibility, core stability and strength. Learners begin to develop some of the prerequisite skills of working with others collaboratively through contact work and techniques such as Sherborne .

Skills explored within Milestones 7-14 focus on;


My Body in Action

Fine Motor

Teamwork and Games

Health and Self Care


Milestones 14 – 21


Learners within milestones 14 – 21 are predominantly our ASC/MLD learners. These learners are embarking on their journey to engage with more traditional PE activities such as individual and team sports. Learners may have range of communication and accessibility needs. While body control, weight, balance, coordination and strength are further developed throughout this band, there is more focus on personal technique, performance and working within teams. Reflection and evaluation skills are taught, enabling learners to identify their own/peers’ strengths, and areas to develop. As learners move up throughout the banding learners are encouraged to develop and reflect on their own fitness goals, health and wellbeing. Learners develop strategy and rules for team games, take part in competitive sports and explore outdoor and adventure centres.


Skills explored within Milestones 14-21 focus on;

My Body in Action

Teamwork and Games

Skills for Sports

Action and Adventure

Health and Self Care


Mayfield School aims to provide all learners with the recommended minimum 2 hours a week of PD. This will look different for individual learners and groups of learners depending on their needs, age, learning stage and ability.

Swimming and water safety are taught on and off site at two Birmingham City Council run pools & leisure centres located at Perry Beeches and Handsworth Wood.

Swimming and water safety are taught by professional swimming teachers and is offered each half term on rotation to all learners from KS2 to KS5.

Physical development at Mayfield School is supported by our external partners the Albion Football club and Open Theatre. The Albion football club provide differentiated and accessible PD sessions for all learners on a term rotation as an enrichment opportunity. Open theatre provides all learners on a term rotation the opportunity to be involved with non-verbal physical drama. Hydrotherapy is offered to our more complex learners at our Wheeler Street site.


  • All PD students inKS4 and KS5 follow the National Sports Leaders Award designed to use sport and physical activity to help young people develop and hone their leadership skills whilst helping themselves and others stay physically active.
  • Arts Award Accreditation is available in the lower Key Stages where some learners explore physical activities such as dance, physical theatre and mime.
  • Extra-curricular activities programme
  • At Mayfield School, we run a range of extra-curricular activities during lunch times. We have clubs such as football, basketball, table tennis and dance.
  • During the morning and throughout the day and as required, learners can enjoy sensory circuits and use one of the many dedicated breakout movement spaces available.
  • Afterschool sports clubs have been trialled and these will be developed further in the Summer Term!