PGCE and School Direct trainee teachers were introduced to the benefits of teaching cheerleading in secondary schools as part of their induction programme and an artistic scheme of work designed to help them consider the possibilities of introducing new and exciting activities within the PE curriculum.
Alongside gymnastics and trampolining, cheerleading is now enjoying a rapid increase in the numbers of young people taking part in the activity within schools. Figures from the Department for Education show that 37% of schools are now offering cheerleading in PE lessons.
PGCE and School Direct PE route leader Dr Gary Stidder said: “It’s been known for a long time that the PE curriculum is out of touch with boys’ and girls’ interests.
“Girls and boys today are very different from their mothers and fathers 20 years ago yet they are still force fed a staple diet of competitive team sports. Research shows that young people want to participate in alternative physical activities, whether it’s cheerleading, skipping or skateboarding.
“At the moment, in an academic year of 38 weeks (with two hours of PE a week) unfortunately about three-quarters of that time is still devoted to teaching traditional team sports.
Student Lucy Ellis added: “For us, as trainee PE teachers, it is important to have breadth and depth of subject knowledge.
“Cheerleading, along with trampolining and gymnastics, is really catching on with pupils in both primary and secondary schools and increasingly being introduced into the PE curriculum as an artistic and athletic activity.
“These types of activities also help to dispel the myths that we are not training to become female teacher of girls games and male teachers of boys games but specialist teachers of secondary school physical education.”