8 Mar 2024

School Case Study: Oak Green use volleyball as an inclusive way to get kids active

School Case Study: Oak Green use volleyball as an inclusive way to get kids active

​When Oak Green Primary School and Nursery wanted to help get its children more active, its demographics meant volleyball proved to be the ideal sport.

The school’s background 

Oak Green, in Aylesbury, is situated in South Court estate, which has the second highest level of economic deprivation in Buckinghamshire. 

28% of the school’s pupils are classed as having special educational needs (SEND), 53% speak English as an additional language (EAL), 20% are eligible for pupil premium and there is high mobility of families. 

The physical literacy of pupils is lower then national expectations as many children don’t have access to formal physical activity clubs due to barriers like culture, finance and social care, among others. 

However, the school has undergone radical change over the past two years, promoting active lifestyles both within school time and extra-curricular and, as such, there are positive changes in this area.  

Why Volleyball was used to help get children active 

Following a pupil voice questionnaire, volleyball was identified as a sport of interest by a number of pupils surveyed. 

After further enquiry, it transpired that a number of children had family members who played in the local park during the summer months. 

As a result, it was soon established that it was a very popular sport within school's South Asian demographic and one that they were keen to learn more about in school. 

How the children were engaged and the the sessions made inclusive 

The school started introducing seated volleyball during year 5 and 6 PE lessons and the children responded well to the game and asked if they could play the standing version.

With this feedback, the school purchased pop-up badminton nets and soft balls for the playground and field for children to use during breaktimes. 

At the start of this academic year, the local school sport partnership had included volleyball for the first time, so to prepare the children for this event, a variety of different sized and weighted volleyballs were ordered to teach volleyball to year 6 in PE. 

During lessons children explored the differentiated equipment and used the balls that offered them the most success when practicing and playing. 

Those who showed promise were invited to attend lunchtime volleyball clubs to develop their skills further and from this group a team was selected to represent the school in the volleyball tournament.  

How the project impacted 

The school now has a well-attended year 5 and 6 after school volleyball club (22 children), which is for all abilities and a quarter of pupils are on the SEND register. 

Sessions are fully inclusive, with a range of resources available to pupils to allow them to develop their skills and progress. 

The plan is to now incorporate volleyball into the PE curriculum map from the next academic year and continue to provide opportunities for social play at breaktimes and via extra-curricular clubs. 

The school learned the importance of pupil voice, capturing the likes of the children that may not have been clear otherwise. 

By providing resources and opportunities to ‘pick up and play’, the uptake in the sport has grown significantly in a short period of time.  

A useful resource 

Oak Green found the Volleyball England Volley2s resource helpful. As PE specialists, the school were not familiar with the sport, so the guide allowed them to gain valuable subject knowledge. 

The school is very excited about club links and the further support and training that a partnership will provide to staff and pupils going forward.