Can Teaching Assistants Teach PE

Can Teaching Assistants Teach PE?

Pupils from 4 to 16 years old take part in physical education (PE) in school once or twice a week, and is generally a popular subject compared to mathematics.

Team sports like football, ruby, basketball and hockey are popular with some students where others dislike them for a number of reasons. Bouncing up and down on a trampoline has always gone down well with school pupils of all ages as its fun.

Official UK government guidance & regulations should always be sought on information about who can and can’t teach a class of children at school.

Covering a class of physical education is possible as an experienced, assessed and competent HLTA. They can teach PE to school pupils in England if a headteacher allows it after observed training & assessment. Ideally a TA would have a PESS certificate for the school PE sport they’re teaching or assisting pupils and supervised by a qualified PE school teacher.

Who can teach PE?

Registered and qualified physical education school teacher in UK can teach PE as they have QTS. Teachers have specialist training part of initial teacher training, qualifications, experience and have been formally assessed for each PESSPA sport taught in primary & secondary school.

School support employees can also teach PE if they have the required qualification, formally assessed for the specific sport and have training.

Can a TA take a PE lesson?

TA teaching PE

In some circumstances a teaching assistant (TA) can lead or support PE lessons, although they should be under support of a UK qualified (QTS) school teacher.

Level 2-3 TAs with minimal experience can’t teach school PE as they don’t have the experience and are not qualified for sports activities, especially preventing injuries or if something goes wrong.

Can you teach PE without QTS? Yes, although a school employee leading PE physical education classes for each individual sport or activity requires alterative qualifications. PESS level 3 or above for each sport or national award is a requirement.

Can teaching assistants teach PE in primary school? Teacher assistants can teach PE in UK primary school if they have received training, headteacher agrees, and are supervised. TAs can supervise rounder’s, pass ball games or similar at primary school, although not gymnastics, trampoline or using climbing apparatus.

Primary school PE lessons are less strict than secondary as many of 11-18 year sports class lessons involve high risk group sport participation, physical contact between pupils or PE equipment a specialist physical education teacher is only qualified to teach.

Primary school PE TAs qualification required

KS1 & lower KS2 (Except Gymnastics)

School sports introduction & games: Invasion games, striking & fielding, net games. Qualification required:

A national governing body award in the exact school sport, game or activity.


Qualification: NVQ level 3 or above in teaching or PESS level 3 & multi skills level 2.

KS1/2 school gymnastics teaching qualification

PESS level 3 & British gymnastics primary intermediate teacher’s award


NVQ level 3 in teaching or above

KS1/2 dance qualification

PESS level 3 & supporting the delivery of dance in physical education and school sport level 3


NVQ level 3 in teaching 

Can higher level teaching assistants teach PE?

A headteacher can decide to allow a higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) teach a PE lesson as cover if they are knowledgeable and confident in the role. First a TA requires a competency assessment for each PESSPA sport that requires being recorded.

As already mentioned the headteacher must be confident that a HLTA has an appropriate qualification, knows and has the respect of the pupils and experience of working as a teaching assistant.

Taking physical education school lessons is highly regulated where a teaching assistant can teach PE with relevant sports teaching qualification, health & safety and first aid training.

“Now go and look at official UK government regulations & guidance for teaching physical education at school”.

A full competence assessment of the HLTA that’s covering and leading the PESSPA sport lesson is required before leading a physical education lesson with secondary or primary school pupils in UK.

Recognise and prevent injuries to school pupils is very important in PE classes to avoid any accidents. Health & safety for some school sports & activities is complex and restricts what a HLTA can teach/assist in a PE lesson.

Should a school pupil get injured when a TA or HLTA teach or lead a physical education lesson the headteacher requires being confident of the abilities of a HLTA teaching that specific PE activity.

Do PE teachers need insurance? Teachers and HLTAs that work at the school in UK already have professional liability insurance cover in class, around the school and during PE lessons.

Education Department National Agreement 2003 for England & Wales made under Section 133 of the Education Act 2002, states theirs a professional duty placed on a school head teacher to make sure all class subjects taught at the school has a registered qualified teacher timetable to teach.

Education Tay
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