The Deanes School is a specialist sports college in Benfleet, Essex, where for a number of years staff have been working on G&T programmes based on provision beyond the curriculum, writes G&T coordinator Keli Hampstead

Our G&T programmes have now evolved into an approach termed long-term learning development (LTLD) which aims to reflect effective models of personalised learning and complement the National Curriculum. We used the long-term athlete development (LTAD) models at the core of the 2004 National Framework for Sport alongside (and enhancing) the National Curriculum for physical education, programmes of work and processes of effective learning. 

Personalised learning The primary aim of LTAD provision is to produce a greater number of athletes, sports men and women who are capable of achieving at the highest level. LTLD is for students aged 4-16 years, encompassing all students from a fundamental level to elite), and is resulting in individual potential being maximised through a personalised approach to learning.

At KS3, for example, each student at Deanes is identified as being in a particular phase for each of the key learning objectives. Each phase meets the individual need of those students. The phase will develop the students’ core skills for that level of performance. The student focuses on skills that they need to develop, to improve their performance. The teaching team work collaboratively with the students rather than ‘doing’ to the students, to establish which phase best fits students’ needs.

Following staff training and development time at the end of last academic year, this approach has now been implemented for all students across the KS3 PE curriculum and will eventually be implemented as part of the School Sport Partnership (Key Stage 1-4). This comprises 62 schools (52 primary, 10 secondary). Similar work is currently taking place in primary, infant and junior schools in the form of multi-skill clubs, academies and curriculum work.

The students completed a needs analysis based around principles of self- and teacher assessment during their first PE lesson. This enabled the students to establish which phase they are currently performing in:

  • fundamental movement and skill acquisition phase
  • fundamental skill and movement development phase
  • fundamental consolidation and whole skill development phase
  • playing to learn phase
  • training to train (application of knowledge phase)
  • training to train (consolidation of prior learning phase)
  • training to train (implementation of skills phase).

Prior to completing the needs analysis they were given a short presentation about LTLD, the reasons for it, its principles and in what ways they would benefit from this approach, as reproduced in the box above.

Students move through a unit of work relevant to their need and stage on the LTLD model. Each lesson within the unit focuses on a different component of the LTLD model.


  • Movement skills, reaction time and agility.
  • Transfer of skills – individual to pair situations.
  • Physical conditioning skills – strength and speed.
  • Creativity, decision making skills, pressure situations.
  • Technical skills – hitting and catching.

Students continue to follow the Key Stage 3 curriculum and monitor their progress through each of the phases of the LTLD model. Each unit of work within the curriculum includes and accounts for developing physical literacy, cognitive intelligence, intra- and inter-personal skills that have been matched to appropriate provision strategies.

Early results Indicators of impact so far are suggesting improved attitude to learning and attainment.

  • End of KS3 levels have risen from 35% Level 6 or above in 2001 to 89% in 2005.
  • Similarly, GCSE PE results were 84% A*-C this academic year (for a full cohort entry).
  • Increased levels of participation (94% of Year 8 and 9 students participate in an out-of-school-hours learning club) and developed levels of self-esteem and physical literacy,

A G&T approach We are now developing this work with a whole-school approach initially with G&T students. The Deanes School has been awarded advanced practitioner status by the Youth Sports Trust and DfES. This entails delivering several two-day seminars for directors of sport and senior leadership team members of sports colleges under the ‘banner’ of inclusion and personalised learning.

The seminar incorporates a pre-course task, development and discussion time, examples of best practice and buddy projects. Day two is a review of the buddy projects and a shift towards moving this work across the whole school.

Following the two-day seminar we stay in contact with colleagues and develop case studies of best practice. This requires our school to disseminate this best practice to other sports colleges.

What is long-term learning development?
A presentation to students

  • In order to become better at sport and physical activity a person needs to improve parts of their performance.
  • LTLD breaks sporting activity into key components that can be improved enabling you to become better performers.
  • LTLD will allow you to decide what you are already good at and help you to focus on areas to improve.

Why do we need LTLD?

  • Everybody is different and we all have different strengths and weaknesses.
  • LTLD lessons will focus on different areas needed for sporting activity and help you to improve the areas through a variety of activities.
  • The LTLD lessons will help you to plan what activities you may want to choose to participate in the future depending on your strengths and weaknesses.

What happens next?

  • You will be given a series of statements broken down into phases.
  • You will need to decide, with the help of your teacher, what statements you can already do, eg ‘I can throw underarm and overarm with good technique.’
  • If you can do this confidently you can tick this statement, leave it blank if you can’t.
  • If you have ticked all of the statements in one phase then you will be working towards the next phase.

How do my lessons work?

  • Throughout the next few weeks you will have the opportunity to experience different lessons that will focus on a variety of key components.
  • You will be able to improve the component no matter what phase at which you are currently working.
  • Keep updating your phase statements so you always know and understand what you need to improve next.

Case study: a talented tennis player

Marcus started playing tennis at the age of five and is now third in the Essex under 12s league and has represented Essex in the counties cup. Marcus has been given a flexible timetable whilst studying at Deanes. He is absent from one lesson a week – music – that he will not be sitting at GCSE level. This has been agreed with his parents, mentor, form tutor and Marcus himself. He uses an online mentoring system, ‘Sportsplan’, as well as face-to-face contact with a mentor based in school.

Marcus and his parents receive additional support from the school in the form of workshops on themes such as nutrition, over-training and how to deal with injuries.

Further information Long term athlete development:

Youth Sports Trust:

  • NGB National Governing Body