Obesity is said to be at an all-time high and a sedentary lifestyle for both children and adults is becoming more and more commonplace.

Alternative PE lessons.

Figures from the NHS revealed that in 2014-2015 more than one in five children in Reception and one in three children in Year 6 were measured as obese or overweight.

Meanwhile the same report highlighted that the proportion of boys aged five to 15 years old who met the physical activity guidelines – defined as 60 minutes or more on all seven days of the week – fell from 28 per cent in 2008 to 21 per cent in 2012. That figure for girls of the same age fell from 19 per cent to 16 per cent.

Whilst PE is compulsory for Key Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 the fact is that some students don’t enjoy the traditional sports that are on offer in PE lessons, such as football, rugby, netball and badminton.

That’s why we’ve put together a selection of alternative PE lessons that can hopefully help students find an activity that is right for them and help to inspire them to become more active.  

Big Rock

Big Rock in Milton Keynes is an indoor climbing centre available for all school-aged students, which provides both physical and mental challenges.

From raising the heart rate and helping to develop movement, balance and hand-eye coordination, to encouraging teamwork and communication skills, indoor rock climbing works on many of the curriculum aims for PE in an environment many students won’t associate with the school lesson.

Additionally, an activity such as indoor rock climbing, where students must move between the coloured holds, whilst physically demanding, also provides a technical challenge that requires concentration, problem solving abilities and mental tenacity to succeed.


Canoe Trail

Canoe Trail in Bedford is a watersports and adventurous activities company, which offers schools the opportunity to experience sports not widely used in the curriculum, such as kayaking and canoeing.

From taster sessions and canoe and kayak journeys to zorbing and low rope activities, Canoe Trail can challenge students both physically and mentally, and can help to develop skills including communication, problem solving, teamwork, leadership, risk management and decision making. 

Canoe Trail can also work closely with schools to provide health and safety paperwork, including risk assessments.  


Go Ape

Found at locations across the UK from Aberdeenshire to Devon, Go Ape’s Tree Top Adventure is an adventure course that gets students tackling high rope obstacles, leaping off Tarzan swings and finishing on a zip wire.

Skills such as balance, agility, coordination and strength are tested on the course and significantly it encourages a healthy and active lifestyle and motivates pupils to get in the outdoors, all supporting the Key Stage 2, 3 and 4 curriculum targets of ‘taking part in outdoor and adventurous activity challenges which present physical and intellectual challenges’.

Go Ape can cater for up to 280 students at any one time.



Bounce is an indoor centre made up of over 100 interconnected indoor trampolines on both the floor and on the walls in locations in Milton Keynes and Peterborough.

Despite the physical demands, trampolining can be an activity that is associated more with fun than physical exertion, which is ideal for those less inclined to enjoy PE lessons and take part in sport.

Still challenging skills such as coordination, flexibility, motor skills and team work, trampolining at Bounce is designed to be a high energy, fun activity, suitable for all ages.

School groups of up to 140 children are welcomed at Bounce. 



JCA offers school groups indoor, outdoor and physical learning opportunities in the form of both residential and one-day School Activity Days.

It provides adventure activities (including water-based activities) from five sites around the UK, such as abseiling, archery, body zorbing and canoeing.

The wide choice of activities, and the chance to try multiple different sports on the one trip, means that there will often be an opportunity for many of the students to try something for the first time, potentially as a taster to taking it up on a more regular basis when back at home to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle. 

Teachers should note that not all activities are offered at all sites.