The definitive guide to safe and effective delivery of physical education, school sport and physical activity.

Physical education, by its very nature, has always presented a real and exciting challenge for schools. If physical activity doesn’t present a challenge then, it does not help meet the needs of growing children. Yet at the same time schools have a duty of care to keep children safe from harm.

The Safe Practice Story

The Safe Practice resource hails back to the 1970s.

The process starts in 1976, a working party is formed by the then BAALPE (British Association of Advisors and Lecturers in PE) to gather the best wisdom and most reliable practice from the sector on how to teach physical education safely. The group consults widely including with the practices of national governing bodies of sport.

Their aim: to publish unambiguous guidance that meets the thorough probing of courts and provides invaluable guidance for schools.

The first edition was published in 1979 and titled Safety in Physical Education.

Safe Practice Today

Safe Practice is not static. There are lots of factors that influence the guidance: thinking enriches, case law develops and the needs and schools and practitioners evolve.

This is why the resource is updated every four years. But the aim of the resource remains the same.

Most widely used guidance

  • How to develop effective policies and procedures
  • How to teach safely
  • How to teach pupils to keep themselves and their friends safe.

This essential resource ensures schools can continue to have access to expert guidance on safe practice

Edward Timpson, Minister of State for Children and Families

Legal document

Safe Practice is the reference tool that reaches the courts. It is used by the judiciary, legal representatives and judges when accidents occur


Downloadable templates and tools included.

The resource is useful for anyone who has a responsibility for any form of physical activity in schools.

Written by a team of expert contributors

Led by authors Angela James (afPE Health and safety Advisor) and Jill Elbourn, with technical expertise from Peter Whitlam, the lead author of the previous edition.

It is always the first thing I advise schools to go to, I recommend they have it easily to hand.

One of the most common pieces of training we are asked to do as a County Sport Partnership is around health and safety, because that is one of the biggest concerns for those teaching PE.

Dan Wilson, the Development Manager for Children and Young People at West Yorkshire Sport

Available online

You told us that you wanted to be able to access the resource online. This user-friendly site provides you with easy access to guidance from your desktop, tablet or mobile.

Please be a responsible user. Sharing this content with others, in any way, including by publishing on the internet or social media, is not only an infringement of legislation and terms of use, but also compromises the future viability of this resource.

Help us by emailing us a link to any parts of this text published online. This will help us to protect this valuable work so that afPE can continue to invest in developing up-to-date guidance to help you keep children safe from harm while nurturing their physical development.

What’s next?

Safe Practice will continue to evolve.

We are always interested in hearing about your experience of using safe Practice so we can continue to improve it. So if you have any thoughts you want to share, please get in touch.

Safe Practice book and online guide is published and managed by our publishing partner, Coachwise.

The Coachwise Customer Care team is always pleased to assist you with your orders and respond to any queries. Please telephone 0113 201 5555 or email [email protected]

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