The hugely impressive new physical education facilities in Marino Institute of Education, played host to the 4th annual conference of the IPPEA on March 3rd 2007. Over 60 participants attended on the day and the feedback was very positive.

John Murphy, Chairperson of IPPEA welcomed everybody to the conference and the day’s proceedings kicked off with a lecture entitled Safe Practice in P.E. – A Legal View delivered by Dr. Neville Cox B.L. (Trinity College, Dublin). Dr. Cox outlined, in very practical terms, some of the issues that relate to PE and sport in a primary school context. Pre-planning and organisation were highlighted as crucial prerequisites for teachers wishing to conduct safe PE classes.

Participants then took part in workshops on Athletics in the P.E. Class- Catering for Mixed Ability Groupings (conducted by Catherine Canny PCSP) or on Rhythmic Gymnastics presented by Sarah Murray and Valentina Kolokova of the Irish Rhythmic Gymnastics Association. These workshops were followed by sessions on the Development of Fundamental Movement Skills in Junior Classes presented by Richard Bowles (Mary Immaculate College of Education) or on Outdoor and Adventure Activities delivered by Caitríona Cosgrave (Marino Institute of Education).

At that stage, everyone retired to the new canteen to enjoy a well earned lunch and to discuss the invaluable teaching tips garnered at the various workshops. Terence McWilliams (Ulster GAA Council) restarted proceedings in the afternoon with a very practical talk on the teaching of games. His core message centred on the importance of small-sided games in the development of generic skills such as catching, throwing and kicking. These fundamental skills, developed with a focus on enjoyment, can be applied across a range of sporting activities.

The final workshops of the day, Games for Senior Classes conducted by Frances Murphy (St. Patrick’s College) and Folk Dance presented Vincent Mulvey (PCSP) brought the day’s activities to a close.

Special thanks for the smooth running of the day are due to Caitríona Cosgrave for ensuring that all aspects of the venue were in order.