No PE Kit… again! Considerations for setting a policy

Published on 15th September, 2020

“it’s my Mum’s fault, she didn’t pack it”… Sound familiar? Some children will persistently “forget” their PE kit. But is there more to this than meets the eye? And should these children be left out of PE lessons?

We’ve all heard the usual excuses, but what if Mum actually has forgotten to pack it?  Is it Mum’s responsibility or should it be the child’s responsibility?  But what if Mum is struggling to even feed her children?  All of a sudden, ‘no PE kit’ doesn’t sound quite as important.

Furthermore, your 2 hours of PE each week could be a child’s only physical activity, and therefore crucial for a child’s physical wellbeing.

A wonderful aspect of working in primary schools is developing such a wide range of demographic with every child’s situation being unique.  Here are a few considerations when setting a policy of No Kit, No PE…

Arguments for still taking part

Children spend most of their day running around.  Thank goodness they don’t sweat and stink quite as much as us adults!!  Modern day clothes and shoes are designed to handle the battering of kids at playtime, so taking part in PE is unlikely to ruin their clothes.

Children removing jumpers, socks and shoes might be all you need for them to take part in your PE lesson.  But consider the safety of children in bare feet. Never let children play on a hard surface or mats in socks that could slip.

A child with incorrect uniform would still be expected to take part in literacy and numeracy lessons.  Some children just aren’t that sporty, but all the more reason to ensure these children are physically active at PE time.  Perhaps still asking the child to take part, but a note home to parents is enough to show them they won’t get away with the old ‘in the wash’ excuse.

Consider a child’s home life.  Some schools are delighted with the achievement of just getting the child to school.  Perhaps a bag of spare kit for certain children to subtly borrow that you take home to wash once a week could make a huge difference to a child’s physical and social wellbeing.

Arguments against taking part with no pe kit

Allowing children to take part in PE without their kit sets a precedent and removes any self-responsibility from a child.

There’s nothing more painful for a sporty child to sit on the sidelines watching friends enjoy their games.  Occasionally sitting a child out could mean they never forget their kit again. But don’t forget to remind them the day before their next PE lesson.

Certain activities can be unsafe in normal school uniform, especially if you are using apparatus.  Pockets are easy to catch on gym equipment, ties and collars can be extremely hazardous.


When setting a policy for non-kit, it is important to consider the individual child, their attitude towards PE and their family demographic.

Sport can play a huge role in a child’s physical, emotional and social wellbeing.  PE can be the perfect place for developing teamwork, forming friendships and having a chance to shine.  But children should also be given the chance to learn about self-responsibility, and the consequences of not taking account for their responsibilities.  Wow, who thought teaching would be this complicated?!!

For more help and useful documents and resources for PE lessons, visit our PE resources page here.