A brief walk through the changing role of Physical Education in the National Curriculum

Sprake, Andrew orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5164-770X and Palmer, Clive Alan orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9925-2811 (2012) A brief walk through the changing role of Physical Education in the National Curriculum. Journal of Qualitative Research in Sports Studies, 6 (1). pp. 71-82. ISSN 1754-2375

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This paper discuses the role Physical Education (PE) in a changing culture of school-based education, particularly across Key Stages 3 and 4. The authors recognise that PE has to find its niche in order to survive as a formal subject given that its current position in the curriculum, having been marginalised for many years, may now be under serious threat (Kirk, 2010). However, the strength of PE could lie in its ability to support academic achievement (Sallis, et al., 1999; Trudeau and Shephard, 2008) and thus convert the current perceptions of PE as having low academic status into an opportunity for PE and its professors to revise and improve the academic requests made of pupils in PE. The paper concludes that if there is a desire to incorporate more learning activities into PE which cross-over and draw upon core subject areas, such as English, Maths and Science, then a more engaging learning experience may be afforded – by virtue of what PE demands from pupils and consequently, offers them educationally. Such a strategy could place PE at the heart of learning and teaching rather than at the periphery, but in order to fit in with education and learning it has to branch out from exercise provision and entertainment. A changing demand for physical engagement across all subjects may point to exciting times academically and professionally for the PE teacher.

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