A Critical Comparison of the National Curriculum Physical Education 2000 and 2008

Maher, Anthony and Smith, S (2011) A Critical Comparison of the National Curriculum Physical Education 2000 and 2008. Journal of Qualitative Research in Sport Studies, 5 (1). pp. 9-18. ISSN 095662703X

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This paper critically analyses the National Curriculum Physical Education (NCPE) 2008 by comparing and contrasting the key points and principles of the 2000 and 2008 published documents. The 2008 NCPE revision aimed to reduce the prescriptive content of the 2000 version, thus allowing teachers to personalise learning. However, given that UK education has supposedly dropped in standards since 2000 (OECD, 2010), it seems questionable to provide more freedom to schools and teachers who appear to be performing at constantly lower standards. Moreover, without a standardised national curriculum to follow, curriculums between schools may vary greatly in standard depending on the knowledge, skill and experience of those teachers charged with planning and delivery, which may create further inequality in relation to educational experiences and attainment. Nevertheless, despite ostensible limitations it is too early to predict whether or not the 2008 National Curriculum will be as successful as the government anticipated. What does seem apparent is that the government have placed a great deal of faith in the ability of teachers to provide more meaningful educational experiences for all pupils – only time will tell whether or not this faith has been misplaced.

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