Physical education’s journey on the road to health

2020-03-17T14:19:06Z (GMT) by Lorraine Cale
Each year, the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy Special Interest Group organises an Invisible College which precedes the annual BERA conference. The day opens with a Scholar Lecture which is delivered by an academic who has made a significant contribution to the field. This paper represents the 2019 Scholar Lecture, which charts the journey of health within physical education over recent decades through to the present day. Whilst the notion of maintaining health through physical education is long standing and contributing to healthy active lifestyles is generally accepted to be a key goal of the subject, it is argued that the road to securing and retaining the position of health within the curriculum has at times been tricky to navigate. There have certainly been many successes en route, but equally some challenges and seemingly even a few obstacles and diversions. Specifically, this paper outlines the journey of health from the 1980s, during which time there was revived interest in health and a significant growth in health-related courses within physical education curricula within and beyond the United Kingdom. This coincided with the introduction of the National Curriculum in England and Wales, as well as with my own doctoral studies and initial physical education practice. Consequently, I highlight key influences and influencers in the area and on my thinking during this period, as well as some of the key developments, outcomes and messages emanating from this early work. Equally, I explore some of the issues and challenges health and health-related learning within physical education have and continue to face. The paper then turns to focus on recent progress and positive developments in the area and concludes with some proposed future directions for research and practice and reflections on the next leg of the journey for health within physical education.