Loughborough University
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A changing picture of health: health-related exercise policy and practice in physical education curricula in secondary schools in England and Wales

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posted on 2010-01-07, 16:26 authored by Gemma Leggett
This thesis documents and explores health-related exercise (HRE) policy and practice within selected secondary schools in England and Wales, and examines the impact of the National Curriculum for Physical Education (NCPE) revisions (DfEE/QCA and Welsh Assembly, 1999) on the status and expression of HRE in the curriculum. It also considers the factors affecting teachers’ approaches to change and their consequent decisions and behaviours. Specifically, the research makes comparisons between the policy and practice in schools at the time of data collection (2000) and that reported by Harris (1997). The methodology incorporated both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Case studies were completed in 2001 in five strategically selected mixed sex state schools, three of which were located in one Local Education Authority (LEA) in England and two of which were in one LEA in Wales. One of the English schools was a specialist sports college (SSC). Case study data analysis focused on the status and expression of health within each school, with particular attention to HRE policy and practice prior to and following the National Curriculum revisions. This analysis also explored the factors influencing the delivery of HRE in each department. The case study element of the research included the lesson observation of a unit of work on health-related aspects of PE in one school from the English LEA. This allowed an examination of the translation of school level policy into practice. A survey of all the secondary schools in the two case study LEAs in 2001 elicited questionnaire responses from 67.5% of heads of PE departments (PE HoDs). Analysis employed the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). The findings revealed that delivery of HRE in case study schools was based on a fitness for sports performance perspective, utilising fitness testing and training. This was despite many teachers reporting a philosophy for physical education that reflected a fitness for life perspective with pupils adopting active lifestyles as its goal. Case study schools reported that the NCPE had influenced HRE delivery, however, limited change had resulted from the 1999 revisions.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Gemma Leggett

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A Doctoral Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en