Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
O'Donovan, T.; MacPhail, A.; Kirk, D.
Sport Education: International Perspectives
Sustainable Sport Education in Primary Education: International Perspectives
Optional Fields

Research has shown that many primary teachers lack confidence in physical education, perceive that they do not have the skills to teach physical education well and that often physical education lessons are cancelled prioritising other curriculum areas (Hardman and Marshall, 2000; Caldecott, Warburton and Waring, 2006). Yet in Forest Gate Primary the school has succeeded in establishing a new curriculum which is being embraced by generalist teachers and physical education specialists alike, those with plenty of confidence in their ability and those who describe themselves as definitely not sporty. The community of teachers is increasing in size as the programme continues to spread across the school with years 4, 5 and 6 embracing the approach. What factors have influenced the sustainability of the programme? Why have teachers across the spectrum of age, experience, confidence and seniority bought into this particular curriculum innovation?


This chapter presents the story of how a community of practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991) formed to introduce Sport Education to year 5 in an English Midlands primary school in 2000 and became an ingrained and integrated part of the upper school experience for pupils and teachers alike.  The story outlines the fluid nature of a teaching community in a busy primary school with staff leaving and joining the Sport Education teacher group and the growth of the community as the initiative expanded to other year groups. The analysis considers what features particular to Sport Education have been influential in the sustainability of this curricular initiative where others may flounder and lose momentum. In particular we consider the impact of Sport Education on the professional lives of the teachers involved; the extent to which the teachers ‘bought into’ Sport Education and what impact they thought it had on their pupils’ lives; and the extent to which these teachers took ownership of the programme, adapted it to the needs of their own pupils and integrated it with the ethos of the school. 

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