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Contemporary Issues in Pe

By paulie125 Oct 13, 2010 2318 Words
Contemporary Issues in Physical Education Assignment 1

In this assignment the author aims to examine how the national curriculum for physical education (PE) has changed over time and the rationale for such development, and also critically evaluate the changing national curriculum for PE by comparing and contrasting the key points and principles from the 1999 and 2008 published versions.

Over the last decade, PE’s place in the national curriculum has been debated issue within the teaching profession. It is suggested by Capel. S, (2000:9) “…… teachers of this subject have to answer both why questions, ‘Why are you doing this activity?’ and ‘why is that a worthwhile use of pupils’ time in the curriculum? This is because English, science and maths are subjects have been primarily seen as more academic worthwhile subjects for students in the working world.

Although this may have been true for teachers in the past, the days were the class teacher would give a group of boys a football and let them get on with it have gone. PE teachers now have to spend just as much time teaching things like anatomy and physiology as they do coaching sport. Teachers now have to teach children in key stage 1 and 2 about fundamentals of movement for example the activities dance and gymnastics help a child understand the physical demands for exercise and also how the body moves. In key stage 3 the focus moves from fundamentals to engagement by offering a diverse range of sports for example skateboarding and extreme Frisbee.

This change in focus is because an increase in participation in schools is needed in order to create an ethic of health and wellbeing rather than the culture of televisions and computer games. Physical education in key stage 3 and 4 in the 2008 national curriculum doesn’t just engage students, it also teaches young people about competition and values both of which are very prevalent in both the social and working world

Since the 1992 national curriculum there have been changes with regards to PE. It is said on the new secondary curriculum website “Additionally, a sharper focus on the way in which physical education contributes to pupils developing a broader range of personal, learning and thinking skills will help prepare them for life and work”. This means that physical education is no longer being used as a tool to engage the less academic; it is preparing young people for the world of work like other subjects such as Mathematics and English. It is also mentioned on the new secondary curriculum website “Through the range of experiences that PE offers, they learn how to be effective in competitive, creative and challenging situations.” This therefore suggests that PE’s role within the national curriculum is not only beneficial on an academic level but on a social and mental level because within PE students learn to be effective individuals on all levels.

One of the key changes in the national curriculum from 1992 to 2008 that it is less rigid and it now caters towards the learners needs, which gives teachers more flexibility to cater for those needs and not their own preference. It is mentioned on the QCDA website regarding the new secondary 2008 national curriculum “To give schools greater flexibility to tailor learning to their learners’ needs, there is less prescribed subject content in the new programmes of study.” This is to show that a new national curriculum would increase a Teacher’s involvement in the decision making processes which underpins the creation of new learning opportunities. This is a view shared by armour, and jones, (1998), Green, (2000) and Flintoff, (2003).

The reason the increased teacher involvement in the national curriculum is more beneficial is down to the training and development of PE teachers. In schools more sports can be offered, this is because more PE teachers have more coaching qualifications therefore allowing more freedom with the curriculum delivery in schools, and more sporting opportunities for the students. It is argued by Moon, B et al. (2002) “The national curriculum in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, introduced in 1988, set out very specific regulations about subject and content of the curriculum” and it was this rigidity that created a biased environment for the less talented and less interested.

Although the above argument made by Moon, B et al (2002) is relevant in the 2008 national curriculum in terms of teacher involvement with the curriculum process, there is always the danger of too much teacher involvement in the curriculum process, which is point, argued by Green. K (2005) “In response to ongoing concerns over the expression of health in PE, and teacher’s relatively limited knowledge and understanding of the area” this means that if there are teachers in schools with limited knowledge of PE, the delivery of PE will be at a lower standard which is an issue the 2008 national curriculum addresses.

This lower standard of PE is particularly apparent in primary education. The reason for this is because a lot of primary school teachers do not come from a sport of PE backgrounds, but they are still expected to deliver high quality PE lessons. High quality PE lessons simply cannot happen without knowledge of, or training in PE.

Another of the changes in the national curriculum from 1992 to 2008 is that the format is more coherent so it allows links to be easily made between other subjects. For example the structure of the national curriculum in PE will have the same structure as English, maths and science. This allows for a more fluid learning experience for the students and it also allows the students to transfer skills from one subject to another.

The new secondary national curriculum (2008) focuses on four key concepts these four concepts are; competence, performance, creativity, healthy and active lifestyles. Pupils in key stages 3 and 4 have to understand these four concepts in order to improve their skills and knowledge in terms of assessment. With regards to the range and content there are six areas in which the teacher must implement the key concepts mentioned above, these six areas are; outwitting opponents, accurate replication, exploring and communicating ideas, concepts and emotions, performing at maximal levels, identifying and solving problems and also exercising safely and effectively.

At key stages 3 and 4 both the key concepts and also the range and content focus on personal development, self discovery and self reflection, this allows the student to be in control of there own learning process. The down side to this type of approach is that only students who want to do physical education will prosper from this change, and it seems as though students who don’t want to do physical education will be left by the way side because they wont want to self reflect or use self discovery to improve their own sporting or physical ability.

In key stages 1 and 2 in 2002 the standard of PE was seen as only satisfactory or poor. It was said by Fiona Macdonald speaking at the dissemination conference (2002) “Report finds that about only one third of schools visited had very good programmes” this shows that not all primary schools are taking physical education seriously and are preferring to engage the students in more academic subjects.

The major change in the national curriculum in physical education from 1999 to 2008 is that more time has been allocated to PE on schools time tables. In the 1999 version schools where only obligated to offer 1 ½ hours of PE a week with more being offered in key stage 3 and 4 if the student selected PE at GCSE level. Now in the 2008 version of the national curriculum schools are obligated to offer 2 hours high quality PE with the option of 3 hours extra curricular activity, or club sports outside of school hours. This increase in sport is due to the governments PE, school sport and Club links strategy (PESSCL).

With a revision of the national curriculum in 2002 it was seen that the government had to do more than just offer a subsidised Physical education programme of study in the national curriculum, there had to be a clear pathway for the students to carry on participating outside of school hours, therefore with a £1.5 billion investment between 2002- 2008 physical education, school sport and club links (PESSCL) strategy was introduced.

With the introduction of PESSCL it saw more professional coaches and sports development agencies come into schools and deliver high quality coaching sessions. Each school where allocated schools sports coordinators (SSCo’s) which assisted schools in the delivery of their PE programmes.

The national curriculum changes from the 1999 version to the 2008 version saw an increase in the variety of sport offered and delivered in key stage 3 and 4. From 1992 to 1999 there was more focus on traditional sports such as hockey, netball and Rounders for the girls while the boys played football, rugby and cricket. With the introduction of the 2008 national curriculum many more sports where able to be incorporated due to the increase of time on the PE time table, freedom to choose sports by the teachers and the PESSCL strategy’s extra curricular 3 hours.

The PESSCL strategy was made up of 8 different strands which were specialist sports colleges; school sports partnerships, professional development, step into sport, school/ club links, gifted and talented and QCA and sport investigation. All of these 8 strands where incorporated to create a clear strategic vision for PE and sport again creating a clear pathway for physical development. It was also used to establish a national framework for school sport, increase the standard of teaching and coaching in PE and school sport and it was used to increase the proportion of children participating in clubs outside of school. But a few questions remain, how many children gained this opportunity? And what happened to the children that slipped through the net?

In January 2008 the PESSYP strategy was introduced. It was introduced to build on the success of the PESSCL strategy and work in conjunction with the national curriculum, and instead of focusing on 5-16 year olds like the PESSCL strategy did the PESSYP focused on the 5-19 year olds using a £755 million investment therefore ensuring participation outside of the school environment.

Like the PESSCL strategy the PESSYP strategy incorporated the ‘5 hour offer’ which meant that schools had to do 2 hours high quality PE and offer 3 hours extra curricular activities or club sports. Not only did the 3 hours extra curricular strengthen the national curriculum with regards to PE because more sports could be offered it has also increased participation in community clubs which runs in conjunction with sport England’s participation targets.

‘The 5 hour offer’ of 2 hours high quality PE in the curriculum enables schools to promote an ethic of health and well being throughout the school and 3 hours dedicated to extra curricular lets the students carry on that ethic and carry it through their lives.

One of the main drivers for the change in national curriculum is the talent identification process for the London 2012 Olympics and future sporting events. Overall the amount of money that is being put forward towards the London 2012 Olympics as was suggested by professor Tony Travers (2007) “I think deep down the treasury can have no idea what this will really finally cost” Britain is looking to become a great sporting nation even if it means massive debt, so the governments contingency plan view is to create sporting excellence in the schools so a steady stream of high quality athletes continue through the system and the first steps towards this is with the 5 hour offer and the gifted and talented register.

Overall from the introduction of the national curriculum in 1988 to the more recent 2008 version many changes have taken place. One major change in the curriculum is the variety of sports that can be offered to students. This increase in sports means that PE can now reach out to students that in the past would have slipped through the net. The introduction of PESSCL and the five hour offer have allowed for students to carry on playing and participating in sport when the schools close. In conclusion the focus has now been moved from the elitist view that if you cannot play a sport to a certain standard you get left by the wayside, the view is now a push towards health and well being. For England to be a healthier, happier society promotion of sport in schools firstly with key stage 1 and 2 will be the first stepping stone to achieving this dream the 2008 national curriculum and PESSCL strategy help push it along.

Reference list

Armour, K. M & Jones, R. L, (1998) Physical Education: teachers lives and careers. Falmer. London

Capel. S. A & Piotrowski. S. (2000), Issues in physical education, Routledgefalmer. London. UK

Flintoff, A. (2003). The School Sport Co-ordinator Programme: Changing the Role of the Physical Education Teacher? Sport Education and Society

Fiona MacDonald (2002) speaking at the dissemination conference on improving physical education in primary schools report.

Green, K. (2000). Exploring the Everyday `Philosophies' of Physical Education. Teachers from a Sociological Perspective. Sport Education and Society

Green. K & Hardman. K, (2005) Physical Education: Essential Issues. SAGE. London. UK

Moon. B, & Mayes. S. A, Hutchinson. S, (2002), Teaching, Learning and the curriculum in secondary school. Routledgefalmer, London. UK.

Professor Tony Travers (2007) speaking to inside out, BBC News [internet] how much will the Olympics really cost? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6321201.stm (accessed 26/11/09) .
Qualifications and curriculum’s authority (2009) [internet] Changes in the national curriculum http://www.newsecondarycurriculum.org/Content/library/pe_change.aspx (Accessed, 26/11/09)

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