Politics, Policy, and Practice in Physical Education

Politics, Policy, and Practice in Physical Education

Politics, Policy, and Practice in Physical Education

Politics, Policy, and Practice in Physical Education

Synopsis

This is a unique resource for students and teachers of Physical Education and Sports Studies. This book explores and analyzes the different processes of policy-making and implementation in physical education.

Excerpt

Between 1988 and 1997 a plethora of policy initiatives emanating from Conservative central governments in the United Kingdom (UK) served to highlight, perhaps as never before, the contested nature of education and physical education (PE) in schools. During these years it became apparent that there was profound disagreement about what education and physical education should look like in content and form, and what and whose purposes they should serve. Rhetorically, the explicit intent of government policies was to 'raise standards' in education by injecting free market principles (essentially 'competition and greater accountability') into all arenas of the education systems of England and Wales. the Education Reform Act 1988 (ERA), which included among its measures the development of a National Curriculum for state (i.e. government-funded) schools in England and Wales, was to be the main means of achieving this ideal. However, the development of the National Curriculum showed that inherent in the ERA's requirements were interests and values that were neither arbitrary, accidental nor insignificant, culturally or politically. Embedded in the National Curriculum were views and directives relating to what it meant to be physically educated and what forms of behaviour, attitude, identity and citizenship the curriculum should promote. the view, perhaps widespread in the public mind, that physical education and sport are politically neutral activities, was patently laid bare as it became clear that political interests were as much at stake in the worlds of physical education and sport as they are in all other areas of the curriculum in schools.

In addition to highlighting this lack of neutrality in education and physical education, contemporary policies demonstrated the significance of the distinction between physical education and sport. As we show in subsequent chapters, in the uk the relationship between physical education and sport has been a recurring issue in debates and disputes within the physical education profession and between it, the media and politicians. in these debates the distinctive purposes and the practices of physical education have been obfuscated and marginalised, often intentionally, in the

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