• The social construction of physical education and school sport: transmission, transformation and realization

      Ives, Helen Maria (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-04)
      The development of physical education and school sport (PESS), a once ‘marginalised’ subject within the school curriculum, over the period 2003-2010 has often been referred to as the ‘quiet revolution’. An increased political interest in PESS and the idea that sport could be used to address wider social issues resulted in two major strategies, Physical Education, School Sport and Club Links (PESSCL 2003-2008) and Physical Education and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP 2008-2013) and £2.4billion of funding. Drawing on Bernstein’s concept of the pedagogical device, this thesis seeks to understand how these two strategies were transmitted, transformed and realized in the secondary field and examines the extent to which they impacted on the pedagogic practice of PESS. This research study, conducted from within a School Sport Partnership, draws on a range of ethnographic methods including in-depth interviews with Partnership Development Managers, School Sport Coordinators, Primary Link Teachers and physical education teachers across a sub-regional area of London. This data was supplemented with extensive field diaries, partnership documentation and emails. Analysis of the data was conducted using grounded theory in NVivo9. The research findings are presented in three data chapters. The first examines the positioning of the PDM in the space at the interface between the recontextualising and secondary fields. The second results chapter investigates the realization of the PESS strategies and specifically examines the process of transmission and transformation of discourse as it passes through the complex infrastructure of School Sport Partnerships. The final data chapter discusses the impact of the PESS strategies on the pedagogic practices of teachers, and focuses extensively on the target driven culture which dominated practice within the secondary field. The lack of impact on pedagogic practice, particularly within secondary physical education, emerges as a key issue. The dominance of policy targets as the core evaluative rules of the PESS strategies emerged as a limiting factor in the realization of change. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the key findings and the implications for agents and/or agencies tasked with implementing and enacting change in the school setting. In applying the pedagogic device, we are able to analyse the role that the evaluative rules have in prioritising aspects of policy implementation and investigate the challenge of innovation and change. However I argue that Bernstein’s theory is not sufficiently sensitive to a number of the complexities of the contemporary educational landscape and needs further development and adaptation if we are to continue to use the pedagogic device to examine the process of recontextualisation and realization of policy in PESS.