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Outsourced and exclusive? Examining young people’s experiences of outsourced physical education


   School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


About the Project

Project details

The UK Government has provided English primary schools with significant funding through the ‘Primary PE and Sport Premium’ (PPESP). The PPESP was intended to support the provision of high-quality PE and school sport through sustainable investment/improvement within schools. On this, a Department for Education (2015) report suggested that the funding had led to: an upskilled workforce; equipment to support teaching and learning; additional extra-curricular opportunities and increased participation in inter- and intra-school competitions. However, indications also suggest that the funding has significantly altered the way PE is delivered, resulting in the outsourcing of both curriculum PE and extra-curricular activities (i.e., school sport) to external companies.

Whilst findings from the Department for Education (2015) would suggest several benefits to the PPESP, wider research has also highlighted the potential detriments. Questions have been raised around the lack of pedagogical knowledge outsourced sports coaches have in relation to planning, assessment and in particular inclusion (Griggs, 2010; Blair and Capel, 2011; Smith, 2015). Indeed, research highlights that coaches often focus on ‘gifted’ pupils, competition and performance pedagogies (Wilkinson and Penney, 2016; Stirrup, 2018), potentially reinforcing/exacerbating inequities.

Entry requirements

Our entry requirements are listed using standard UK undergraduate degree classifications i.e. first-class honours, upper second-class honours and lower second-class honours. To learn the equivalent for your country, please choose it from the drop-down below.

Young people are the primary stakeholders in (outsourced) educational experiences (Sperka, Stirrup and Hooper, 2021). As such, engaging with pupils’ voices about their experiences of outsourced PE and school sport is key to examining how inclusive (or not) these are as well as how these might be enhanced moving forwards. This is particularly important given that outsourcing looks to be ‘here to stay’ (Sperka et al., 2021).

Given this backdrop, this project will consider how the practice of outsourcing is currently being applied within the UK and, importantly, how it is being experienced by pupils. Adopting a participatory approach, the project will draw upon creative and innovative methods to explore pupils’ experiences of outsourced PE and school sport. It will seek to make recommendations as to how these outsourced experiences might be enhanced and how it might be ensured that they are inclusive for all pupils.

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Applicants will need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Sport and Exercise Science, Sport Science, Physical Education and Coaching or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree will be an advantage. Experience of work within a school/education context is desirable.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. Please quote the advertised reference number - SSEHS/JLS/2 - in your application.

To avoid delays in processing your application, please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.


Funding Notes

UK fee - £4,596 full-time degree per annum
International fee - £25,100 full-time degree per annum

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