The enactment of setting in secondary school PE: Teacher and pupil perspectives

Wilkinson, Shaun D. (2019) The enactment of setting in secondary school PE: Teacher and pupil perspectives. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This study explores how the policy of setting is interpreted and enacted by physical education [PE] teachers and examines the impact of this enactment on pupils. The work of Michel Foucault and Stephen Ball informed examination of the ways in which these processes are influenced by school-specific factors, such as reputation, buildings and PE teachers’ biographies, as well as power relations and features of contemporary education policy contexts. The study was conducted in three mixed-gender secondary schools in the North East of England during the years of 2016 and 2017. Fifteen PE teachers participated in semi-structured interviews and 63 pupils took part in focus group discussions. The pupils included 30 boys and 33 girls who were mostly taught in different sets in PE. In two schools, boys and girls were taught in sets in PE. In the third school, boys were taught in sets and girls in mixed-ability groups in PE. This school was included in the study to shed further light on the gendered dimensions of setting and the differential impact of setting and mixed-ability grouping on pupils and their subjectivities in PE. The findings highlight that the policy of setting was interpreted and enacted differently by PE teachers in the case study schools. These differences reflected the complex and interconnecting impact of multiple internal and external factors, including the imperatives of performativity, the realities of the school context, and the broader educational philosophies of PE teachers. The enactment of setting policy in PE impacted on pupils and their subjectivities in multiple and diverse ways within and between the three case study schools. The nature of these impacts varied according to multiple factors, including set placement, gender, and school type. The study provides important insight into issues of equity and opportunity in PE and presents a case for further research exploring the often hidden consequences of setting and grouping practices for pupils’ learning and participation in PE.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ability grouping, Policy enactment, Policy interpretation, Policy translation
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
L400 Social Policy
X100 Training Teachers
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2020 14:42
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 08:01

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