Article

The post 16 gap: how do young people conceptualise PE? An exploration of the barriers to participation in physical education, physical activity and sport in senior school pupils

Citation

Cowley JG, McIntosh I, Kiely J & Collins DJ (2021) The post 16 gap: how do young people conceptualise PE? An exploration of the barriers to participation in physical education, physical activity and sport in senior school pupils. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health. https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2021-0003

Abstract
Previous studies have identified several key barriers to Physical Education, Physical activity and Sport (PEPAS). However, there is a paucity of qualitative evidence investigating why young people do and do not participate in PA and the relationship between their levels of participation at different stages of life. This study builds on a previous study and aims to investigate the barriers to PEPAS in adolescents at transition stage. The extant literature highlights that instilling regular PA throughout life strongly relies on developing physical literacy through participation in high quality physical education. Despite the understanding of the importance of high quality physical education, there is an over emphasis on the short term outcomes of physical education (PE) sessions which have been noted to overemphasise immediate physical activity rather than focus on educational outcomes important to physical literacy. Anecdotally, the recent Covid 19 Global pandemic and subsequent lockdown has resulted in a digitalisation of PE in schools and a subsequent reliance of PA programmes based on adult fitness classes, which may not necessarily be categorised as PE in its true sense. Twenty-four respondents aged 16-19 were divided into five focus groups. Data were analysed verbatim using NVivo following the guidelines by Braun and Clark (2006) on thematic analysis. The findings indicated that most respondents equated PE with team sports. Findings suggest that Physical Educators need to acknowledge how past and present experience of PE impacts young people's future motivation to continue PA beyond school. Delivery of traditional PE lessons, prioritising sporting ability, can act as a participation barrier to pupils who consider themselves "non-sporty". Accordingly, a shift towards inclusive pedagogical models with an emphasis on a holistic approach, may best promote the physical literacy necessary for the competence and confidence to continue movement in a lifelong capacity.

Keywords
barriers to participation; inactivity; past experience; physical activity; physical education

Notes
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online

Journal
International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

StatusIn Press
Publication date online29/06/2021
Date accepted by journal02/05/2021
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/32910
PublisherWalter de Gruyter GmbH
ISSN0334-0139
eISSN0334-0139

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