UK National Curriculum Physical Education lessons are failing to deliver enough health enhancing physical activity for girls in secondary schools, research published by Leeds Beckett University has revealed.
The research study, published in European Physical Education Review, concluded that health enhancing physical activity accounted for only one-fifth of the time spent in PE.
In agreement with Ofsted, the researchers suggest best practice may be to keep pupils physically active throughout the whole PE lesson.
However, in contrast to the Ofsted recommendation of engaging in vigorous physical activity for sustained periods of time, teachers should balance the amount of moderate intensity or health enhancing physical activity.
This could be achieved by reducing time spent in less active management contexts and increasing health enhancing physical activity across all PE lessons by embedding physical activity and health related learning outcomes within lesson plans and schemes of work.
The themes of the lessons that were assessed included ‘Outwitting Opponents’ (delivered through field hockey and netball) and ‘Accurate Replication’ (delivered through gymnastics). The researchers used the System for Observing the Teaching of Games in Physical Education to identify lesson content.
Within the lesson themes, warm-up was the most active lesson context. Pre- and post-lesson management were the least active components.
Contrary to the researcher’s expectations, small-sided or modified games did not increase levels of physical activity as expected, compared to full-sided games.
Source: Leeds Beckett University