A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT OF SPECIALIST SPORTS COLLEGE STATUS ON SECONDARY SCHOOL CHILDRENS’ ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS IN RELATION TO PHYSICAL EDUCATION
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The rationale for this study is to compare and analyse the attitudinal and behavioural similarities and differences towards PE, between a cohort of 150 13-14 year olds students attending two Comprehensive Secondary schools, one of which holds a Specialist Sports College (SSC) status, in South-West England. A qualitative methodology was adopted through the distribution of questionnaires completed by 74 pupils from the Comprehensive school and 76 from the SSC. The results revealed some inter-school variations between attitudes and behaviours. The findings disclosed a SSC status had the strongest impact on enhancing female behaviour in Extra-curricular PE. Students felt SSC status did not impact on the quality of PE teaching; however they felt leadership and teamwork skills were greatly improved through PE. The majority of SSC students (43%) agreed ‘a lot’ of importance was placed on the subject in comparison to Comprehensive attendees. Sports college status had less impact on attitudes. Gender and school type played a role in the development of attitudes, as SSC status encouraged students, males more than females, to view PE in a more positive light. Further research should be of a longitudinal nature, to assess the lifelong impact of Specialist Sports college status on attitudes to sport, following SSC attendees through adolescence, and early adulthood. The paper concluded by proposing the inter-school differences were a result of more funding, permitting superior resources, wider activity choices and external coaches, and continual staff development.
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