This thesis documents and explores health-related exercise (HRE) policy and practice
within selected secondary schools in England and Wales, and examines the impact of
the National Curriculum for Physical Education (NCPE) revisions (DfEE/QCA and
Welsh Assembly, 1999) on the status and expression of HRE in the curriculum. It also
considers the factors affecting teachers’ approaches to change and their consequent
decisions and behaviours. Specifically, the research makes comparisons between the
policy and practice in schools at the time of data collection (2000) and that reported
by Harris (1997). The methodology incorporated both qualitative and quantitative approaches.
Case studies were completed in 2001 in five strategically selected mixed
sex state schools, three of which were located in one Local Education Authority
(LEA) in England and two of which were in one LEA in Wales. One of the English
schools was a specialist sports college (SSC). Case study data analysis focused on the
status and expression of health within each school, with particular attention to HRE
policy and practice prior to and following the National Curriculum revisions. This
analysis also explored the factors influencing the delivery of HRE in each department.
The case study element of the research included the lesson observation of a unit of
work on health-related aspects of PE in one school from the English LEA. This allowed
an examination of the translation of school level policy into practice. A survey
of all the secondary schools in the two case study LEAs in 2001 elicited questionnaire
responses from 67.5% of heads of PE departments (PE HoDs). Analysis employed the
Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). The findings revealed that delivery of
HRE in case study schools was based on a fitness for sports performance perspective,
utilising fitness testing and training. This was despite many teachers reporting a philosophy
for physical education that reflected a fitness for life perspective with pupils adopting
active lifestyles as its goal. Case study schools reported that the NCPE had influenced
HRE delivery, however, limited change had resulted from the 1999 revisions.
A Doctoral Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.