Special school physical education experiences: pupils with behavioural difficulties becoming pupil investigators

HILL, Christopher (2020). Special school physical education experiences: pupils with behavioural difficulties becoming pupil investigators. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00312


The voice of pupils with the label Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties (BESD), especially those within secondary special school educational settings, is largely unheard. By using data collection methods which placed pupils at its heart, this research explores the perspectives towards Physical Education (PE) of a small group of secondary-school pupils all labelled BESD and receiving education in a small special school. This two-part study is qualitative in nature and has a social constructionist phenomenological design. The exploration of data collected from photo elicitation, focus group meetings and individual interviews identified issues within PE lessons that pupils found meaningful. In the second part of the research, pupils took on the role of pupil investigators and explored the perceptions and experiences of their BESD-labelled peers through video interviews. This data, along with reflective field notes and informal conversation with pupils, was then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and NVivo 11. Two main themes were identified: the importance of the role played by pupils’ relationships with teachers, friends and peers, and the valuable insights accessed when pupils are given a voice. Findings include the dominant and decisive role of the PE teacher, how pupils’ behaviour and attitudes within PE lessons is affected by their desire to maintain respect among their friends/peers, and the negative effects of pupils’ disempowerment within PE including lack of consultation and choice regarding the curriculum and PE kit. The research concludes, whilst acknowledging the inevitable constraints on the curriculum offer of any small school, that within this offer pupils are further disenfranchised. They are not encouraged within the medium of PE lessons to develop inter-personal skills nor to gain understandings of their own or other pupils’ behaviour. Pupils’ lack of voice robs the school of feedback and opportunities to develop a more inclusive approach to education and fosters pupil disengagement.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Ridley, Diana
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr Diana Ridley
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00312
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2020 15:01
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:56
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/27378

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