A holistic approach to training for inclusion in physical education: policy, practice, challenges and solutions

Philip Vickerman, Anthony Maher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The UK Government’s 2015 Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability Code of Practice provides statutory guidance for organisations working with and supporting children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). The code suggests schools must develop high quality provision to meet the needs and capitalise on the capabilities of all its children (Department for Education and Department of Health, 2015). This, somewhat ambitious target, can only be achieved if all those involved in the education of children with SEND are adequately trained. Whilst gaps in school staff knowledge, competence and confidence to teach children with SEND have been identified across all curriculum subjects, physical education (PE) in the United Kingdom (UK) has been identified as a particular subject of concern (see Maher, 2016; Maher & Macbeth, 2013). Much of the available research emphasises a perceived failure of the UK Government to develop educational policies to ensure teachers are provided with training that enables them to include children with SEND in PE (Vickerman, 2007). Further concerns have also been raised about the PE and SEND training of other key facilitators of inclusion; namely, SEN coordinators (SENCOs) (Maher & Macbeth, 2013) and learning support assistants (LSAs) (Maher, 2016). Consequently, children with SEND have been found to participate less frequently and in a narrower range of physical activities than their age-peers (Fitzgerald, 2005, 2012). It is in light of these issues of concern that this chapter proposes to provide a holistic analysis of the training and practices of those involved in facilitating inclusion in PE in mainstream schools in the UK; namely, training providers, PE teachers, SENCOs and LSAs. In order to achieve this, the chapter will: 1. Analyse UK policy relating to the inclusion training of key stakeholders and, where relevant, link this to a broader 3 / 6 international context. 2. Analyse the views and experiences of key stakeholders vis-à-vis inclusion training. 3. Analyse the impact of inclusion training on the practices of key stakeholders. 4. Identify strategies as solutions to some of the key challenges to inclusion in mainstream PE.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInclusive Physical Activities: International Perspectives
EditorsAlexandre Morin, Christophe Maiano, Danielle Tracey, Rhonda G Craven
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherInformation Age Publishing
ISBN (Print)978-1681238524
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Disability
  • Physical Education
  • Special Educational Needs
  • Teacher Education


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