Initial teacher education and continuing professional development: the perspectives of special school physical education teachers

Anthony John Maher, Hayley Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Physical education (PE) research focusing on initial teacher education (ITE) and continuing professional development (CPD) has been preoccupied with practitioners in mainstream (regular) schools. This article used situated learning theory to explore special school PE teachers’ perspectives of their ITE and CPD in England. A number of key themes were constructed from six interviews with special school teachers, including, ‘Special educational needs and disabilities is marginalised during initial teacher education’, ‘Special school-based placement may help to prepare trainee teacher’, ‘The professional development opportunities available to special school PE teachers are limited’ and ‘PE-specific CPD should be tailored to the needs of staff and pupils in schools’. Regardless of route into the profession, all teachers recalled a lack of focus on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and inclusion in the context of PE during their ITE. This trend was also evident through subsequent CPD offered, although there were accounts of informal opportunities. In concluding we argue that further consideration must be given to the nature of inclusive PE training offered within ITE. There is also a need to reconsider how CPD can best support career-long professional development that nurtures inclusive PE practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-33
Number of pages15
JournalCurriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education
Issue number1
Early online date1 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020



  • Special school physical education
  • inclusive physical education
  • initial teacher education
  • continuing professional development

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