The dynamics of external provision in physical education

Jessica Mangione, Melissa Parker, Mary O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


Neoliberalism is a pervasive phenomenon. A fundamental neoliberal concept allows for the selection of the best and most suitable option available for a specific course of action in any aspect of society. Not unexpectedly, the educational field, including physical education (PE), has been influenced by neoliberal ideas. A key element of neoliberalism in PE is the selection of workers external to the school system, as a suitable option to improve the educational experience. The involvement of external workers increases the diversity of stakeholders in the school system, who, with their actions and decisions, have the potential to influence the content and status of PE in schools. The purpose of this study was to understand the external provision infrastructure supporting PE in an Irish primary school. Specifically, we used network ethnography to understand the structure and the impact of external provision on school PE. Participants included two primary school teachers, the school PE coordinator and one PE external provider. Data analysis resulted in two themes. The first theme refers to the structure of the external provider system, and the second to the dynamics of the network between the main stakeholders. Taken together, a well-established external provision network in the school is revealed but the structure of the network, as designed, is not supporting PE as intended by the Irish educational system.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Early online date28 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2021


  • Education
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy


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