Britain’s 1981 Education Act stimulated a partial migration of pupils from special to mainstream schools. The onus has since been on teachers to meet the needs and capitalise on the capabilities of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in mainstream school settings. The research analysed learning support assistant (LSA) and special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) views on inclusion in physical education (PE). Individual interviews were conducted with 12 LSAs and 12 SENCOs working in mainstream schools in North-West England. Open, axial and selective coding was performed on interview transcripts to identify reoccurring themes. The research found that SENCOs and LSAs considered PE to be an inclusive subject, the conceptualisation of which was left to them. However, developing PE provision that met the needs and optimised the capabilities of pupils with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and supporting pupils with SEND during team games and competitive sports, were identified as key challenges to inclusion in PE. This may be of concern to some educationalists given that these types of curriculum activities have recently been repositioned at the heart of PE in England. A key challenge for all those involved in educating pupils with SEND in PE, especially teachers and LSAs, is to plan and teach team games and competitive sports in ways that meet the needs of and stretch all pupils, in particular those with ASD.
- learning support assistants
- physical education
- special educational needs
- special educational needs coordinators.