Young people and lifelong participation in sport and physical activity: a sociological perspective on contemporary physical education programmes in England and Wales

Ken Green, Andy Smith, Ken Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Notwithstanding the apparent consensus in the UK over the last half a century that the ‘key goal’ of physical education (PE) is to prepare young people for lifelong participation in physical activity (Kirk, 2002), it is evident that the types of PE programmes and activities viewed as most likely to achieve this outcome remain a highly contentious issue. Grounded in sociological work on the ‘new condition’ of youth (Roberts, 1999), alongside data from various participation surveys in England and Wales, this paper responds to what is seen as the alleged failure of multi‐activity, sport‐based PE programmes to facilitate lifelong participation in sport and physical activity. It is argued that when developments in PE curricula in England and Wales are considered alongside trends in participation among young people, it is apparent that participation in sport and physical activity has become part of present‐day youth cultures. This may well be due, at least in part, to the ways in which multi‐activity PE programmes have facilitated the development of wide sporting repertoires among young people, by introducing them to a broad range of sports as well as ‘lifestyle activities’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-43
JournalLeisure Studies
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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