Delivering sustainable practice? A case study of the Scottish Active Schools programme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Since 1999, concerns about Scotland's future health and economic performance have profoundly impacted on the new Scottish Executive. Research highlighting an obesity crisis facing young Scots has, together with the work of Scotland's Physical Activity Task Force and Physical Education Review Group, encouraged the education of all young Scots to be more physically active. One vehicle for this is the Active Schools programme that seeks to engage all school-aged children in an active lifestyle to improve current and future health. To do this, a network of 293 primary-school co-ordinators and 343 secondary-school co-ordinators seek to integrate sport and physical activities into young people's lives before, during and after school. However, using case study material from a Scottish local authority, policy as discourse theory and Foucault's writings on governmentality, I argue that official rhetoric championing increased activity sessions ignores how the programme's generalised inclusive discourse discouraged the targeting of inactive groups, and how the initial decision to fund people not young people's preferred activities encouraged an emphasis on delivery not co-ordination. Much stems from the Scottish Executive's use of sport for public relations purposes and (relatedly) sportscotland's limited evaluations, which discouraged the injection of expertise and attention to detail necessary to reach the inactive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-370
Number of pages18
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Active Schools
  • Scotland
  • Foucault
  • Power
  • Knowledge
  • Policy reinterpretations
  • Politics
  • Expertise


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