Primary physical education in a complex world (part 1)

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Primary physical education has changed over the last decade. There has been the introduction of the European Primary Physical Education Network (EPPEN), the first international handbook for primary physical education (Griggs and Petrie, 2018), special editions in academic journals focussed on primary physical education and the first ever International Primary Physical Education Seminar at the AIESEP World Congress in 2018. Primary physical education is beginning to move forward and the next 20 years may prove to be very exciting. However, to make sure we build on these recent developments, everyone involved in primary physical education needs to come together: teachers, teacher educators, academics, researchers, managers, head teachers, policy makers and others. We need to recognise that developing primary physical education cannot be based on the ‘quick fix’ programmes that regularly appear on the scene. The development of primary physical education is a complex task and needs all the different stakeholders to work together. This long term journey will be difficult and messy but we believe it is critical for the future of primary physical education. This series of articles sets out to make a contribution to this long term, collaborative and complex agenda. The articles are based on key complexity principles that will help shape developments in three integrated areas: primary physical education curriculum and pedagogy; teachers’ professional development and advocacy for primary physical education (see Figure 1). This first article sets the scene for the series by explaining what we mean by complexity and then by presenting an overview of each of the three main areas for development. Future articles in the series will focus on each of these development areas: curriculum and pedagogy, teachers’ professional development and advocacy. The articles are based on a series of academic papers we have written previously and are referenced at the end of this first article.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationPhysical Education Matters
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2019


  • primary physical education
  • complexity


Dive into the research topics of 'Primary physical education in a complex world (part 1)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this