Primary physical education in a complex world (part 4): Advocating for the education in primary physical education

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


This is the final paper in our series of articles exploring the future of primary physical education through a complexity lens. Building on ideas presented in the first three articles, we now turn to the final part of our complexity framework: advocating for the education in primary physical education. Given the increased attention primary physical education has received in recent years, the number of stakeholders with a legitimate interest in primary physical education has increased markedly. In addition to those in the education profession, stakeholder groups now include those from the political, sporting, health, commercial and community sectors. While we acknowledge that the involvement of these different stakeholders will be crucial for the long-term future of primary physical education, we are conscious that these groups often have different, or even contradictory, views about the purpose of primary physical education, for example, the sport and competition agenda visible in the current English curriculum compared to the health and wellbeing goals in Scotland. In this article, we present the case that there is a need for the physical education profession to advocate for a ‘shifting perspectives’ agenda: an agenda that will see all stakeholders work together to agree a shared education vision for primary physical education. However, it is important we all recognise that delivering this ‘shifting perspectives’ agenda will not be simple and straightforward but a complex, long-term and messy process. In this final article of the series, we first consider how primary physical education currently finds itself in a particularly confusing and messy situation before discussing how key principles from complexity can help to frame the attempts of the physical education profession to advocate for education to be at the heart of primary physical education.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationPhysical Education Matters
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2020

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