Understanding professional issues in physical education: A Scottish insight

Murray Craig, Malcolm Thorburn, Rosemary Mulholland, Andrew Horrell, Michael Jess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Key to the effective enactment of policy and high quality learning and teaching in schools is a contemporary understanding of teachers’ beliefs, and an awareness of the professional issues which are particularly important to them. Despite a surge in academic and policy interest in physical education in Scotland, only two studies have examined teachers’ views on a range of professional issues in the last 25 years. To address this limitation, researchers at the University of Edinburgh designed the ‘Professional Issues in Physical Education Survey’ (PIPES) which aims to inform and support professional learning and research in physical education in future years. The article reports on the systematic development and piloting of PIPES, and how this reflected in the high degree of consensus the teachers reported for the professional issues identified. Findings indicated that concerns over pupil engagement, subject aims, curriculum time, resources and workload took precedence over more generic curriculum ambitions such as interdisciplinary learning and transitions. In addition, it is anticipated that the methodological groundwork undertaken in PIPES will be helpful in supporting other Anglophone countries to develop similar survey instruments particular to their own contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-100
Number of pages21
JournalScottish Educational Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2016


  • professional issues
  • policy enactment
  • physical education
  • physical education teachers’ views
  • pedagogical practices


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