Parents’ Perceptions of Secondary Physical Education

Lauren Earley, Matthew Fleet


There is a large quantity of research (Alguacil, 2018; Ciotto & Gagnon, 2018; McKenzie and Lounsbery, 2014) which states the importance Physical Education (PE) has in pupils’ lives. However, there is a state of decline for the status of the subject (Harris, 2018; Kirk et al., 2013). Parents perception is an under-researched area (Na, 2015; Yilmaz, 2018), especially in the UK, therefore, it is important parents’ beliefs are explored to understand an important stakeholder’s viewpoint. Purpose: To explore and gain an understanding of the perception’s parents have of Secondary PE, investigating what the perceptions are and why they have them. Methodology: This study uses a mixed-methods exploratory design to discover, the perceptions parents have on Secondary school PE, using a quantitative online survey and qualitative semi-structured interviews. 263 parents/guardians completed the survey, which was then followed by 8 parents taking part in the interviews. Results: From the data sets collected 5 themes were identified: Importance of PE; Teacher-Pupil relationship; PE in relation to other subjects; competitive nature of PE and impact PE has on confidence. 50% percent of parents did believe that PE is as important as subjects such Maths, English and Science, but, in comparison to other subjects 61% of parents do not favour PE overall.  With results demonstrating the growing awareness parents have of the crucial role PE plays in health and wellbeing for pupils. Conclusion: Although parents understand the importance of PE, parents perceptions differ on some aspects of the subject. This study is a starting point for other researchers and should be continued to be researched to support PE in the curriculum.  

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International Journal of Contemporary Education

ISSN 2575-3177 (Print)   ISSN 2575-3185 (Online)

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