Cardiff Metropolitan University
Schooling, Physical Education and the primary-secondary transition.pdf (3.03 MB)

Schooling, Physical Education and the primary-secondary transition

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posted on 2022-10-07, 09:36 authored by Kieran Hodgkin
Preliminary evidence indicates that although there have been attempts to ensure continuity across the primary-secondary transition (Tobell, 2003), discontinuities remain and that there is a "hiatus in progression" (Galton et al., 2000). For pupils the transition to secondary school is a time of change leaving their small familiar primary school and entering a large unfamiliar secondary school. This thesis presents pupils' expectations and experiences of the primary-secondary transition, across the curriculum and specifically with regards to Physical Education (PE). The primary-secondary transition with regards to PE is marked by significant changes in resource provision, and a mode of delivery from (mainly) non-specialist teachers to subject specialists (Capel and Piotrowski, 2000).

As an exploratory case study, an ethnographic approach was adopted with "pupil-voice" a distinctive and central feature. Two phases of fieldwork were conducted. The first phase examined Year 6 (aged 10-11) pupils' expectations of the primary-secondary transition at Urban Primary and tracked these pupils into City Comprehensive to explore their experiences (June-October 2011). The second phase of fieldwork examined the particularities of the transition concerned with PE. Once more, expectations of Year 6 pupils at Urban Primary were explored and tracked into City Comprehensive (June-October, 2012).

Thematic inductive analysis was conducted and there were four super-ordinate findings which relate to: pupils' perceptions of the process of transition across the curriculum and with regards to PE; the notion of "being good enough"; social implications of transition; concept of "growing up"; teachers and teaching. Findings suggest that these factors contribute to a discontinuous experience for pupils during transition. Future research directions point towards a focus on academia across transition and a consideration of the development in physical competence within primary school settings. Throughout this thesis reflexivity and reflection were used to provide an insight into the research journey as part of the doctoral apprenticeship.

Thesis completed in 2014.



  • School of Education and Social Policy

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year