What sort of ‘inclusion’ is Continuing Professional Development promoting? An investigation of a national CPD programme for inclusive physical education
School of Education
Inclusion is positioned at the forefront of global educational reform. The study reported focused on a national Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme for Inclusive Physical Education (IPE) in England. The research was designed to critically explore how CPD providers (i.e. tutors) variously conceptualised and practiced inclusion in the context of running a day-long CPD course for physical education teachers. Using qualitative methodology, data were collected via course observations (n = 27), informal interviews with tutors (n = 10), and a tutor questionnaire (n = 18). Findings suggest that although tutors’ theoretical interpretations of inclusion were largely consistent with contemporary, broad understandings, there was notable variability and inherent tensions in the ways they talked about and enacted inclusion in practice. In many instances, inclusion was infused with particular perceptions about ability and ability grouping. Only a small number of tutors encouraged teachers to question and ‘disturb’ their current practices. Findings from this research extend insights into the contested nature of inclusion in contemporary PE and highlight the need for research to engage with multiple stakeholders in physical education teaching and CPD. This research reflects that CPD providers have a key role to play in extending teachers’ understandings of inclusive pedagogy.