South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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The Voice of Margaret Talbot on Physical Education and School Sport: A Tribute

KJ van Deventer


On 2 December 2014, Professor Margaret Talbot sadly passed away after a long illness. In this tribute, the focus will be on her advocacy efforts regarding school Physical Education (PE) in the UK. She believed that PE was the greatest asset in education, but that the Western body-mind dualism was one of the greatest threats to the survival of PE. PE benefited from the high profile enjoyed by sport in 2001 in the UK. In 2007, it was declared that children in the UK would receive five hours of PE and school sport, with two hours devoted to school PE. Although PE is a statutory requirement for all children, a systemic weakness in initial Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) for primary schools existed. There was limited recognition and support for the unique role of school PE, as the only means to provide every child the chance to learn the skills and knowledge to achieve physical literacy and social competences. A case for PE could be made on health grounds alone, but the UK based Association for Physical Education (afPE), believed that it must be made in educational terms. The year 2008 saw an ‘independent review’ of the primary school curriculum, led by Sir Rose, but his remit did not include PE as a subject. The afPE made a strong case for PE to this Review. Safely, it could be said that Sir Rose had been consistent in promising nothing and in keeping his word.

Keywords: Margaret Talbot, Tribute, Physical Education, School Sport, Politics, Advocacy and Policy

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