Becoming a Primary Physical Educator

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous studies have reported that generalist primary teachers lack the confidence and competence to teach Physical Education (PE). In response, schools have outsourced PE to external providers. This paper examines data from an online survey of 175 pre-service teachers (PSTs) in England and their perceived confidence to teach primary PE. Findings showed PSTs had high levels of confidence across a breadth of knowledge areas, specifically in areas relating to lesson planning, health and fitness and the subject’s aims. Conversely, knowledge confidence was lowest in swimming, assessment and working with external providers. This paper argues that to address teacher confidence in PE, teachers must be positioned back as the main curriculum deliverers. An outcome of this research has been the development of a professional knowledge model for primary PE which recognises a breadth of professional knowledge needed to become a primary physical educator.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-146
Number of pages14
JournalEducation 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education
Issue number2
Early online date18 Mar 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Mar 2019


  • Primary physical education
  • initial teacher education
  • teacher knowledge

Cite this

Randall, V. (2019). Becoming a Primary Physical Educator. Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 48(2), 133-146.