Lessons learned – Increasing participation of children with disabilities in Physical Education through a collaborative school and third sector partnership approach

Abstract

This paper reports on an evaluation of the Everton in the Community Pan-disability Coaching Programme, an initiative which is concerned with enhancing the inclusion of children with disabilities in PE in schools across Merseyside. It aims to provide young people with a positive experience of sport and to increase their fundamental physical skills and to raise self-esteem. It thus affords schools an opportunity to enhance their existing sporting provision through using the expertise of Everton in the Community coaches. As such, this initiative is located within the wider context of the Big Society, within which local communities and third sector organisations are empowered to be involved in the delivery of public services. The evaluation involved a mapping survey which revealed that pupils with disabilities, particularly those with physical disabilities, tended to have limited opportunities to take part in group games and found that individual activities/sports, such as gymnastics and swimming were the predominant provision in place for them. A post-intervention questionnaire complemented by interviews with students, parents/carers, teachers and coaches, showed that, whilst third sector delivery can provide a flexible and innovative approach, it can also pose substantial logistical, structural and cultural challenges. Based on the findings of this evaluation three areas have been identified as key to enhance the quality of the partnership: Relevant training for all those involved, generation of a sense of ownership amongst all members of the partnership and creation of a communicative space where all voices can be heard to ensure mutual engagement and collaboration.

Walker, C., Burton, D., Stanley, G., Jones, M., Blundel, M., May, S. and Walker, S. (2013) Lessons learned – Increasing participation of children with disabilities in Physical Education through a collaborative school and third sector partnership approach. Educationalfutures, [online] Vol. 1(6). Available at: http://educationstudies.org.uk/?p=1107 [Accessed 21 Sep, 2017].