Quality Physical Education in Catalonia, promise and
reality: a European regional perspective
Agustí Castillo, Josep Solà i Enric M. Sebastiani
FPCEE Blanquerna- Universitat Ramon Llull
What is QPE about?
From the past years, since the first time theconcept came to light at the beginning of the XXI century until the last major
publication “Quality Physical Education, guidelines for policy-makers”1, QPE has been put as a priority policy for major
sporting organisations and governing bodies throughout Europe and the internationalarena.
Despite of the source worth of study there are a number of principles, range from better training for PE teachers to
changes in the implementation of an inclusive PE curriculum and structural improvements towards the subject such as
increasing number of hours. Classroom wise, acknowledging the diversity of the pupils; promoting a lifelong approach to
physical activity; improving mental, social and emotional fields and establishing a better monitoring patterns for the
subject; are some of the elements to take into account.
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With the support of:
Although there are individual developments led by enthusiastic professionals, the “promise-reality check” in Catalonia
indicates a low level of knowledge and implementation of QPE principles, a marginal appearance of QPE principles in
educational/training initiatives for PE teachers and a minor attention to the main international organisations that
publish relevant communications towards the transmission of the topic worth of study.
As many authors highlighted inthe past surveys, there are still continuing concerns related to many areas: insufficient
time allocation, perceived minor subject status, unequal provision of facilities and teaching materials between public
and private institutions, difficulty of adapting the PE reality to the maximum range of inclusion requirements, the
impossibility of reaching agreements on evaluating standards and systematic contradictions between the overall
understanding of the subject and the type of contents used in lessons.
The implementation of a European curriculumis mainly seen as a way of, not only improving the general vision related
to the subject, but as an opportunity to enhance professionalexchanging programs among PE teachers across Europe
in order to upgrade the level of knowledge about other curriculum realities, everyday Physical Education teaching
initiatives and contents.
References and relevant literature review
Comisión Europea/EACEA/Eurydice, 2013. La educaciónf ísica y el deporteen los centrosescolares de Europa. Informe Eurydice. Luxemburgo: Oficina de Publicacionesde la Unión Europea.
Corbin B.C., MausurierG.L., (200 6) Top 10 reasonsfor QualityPhysical Education. Journal of Physical Education Recreation and Dance 77 num. 6 August 2006. pp. 44-53
Creswell, J.W., & Plano Clark, V.L. (2007). Designingandconducting Mixed Methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. doi: 10.1177/1558689807306132
Hardman, K. (2014) Present andfutureissues in PhysicalEducation. Paper presented atthe 9th FIEP European Congress. Sofia, Bulgaria, 9-12 October 2014
Membersof ICSSPE’s International Committeeof Sport Pedagogy. (2012) International Benchmarksfor PhysicalEducation Systems. bythe International Council of SportScience and Physical Education.1
McLennan, N. & Thompson, J. (2015) QualityPhysical Education, Guidelines for Policy- Makers. United NationsEducational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (2015), Paris, France.
Scheuer, C., (2014) Europeanperspectives of QualityPhysical Education (QPE) Conferenceat H ungarianInternational Conference on Physical Education, Budapest, 16-18 Sept. 2014
United NationsEducational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (2013). Declaration. MINEPS V, Berlin, 28-30 May 2013.
Do we know QPE principles an how to use them in schools or is just a theoretical concept?
To know up to what extent the policyis reaching school settings, it is important to study if there is an existing gap
between what has been planned and published (promise); and what has been implemented by PE teachers during
everyday lessons (reality).
Catalonia as a regional perspective
Catalonia is a western Mediterranean region of Europe, with a population of 7,5 million. The autonomous
government takes direct and indirect care of 1,5million pupils in compulsory education and over 120.000 teachers.
As an autonomous region has its own educationalcompetences which grants the right to deliver an independent PE
curriculum from the rest of the Spanish state.
1.- There is a widespread knowledge about QPE that enhance educational opportunities.
2.- PE teachers’ training has paid attention and applied QPE princi ples.
3.- The implem entationof a European PE cur riculum is largely supported by PE teachers across the region.
The overall purpose of the survey was to assess the factualimplementation of QPE
principles in school placements, following the theoretical patterns currently
established by many institutions and in order to disseminate the principles among
PE teachers and training institutions.
A multi-method approach was adoptedwith analysis of a range of sources
comprising on-line questionnaires, interviews, focus group/experts’
intervention qualitative research and comprehensive literature review.
Sampling process was to reach qualitative approach after a quantitative setting.
3 Focus Group
Several agents were involved during the process to enhance plurality.
School Physical Education teachers
Physical Education coordinators
PE training professionals from universities
Regional academic organizations
PE regional teaching association governing body
Level of QPE knowledge
Yes, I use them regularly
Yes, but never implemented
Yes, but external factors
No, I have never heard about
European curriculum implementation
QPE presence in Teachers’ training
No, there is no need of deploying an European PE curriculum
No, there are too many differences among European countries
Yes, it would help to generate professional exchange
Yes, it would help to improve view on PE
Yes, but only as a general overview
Discussion and future actions
Some PE Teachers associations have published documentation related to QPE in order to progressively implement its
principles. The main professional PE teachers organisation in Europe, EUPEA, has produced a “Code ofE thics& Good
Practice Guide for PE” and “Physical Education Guidelines” to establish European benchmarks to evaluate PE with
regard to its quality and creating an observatorywith systems and mechanisms for monitoring QPE policy making and
Catalan wise and after discussing the outcomes of the study, the actors have come to a conclusion that there are a
number of initiatives that have to be taken in order to improve QPE level of knowledge and implementation:
•Selecting school placements that have a better understanding of QPE principles for future teachers to develop
their internship period and facilitate university group visits to these schools during teacher training.
•Have a regional university led forum that organises regular meetings and congresses to share individual and
institutional QPE friendly initi ativesthat have been successfully put in practice dur ing PE lessons and programs.
•Establish a better process of moni toring recently trained teachers dur ing their first year of professional practice.
•Develop a regional university advise centre to help schools and colleges to achieve a QPE friendly environment.
•Accompany the regional educational institutions in the creation of a fully certified QPE curriculum.
•Initiate a regional marketing campaign to explain what is the meaning and dimension of QPE to all the agents
involved in the educational process (government, policy-makers, schools, teaching associations…).
•Following the campaign, create a seal of qualityfor the schools and colleges that have successfully implemented
the QPE principles and give achievementawards away with a number of attractive benefits.
On-line questionnaire, European version:
On-line questionnaire, Catalan study: