The physical education and physical literacy (pepl) approach: a multicomponent primary school intervention targeting physical literacy

Richard Telford, Lisa Olive, Richard Keegan, Lisa M. Barnett

    Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


    Background: Physical education (PE) may be the centrepiece of school physical literacy programs, yet there remains concerning evidence of the ineffectiveness of current primary school PE, with implications for lifelong physical activity and health. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a jurisdiction Education Department funded multicomponent approach to improve the development of childhood physical literacy.

    Method: In this cluster-based randomized controlled trial, the ‘physical education and physical literacy’ (PEPL) approach was evaluated. The PEPL approach involved the appointment of a PEPL coach to seven schools for one school year. Major roles were to improve delivery and frequency of PE; to improve professional development of the classroom teachers; to increase opportunities for physical activities; and to create links with community sport. Seven schools continued their usual practice and constituted the control group. Pre-and-post assessments were collected at the level of the students: physical activity (accelerometers), fundamental movement skills (Test of Gross Motor development battery), student attitudes towards PE and self-perceptions of physical abilities (both via validated self-report questionnaires); and classroom teacher: PE-lessons were assessed by systematic observation (SOFIT). To understand general acceptance and opinions of the PEPL approach, post intervention interviews were conducted with principals, classroom teachers and students.

    Results: The PEPL coach diarised reports showed that the PEPL approach had all teachers implementing classroom physical activity breaks and a classroom teacher or PEPL coach led PE lesson into their weekly schedule. Beneficial effects (intervention classroom teachers v control) were found in PE class instructional time (β = 1.69; SE = 0.76; p = 0.05); and enhanced object control (β=1.62; SE = 0.61; p = 0.008). There was also a trend toward increased accelerometer measured MVPA during school time (β=4.50; SE = 2.39; p = 0.058). At the community level, the PEPL coach facilitated access to a national sports coaching scheme set out by the Australian Sports Commission. Qualitative data analyses showed the PEPL approach to be highly-valued and well-accepted by principals, staff, and students.

    Conclusions: This trial demonstrated that the PEPL approach was well accepted and beneficial to primary-school classroom teachers and principals. Our data suggest that classroom teachers are likely to gain a new appreciation of the value of PE, introducing it into their weekly teaching schedules with improved competency. Our data also suggest that the PEPL approach contributed to the development of aspects of student physical literacy, with evidence of increased object control and MVPA during school time, and increased motivation for physical activity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-21
    Number of pages1
    JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
    Event2019 ASICS SMA Conference 23rd – 26th October

    - Novotel Twin Waters, Sunshine Coast, Australia
    Duration: 23 Nov 201926 Oct 2020


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