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Flintoff, A (2008)
Languages: English
Types: Article
The School Sport Partnership Programme (SSPP) is one strand of the national strategy for physical education and school sport in England, the physical education and school sport Club Links Strategy (PESSCL). The SSPP aims to make links between school physical education (PE) and out of school sports participation, and has a particular remit to raise the participation levels of several identified under-represented groups, of which girls and young women are one. National evaluations of the SSPP show that it is beginning to have positive impacts on young people's activity levels by increasing the range and provision of extra curricular activities (Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED), 2003, 2004, 2005; Loughborough Partnership, 2005, 2006). This paper contributes to the developing picture of the phased implementation of the programme by providing qualitative insights into the work of one school sport partnership with a particular focus on gender equity. The paper explores the ways in which gender equity issues have been explicitly addressed within the 'official texts' of the SSPP; how these have shifted over time and how teachers are responding to and making sense of these in their daily practice. Using participation observation, interview and questionnaire data, the paper explores how the coordinators are addressing the challenge of increasing the participation of girls and young women. The paper draws on Walby's (2000) conceptualisation of different kinds of feminist praxis to highlight the limitations of the coordinators' work. Two key themes from the data and their implications are addressed: the dominance of competitive sport practices and the PE professionals' views of targeting as a strategy for increasing the participation of under-represented groups. The paper concludes that coordinators work within an equality or difference discourse with little evidence of the transformative praxis needed for the programme to be truly inclusive. © 2008 Taylor & Francis.

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