Can cultures really change?
: The impact of Specialist Sports College status on an English High School

  • Carla Solvason

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research explores the development of a Specialist Sports College within a framework of educational justice. It asks whether the development of the Specialist School can really mean equality of opportunity for all children, when some schools will, as a result, receive considerably more funding than others. It also considers the contentious policy location of the Specialist Sports College, found somewhere between ideologies of health and fitness for all and the development of elite sportsmen and women of the future. By investigating the transformation of one school into a Specialist College using a Case Study approach, this research explores the concept of transforming a school’s culture, and questions the Government’s expectations within this concept arena. What are the micro, lived effects of the macro policy of the Specialist School? By exploring the key themes that emerged through the data I conclude that transforming cultures is a far more complicated task than the Government perceive and also that the introduction of a single subject specialism may, in reality, lead to more division than unity. I also question whether PE can ever be a subject area that truly offers the possibility of success for all.
Date of Award2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
  • University of Worcester

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