A paradox or a culture of acceptance? The idiosyncratic workforce delivering health education in lower secondary government schools in Western Australia

Donna Barwood, Dawn Penney, Christine Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Internationally, research has repeatedly highlighted the marginal and apparently precarious position of Health and Physical Education (HPE) in schools. It has also consistently identified staffing as a key concern in relation to prospects for quality teaching and learning. This paper reports on mixed-methods research that has specifically addressed these concerns in exploring current staffing for health education (HE) in Western Australia (WA). The research sample for the study comprised 75 teachers. The data presented raises serious questions about the capacity of schools and teachers to deliver on national policy intentions to provide all Australian children with an education that effectively supports their current and future health and well-being. Discussion of data addresses professional standards for teachers, teacher preparation in HPE and professional learning for teachers. Developments in all of these areas are identified as necessary to position HE as a key site for meaningful and valuable health learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-209
Number of pages17
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • health and physical education
  • Health education
  • professional learning
  • teacher education
  • teacher standards

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