Physical education through time
The development of physical education in Northern Ireland was in some ways reflective of events about this subject in England in the years immediately before the Second World War, but, as will be shown, there were distinct differences.
Physical Education was taught in many of Northern Ireland’s schools, but the facilities and levels of staff expertise meant that standards remained low in comparison with some other nations in Western Europe. While the need for a physical education college in Northern Ireland had been dismissed in the immediate aftermath of the British Government’s Physical Training and Recreation Act of 1937, by the early 1940s the realisation that this was necessary was clear to the Northern Ireland government. It was the 1947 Education Act which cemented this belief.
The general failure of Northern Ireland candidates in their applications for a scholarship system, based in England’s physical training colleges, highlighted to key policy makers that something needed to be done to increase the number of Northern Ireland-based physical education teachers, and to improve their levels of qualifications to teach the subject.
In 1953 a physical education college was established at Jordanstown and this lecture also looks at the immediate build up to the development of this facility.