The outsourcing of health, sport and physical educational work: A state of play

Williams, Benjamin James, Hay, Peter James and Macdonald, Doune (2011) The outsourcing of health, sport and physical educational work: A state of play. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 16 4: 399-415. doi:10.1080/17408989.2011.582492

Author Williams, Benjamin James
Hay, Peter James
Macdonald, Doune
Title The outsourcing of health, sport and physical educational work: A state of play
Journal name Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1740-8989
Publication date 2011-10-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/17408989.2011.582492
Volume 16
Issue 4
Start page 399
End page 415
Total pages 17
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: The outsourcing of health, sport and physical educational (HSPE) work
has been a feature of physical education (PE) ‘futures talk’ for over 20 years.
However, HSPE work outsourcing has been the focus of little empirical research and
only occasional commentary. That small amount of empirical research that has been
conducted has been narrow in scope, focusing exclusively on primary schools and at
times presented data that are partial and fragmentary.
Purpose: The purpose of this paper was to investigate HSPE work outsourcing in the
Australian state of Queensland. Specifically, we examined the prevalence of such
outsourcing among Queensland schools, the ways that these schools were using it,
and the reasons why they had done so.
Methods: A random, proportionately stratified sample of 846 Queensland schools was
invited to participate in this study. This sample included government and nongovernment,
primary, secondary, combined primary-secondary and special schools.
Data were collected via a mixed-mode survey design that was implemented using
Internet and paper-copy forms of a context specific 21-item questionnaire.
Results: The questionnaire’s response rate was 32%. Simple relational analyses of the
data demonstrated that: (a) 85% (n ¼ 230) of schools reported outsourcing some
form of HSPE work in the previous twelve months; (b) many schools used
outsourced HSPE work for outdoor adventure activities and extra-curricular activities;
(c) 75% (n ¼ 203) of all respondents engaged in some form of fee-based outsourcing
and 83% of all outsourcing arrangements were fee-based; (d) the majority of schools
paid for outsourced HSPE work using school funds or by charging participating
students; and (e) the most frequently reported reason for outsourcing HSPE work was
to access external suppliers’ expertise.
Conclusions: These data replicate some findings of previous research in a different
research context as well as presenting forms of data on HSPE work outsourcing
hitherto unreported. Furthermore, they demonstrate the ways in which HSPE work is
embedded in broader social, political and economic shifts, particularly changing
relations between capital, education and the state. Finally they also serve to prompt
critical questions about why HSPE work is outsourced, how it is outsourced and the
impact it has on the educational labour process and all those involved in it. We
conclude that HSPE work outsourcing is a practice with the potential to significantly
disturb labouring, learning and the politics of expertise as they relate to health, sport
and physical education.
Keyword Outsourcing
Educational work
Physical education
School sport
External providers
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 30 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 42 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 30 Nov 2011, 19:08:42 EST by Deborah Noon on behalf of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences