School inspections are a common tool all over the world to ensure good education as for the upcoming generations (Ehren & Visscher, 2006). School inspections have two main functions: i) to secure the quality of education and ii) to add more value to student’s achievement (Ehren & Visscher, 2006). Previous research has established the value of whole-school inspections. Yet, subject-level inspections have not been reported in the literature.
The current study aims to analyse the findings of the Irish Inspectorate reports on post-primary physical education (PE).
For this purpose, 53 inspections reports during the period of September 2016 and March 2019 were included and thematically analysed. A deductive approach on the findings of the reports followed the themes of the Inspectorate Framework for School Provision and Whole-School Support (SP&WSS), Planning and Programming (PP), and Teaching Learning and Assessment (TLA). Inductive analysis extended each theme to represent the main findings from the reports.
Initial findings show that TLA is the most addressed dimension (44%), followed by SP&WSS (31%) and PP (25%) in the PE inspection reports. By dimension, in PP, the school PE programme and subject planning is the most addressed sub-dimension (40%), followed by professional development and collaboration (27%). In TLA, the instructional aspects are most prevalent (66%), followed by the lesson social environment (27%). In SP&WSS, the support from management is the most frequently addressed (57%), followed by extra and co-curricular activities (15%). This study sheds light on the findings from the Irish inspectorate on post-primary PE and guides future research and practice deriving from a subject-level inspection process.