The effects of PE across the primary-secondary school transition

Children’s motivation for school physical education (PE) lessons has been found to be associated with their attitudes and behaviour towards general physical activity, and their physical self-concept.  Physical activity is known to decline during adolescence and there is evidence that motivation and self-perception can be significantly affected during the transition from primary to secondary school. However, this is the first study to focus on changes in relation to PE that take place across this transition.

This longitudinal quantitative study investigated changes in children’s perceptions of the teacher- and peer-created motivational climate in PE lessons; motivation towards PE; physical self-concept; and physical activity behaviour. The researchers explored relationships between these factors using multi-level modelling. Both secondary schools and their feeder primary schools participated in the study, with data collected from 545 children. The researchers collected data from validated questionnaires during school PE lessons at three points before and after transition to secondary school.

Project details



Dr Ian Taylor and Dr Christopher Spray, Loughborough University

Funding programme:

Social Science Small Grants Scheme

Grant amount and duration:


1 April 2011 – 31 May 2012