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Consultancy and Research

PE is one of the largest and most established departments in the University and benefits from having a breadth of expertise and experience amongst its staff, most of whom have held senior PE teaching posts in schools and advisory services. Physical Education has an ethos of conducting highly relevant research that reflects and informs the professional activity of staff.

Continued research in their field has enabled many colleagues to earn eminent reputations. These combined effects enable us to be able to respond to the national PE agenda and to work with teachers and support school-based projects in a bespoke way. We are always pleased to work in partnership and/or provide short course/consultancy in areas that help schools to raise standards and support school improvement plans.

If you would like to speak to us in confidence please contact Alison Wakefield.


Studies are conducted in a number of academic disciplines and staff are actively involved in the research community, presenting at conference and publishing findings. Current research is outlined below with more detailed explanations available on the respective staff member’s profile.

A number of projects concerning the extent of obesity in West Sussex school children have been carried out by Dr Julia Potter who is exploring the relationship between body composition and aortic diameter.

She oversees studies in this field including the diagnosis and measurement of obesity in children and the relationship between muscle mass and strength in normal and overweight children. Her work has led to the introduction of school-based intervention strategies designed to encourage overweight and obese children to become physically active and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Within this area, Dr Maggie Boniface conducts qualitative research to gain an understanding of the experience children have of health intervention projects in school.

Also involved in narrative research, Dr Suzanne Everley researches children’s experiences of physical education and physical activity. Her most recent work concerns children involved in an obesity intervention project (New LEAF) run by the University and St Richard’s hospital where her focus is on the experiences of families.

PE specific research is currently being carried out by Melissa Mantle who is conducting interpretive work investigating PGCE student perceptions of inclusion in Physical Education.

The Department of Physical Education is also offering two PhD studentships; the first to investigate the physiological nature of children’s activity in schools and the second, the efficacy of intervention projects on eating and physical activity habits of children.