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Rachel Mackinney

Programme Coordinator Physical Education in the Primary Years

Rachel coordinates primary physical education across two programmes: PE in the Primary Years and Primary Teaching with Physical Education Specialism (QTS). As a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy Rachel supports the development of teaching and learning within physical education and the wider university. This role involves teaching and mentoring staff on the universities PGCert programme.

Regular visits to local schools to carry out observations as part of school experience ensures that Rachel keeps up to date with current policy and practice. This is further supported by her consultancy role in primary schools which provides an opportunity to work with teachers on the ground working in real classrooms with real children. Rachel’s approach to teaching is therefore both research and practice informed.

As an academic advisor Rachel supports students in reviewing their feedback and setting targets to maximise their academic potential. This role also involves supporting students through other challenges they may face during their time at university.



  • 2018 Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • 2005-2007  Master in Education, University of Brighton
  • 1995-1997  PGCE Physical Education and Geography, University of Loughborough
  • 1992-1995  BA (Hons) Sports Studies and Geography, University of Wolverhampton                

Professional activities, roles and memberships:

  • Senior Fellow:  Higher Education Academy
  • Primary Physical Education Teacher Education Network
  • Association of Physical Education



Online Resources

Online PE confidence series, Coachwise.

PE Confidence: Assessing Progress in PE

PE Confidence: Organisation in Primary PE

PE Confidence: Planning Primary PE


Mackinney, R. (2020). Value of video-recorded sessions with simultaneous audio feedback

to pre-service teachers. Physical Education Matters, 15 (2), 72-74.  

Mackinney, R., Pulling, C., & Kelly, J. (2020). The Effect of Feedback Type on Academic Performance" to Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship  

of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.  Submitted to: Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 

Lavin, J., Mackinney, R., & Swindlehurst, G. (2013). The National Curriculum for Physical Education KS1 and KS2: No play, no health, no creativity, no problem solving, no progress? PE Matters, 8 (3) 22-25

Mackinney, R. (2012). Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities: giving our student teachers the support they need. PE Matters, 7 (3), 60-61


Mackinney, R., Eldridge, D., Prior, M., & Pulling, C. (2013) Thinking Games: Primary Key Stage 2 Invasion Games. Thinking Sport Ltd


Research Interests:

Feedback is arguably the most important aspect of an assessment process but its impacts are highly variable. Rachel’s research interest has explored the ways in which we give students feedback (written, audio and face to face) and the impact this has on student performance in subsequent assessments.

When pre-service teachers needed high quality feedback on their teaching because some mentors in school lacked the confidence in physical education, Rachel sought other opportunities.  Feedback on teaching is now available during university sessions utilising video with voice over. The consensus from student interviews is that this is a valuable tool for feedback and they perceived  an improvement in their teaching as a result.

The next stage of Rachel’s research will use a modified version of the Coach Analysis and Intervention System (CAIS; Cushion et al., 2012) with a focus on measuring secondary physical education teachers use of feedback within games lessons. It is hoped that this will provide a greater insight into how effectively feedback is used to promote pupil progress.