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Public Lecture: Good to Grow? Realising the Developmental Potential of Physical Education and Youth Sport

A group of four young children playing tennis
Date and Time
11th October 2023, 17:30 - 18:30
The event has passed


This public lecture was delivered by Dr Oliver Hooper, Lecturer in Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, and Dr Rachel Sandford, Senior Lecturer in Young People and Sport at Loughborough University, in October 2023.

In this talk, Dr Oliver Hooper and Dr Rachel Sandford examined commonly held notions around the ‘Power of Sport’ to inform, empower and transform. Focusing in particular on the experiences of children and young people, they discussed the potential of physical education and youth sport for promoting positive youth development and consider the importance of ensuring equitable access for all young people.

Drawing upon their extensive research with marginalised youth – and utilising the voices of participants themselves – they outlined the challenges that some youth populations face in accessing physical education and youth sport, and thereby the developmental opportunities such activities might provide.

They suggest some ways forward for both policy and practice and consider how to truly realise the developmental potential for all young people.

Dr Oliver Hooper is a Lecturer in Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. Oliver’s research explores young people’s experiences within physical education, health, and youth sport contexts with a specific focus on the experiences of marginalised youth, such as those that are care experienced, LGBTQ+ or who have been excluded from mainstream schooling. He is particularly interested in ‘youth voice’ and his work draws extensively on participatory methods to facilitate young people’s meaningful involvement within research. Oliver has published various articles, papers and book chapters in these areas and routinely attends international conferences to present on this work. He is a convenor for the Sport Pedagogy Network of the European Educational Research Association and is an Editorial Board Member for Sport, Education and Society, the British Educational Research Journal and Frontiers in Sports and Active Living.

Dr Rachel Sandford is a Senior Lecturer in Young People and Sport in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. She also leads the undergraduate Sport Science, Coaching and Physical Education programme, contributing teaching related to critical pedagogy and the sociology of physical education. Rachel’s research centres on young people’s development in/through sport, physical activity and physical education. She has a particular interest in issues related to popular culture, embodied identity, and positive youth development, with recent work focused on care experienced youth. Her work is underpinned by a youth voice perspective and a desire to facilitate meaningful involvement in research for children and young people. Rachel has published widely in refereed journals and books in the areas of sociology, physical education and health and has given invited presentations of her work to international audiences. Rachel is also the link convenor for the sport pedagogy network of the European Educational Research Association.

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