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Dr Rachael Jefferson-Buchanan | Curriculum and Extended Opportunities | PE



Dr Rachael Jefferson-Buchanan

Lecturer in Human Movement Studies (Health and Physical Education) and Creative Arts, Charles Sturt University, NSW, Australia

I am a Plymouth girl, born and bred, and I was raised there until I left to attend Brighton Polytechnic in Eastbourne (Chelsea School of Human Movement) to study a BEd (Hons) in physical education and special educational needs. I specialised in dance, and have always had a fascination for how the body functions and thrives at all ages and stages. This led to me becoming a fundamental movement skills (FMS) specialist over time. I was the UK consultant for Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) (STEPS PD, Perth, Australia) for 5 years, which served to intensify my passion for working with teachers, teacher education students, and children in the early years/primary sector. This role was also a catalyst for the writing of my book: ‘Fundamental Fun: 132 activities to develop fundamental movement skills’. My book is available for purchase from me directly: (40 AUD or 23.00 GBP, including p&p).

As well as regularly returning to Plymouth to see family who still live there, my connection with Mayflower Community Academy began in 2016. My sister was working there and suggested my services to them as they were looking to invest in physical education. I duly offered a FMS workshop for staff to help them to learn how to teach and analyse skills, whilst simultaneously considering how to develop them throughout the school day in play-based ways. This workshop was recorded by Kirklees Local Television (KLTV), who produced a video to showcase the work that was taking place. The school was given several copies of my book and they have been working with these ideas for the last few years, implementing them into the school day.

I have more than 30 years of experience in education, teaching, leading, and managing arts and physical education activities. Most of these years have been spent in international contexts, as after two years of teaching in the UK, I moved to Switzerland where I was head of physical education and GCSE Performing Arts at the International School of Geneva for 13 years. In 2004, I returned to my home country to take up a senior lecturer post in physical education, dance, education studies and primary professional practice at Bath Spa University, coordinating the primary postgraduate physical education programme, creating and teaching dance, health and movement modules on the undergraduate degree, and supervising masters students in the Professional Masters Programme. In February 2013 I began my current lecturing post at Charles Sturt University. I completed my PhD in 2019, which was entitled: 'A genealogy of the governance of the body in physical education in England from 1902 to 2016'.

I have extensive experience in writing and leading professional development for teachers within the UK and over a number of years I took on a more international role as the lead consultant for physical education in Cambridge Assessment International Education projects. This involved designing and implementing primary and secondary physical education curriculum plans, units of work, teaching guides and related professional development for several years in Egypt, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. During 2018-2019 I worked for Cambridge University Press on the UNESCO STEM (Strengthening Teacher Education in Myanmar) project, supporting teacher educators in physical education and reviewing their new draft syllabus documents. Across 2020 I was offered the role of lead expert in a UNICEF-Montrose project in Myanmar. This provided support for the Ministry of Education in a sport-inclusion initiative focusing on Rakhine State. 

What is inspiring me at the moment in physical education is the notion of embodied wellbeing. I am trained in yoga and mindfulness, and I am fascinated by how the body responds to environmental stressors and how we can use certain bodily techniques to calm ourselves down and self-regulate. I am currently the lead for a new Australian research project in embodied wellbeing, where I am working with industry to create related online modules for staff professional development. This will be followed up with large-scale national research about the training impact. 

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PhD thesis available here: ‘A genealogy of the governance of the body in physical education in England from 1902 to 2016’.

AUTHOR: ‘Fundamental fun: 132 activities to develop fundamental movement skills’. Link available HERE: