School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Staff

Dr Rebecca Duncombe PhD, BAHons, PGCE (primary), Associate Fellow of the HEA

Photo of Dr Rebecca Duncombe

Dr Rebecca Duncombe was appointed as a Teaching Fellow in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences in October 2013. Prior to this, she was a Research Associate within the Institute of Youth Sport (IYS) for 8 years, working on a range of research projects focused predominantly on positive youth development (PYD), physical activity promotion, and high quality teaching and learning in Physical Education.  More recently, she has turned her research attention towards looking at the link between movement and learning, and the impact that poor physical development has on young children in the early years and when they start school. Before beginning her PhD at Loughborough University, Rebecca was a generalist primary school teacher with responsibility for the coordination of Physical Education within the school.

After two years of teaching, Rebecca applied to do a PhD within the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences and, in October 2005, she completed her doctoral thesis, entitled: 'Effective teacher learning in primary school physical education: An analysis of school-based collaborative professional learning as a strategy for teacher professional development'.

Rebecca completed her BA (Hons) degree at The University of Leicester (Psychology, Sociology and History) in July 1997 and gained her Post Graduate Certificate of Education at Homerton College, University of Cambridge, in July 1999.

Research interests include:

  • Early Years physical development, physical activity and physical literacy;
  • Physically active play;
  • Primary Physical Education;
  • Positive youth development through sport and physical activity;
  • The promotion of physical activity to young people;
  • Engaging young people in PE, sport and physical activity;
  • High quality teaching and learning in PE;
  • Issues of social inclusion/exclusion within sport, physical activity and PE;
  • School swimming.

She has worked on a number of projects related to these themes:

  • British Academy Grant ‘Right to be active: examining the sport/physical activity experiences of looked after children in England’ (2016-2018)
  • Youth Sport Trust ‘Secondary School interventions in the School Games’ (2015-2016)
  • British Gymnastics ‘Gymnastics as a Foundation Sport’ (2015-2016)
  • Leicester-shire and Rutland Sport (LRS) ‘Mapping a Physical Literacy Pathway for 0-5s in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland’ (2014-2015)
  • Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) ‘School Swimming Research: Increasing School Swimming Participation in England’ (2013 – 2014)
  • British Heart Foundation (BHF) ‘Supporting Secondary Schools in the Effective Promotion of Physical Activity and Health’ project (2010 – 2014)
  • Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) ‘School Swimming Research: Increasing Primary School Swimming Participation in England’ (2013)
  • Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) Project Froebel: The development of an early year's tennis offer (2013)
  • SSEHS development GrantEarly Learning and Physical Development (2012)
  • Gems Education ‘The Role of Sport/Physical Activity within a Blended Learning Model’ (2012).
  • Prince’s Trust ‘Opportunity Inspired by London 2012’ (2012)
  • British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) ‘Examining the impact of toys on children’s physical activity’(2011 - 2012)  
  • Matalan 'yoUR Activity' (2011-2012)
  • Living Streets'Free Your Feet' (2011)
  • Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF)'Turning Girls Back onto Sport'(2010 – 2011)
  • BskyB'Sky Sport Living For Sport' (2005-2010)
  • BskyB'changingLIVES' (2005 – 2008)
  • Deutsche Bank'Moving Generations' (2007 – 2008)
  • High Quality Teaching and Learning in Physical Education project (2003 – 2007)

Rebecca has presented much of this research at a number of national and international conferences relating to sociological and educational issues.

Rebecca is currently involved in a research project with Professor Pat Preedy (an independent early years consultant) called ‘Movement for Learning’. The research looks at the impact of a programme of activities designed to be delivered to foundation stage children (aged 4-5) on a daily basis in primary schools. Preliminary analysis of the data indicates that the programme has an impact on general levels of physical development (as compared to a control class) as well as on handwriting, behaviour, concentration, ‘readiness to learn’ and swimming. The research has also demonstrated that young children are starting school with levels of physical development below what would be desirable for children of this age. For more information, see: http://www.schoolstogether.org/case-studies/movement-for-learning/

Rebecca is a consultant for the Twins and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA) and advises on research quality as well as issues relating to Physical Education, physical activity and physical development in young children.

She is also a member of the organising committee for the British Educational Research Association’s Physical Education Special Interest Group. 

  • Cale, L., Harris, J. & Duncombe, R. (in press) Promoting Physical Activity in Secondary Schools: Growing Expectations, ‘Same Old’ Issues? European Physical Education Review, doi: 10.1177/1356336X15623774
  • Duncombe, R., Cale, L. & Harris, J. (in press): Strengthening ‘the foundations’ of the primary school curriculum, Education 3-13, DOI:10.1080/03004279.2016.1185137
  • Butler, C., Duncombe, R., Sandford, R. & Mason, C. (2016) Recruitments, engagements and partitions: Managing participation in play. International Journal of Play, 5(1), 47-63.
  • Sandford, R., Duncombe, R., Mason, C. & Butler, C. (2015) Ability to be Active: Exploring children’s active play in primary schools. International Journal of Play, 4(2), 149-162.
  • Stirrup, J., Duncombe, R. & Sandford, R. (2015) ‘Intensive Mothering’ in the early years: the cultivation and consolidation of (physical) capital. Sport, Education and Society, 20(1), 89-106.
  • Edwardson, C.E., Gorely, T., Musson, H., Duncombe, R. & Sandford, R.A. (2014) Does Activity-Related Social Support Differ by Characteristics of the Adolescent? Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 11(3), 574-580
  • Armour, K., Sandford, R.A. & Duncombe, R. (2013) Positive Youth Development and Physical Activity/Sport Interventions: Mechanisms Leading to Sustained Impact, Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy. 18 (3), 256-281.
  • Armour, K. & Duncombe, R. (2012) Changing Lives? Critical Evaluation of a School-based Athlete Role Model Intervention, Sport Education and Society.  17 (3), 381-403. 
  • Armour, K., Sandford, R. & Duncombe, R. (2011) Right to be active: 'looked after children' in physical education and sport, in K. Armour (Ed), Sport Pedagogy: An introduction for teaching and coaching, London: Prentice Hall.
  • Sandford, R. & Duncombe, R. (2011) Disaffected youth in physical education and youth sport, in K. Armour (Ed), Sport Pedagogy: An introduction for teaching and coaching, London: Prentice Hall.
  • Cale, L., Webb, L., Waring, M. & Duncombe, R. (2011) An intervention to facilitate 'high quality' physical education – from gymnastics to athletics. Physical Education Matters, 6 (3), 35-37.
  • Cale, L., Waring, M., Webb, L. & Duncombe, R. (2011) Facilitating 'high quality' physical education and 'high quality' gymnastics: an intervention in a city school. Physical Education Matters, 6 (2), 38-39.
  • Sandford, R.A., Armour, K.M. & Duncombe, R. (2010) Finding their Voice: Disaffected Youth Insights on Sport/Physical Activity Interventions, in: M. O'Sullivan & A. MacPhail (Eds), Young People's Voices in Physical Education and Sport, London: Routledge.
  • Armour, K.M., Makopoulou, F., Chambers, F, & Duncombe, R. (2010). Career-long professional learning for the professional physical education teacher. In Bailey (Ed). Physical Education for Learning, London: Continuum.
  • Sandford, R., Armour, K. & Duncombe, R. (2008) Physical Activity and Personal/Social Development for Disaffected Youth: In Search of Evidence, in: N. Holt (Ed) Positive Youth Development and Sport, London: Routledge.
  • Sandford, R.A., Duncombe, R. & Armour, K. (2008) The role of physical activity/sport in tackling youth disaffection and anti-social behaviour. Educational Review, 60 (4), 419-435.
  • Cale, L., & Duncombe, R. (2008) Achieving 'high quality' physical education: an intervention in a city school. Education and Health, 26 (2), 28-29.
  • Armour, K. M. & Duncombe, R. (2004) Teachers' continuing professional development in primary physical education: lessons from present and past to inform the future. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 9 (1), 3-21.
  • Duncombe, R. & Armour, K.M. (2004) Collaborative professional learning: From theory to practice. Journal of In-Service Education, 30 (1), 141-166.

Presentations

  • Duncombe, R. Cale, L. & Bond, L. (2014) To Swim or Not to Swim?
    Issues Surrounding the Provision of Swimming in English Primary Schools. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association’s annual conference, London, September.
  • Bond, L. & Duncombe, R. (2014) Paddling through their Teens: Issues surrounding the provision of swimming in English secondary schools. Poster presented at the Association for Physical Education’s annual conference, Burton-on-Trent, July.
  • Duncombe, R., Cale, L. & Harris, J. (2014) Promoting Physical Activity in Secondary Schools: Issues and Needs. Presentation at the Health Literacy and Physical Activity conference, Nottingham, February.
  • Sandford, R., Duncombe, R. & Mason, C. (2014) We expected it to be like a PE lesson, but it wasn’t…it was fun! - Using alternative activities to enhance engagement in physical education and school sport. Poster presented at the Association for Physical Education’s annual conference, Burton-on-Trent, July.
  • Sandford, R., Duncombe, R., Musson, H. & Gorely, T. (2012) Exploring Girls’ Views of Fun and Competition in Sport/Physical Activity. Poster presented at The Teaching Games for Understanding Conference, Loughborough, July.
  • Duncombe, R. (2013) Physical Development, Physical Activity (and Tennis) in the Early Years. Paper Presented at the Sport for Health Conference, Brunel (November).
  • Stirrup, J., Duncombe, R., Sandford, R. & Evans, J. (2012) Privatising Pre School Physical Education and Sport: Preparing to Succeed. Paper Presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education Annual Conference, Sydney, December.
  • Thompson, D., Jackson, C., Gollings Jackson, L., Duncombe, R. & Mason, C  (2012) Multi-media findings from Opportunity 2012. Paper Presented at the Insitute of Youth Sport Conference, November.
  • Duncombe, R., Sandford, R., Morris, J. & Maddox, D. (2012) Young people’s attitudes towards school and PE in England: Findings from the ‘You, School and PE’ Survey. Paper Presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, Cadiz, (September).
  • Musson, H., Duncombe, R., Harris, J. & Cale, L. (2012) Young People’s Knowledge, Understanding and Misconceptions about Health, Fitness and Physical Activity. Paper Presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, Cadiz, (September).
  • Harris, J., Cale, L., Duncombe, R. & Musson, H. (2012) Activating Young People: Helping Secondary Schools to Effectively Promote Physical Activity. Paper Presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, Cadiz, (September).
  • Mason, C. & Duncombe, R. (2012) Opportunity 2012: Young Researchers’ Experiences. Paper Presented at the Sport and Society Conference, Cambridge (July).
  • Duncombe, R., Harris, J. & Cale, L. (2011) Primary PE: What's the problem? What's the solution? Paper Presented at the British Educational Research Association's Annual Conference, London, UK (September).
  • Sandford, R.A., Duncombe, R., Musson, H. & Gorely, T. (2011) Exploring Girls' Views of Fun & Competition in Sport/Physical Activity. Paper Presented at the British Educational Research Association's Annual Conference, London, UK (September).
  • Sandford, R.A. & Duncombe, R. (2010) Facilitating inclusion through physical activity programmes for disaffected young people. Paper presented at the Institute of Youth Sport researching Youth Sport conference, Loughborough, UK (November).
  • Sandford, R.A., Armour, K.M. & Duncombe, R. (2009) Putting Words in their Mouths?: Seeking authentic disaffected youth insights on sport/physical activity interventions. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Manchester, UK (September).
  • Sandford, R.A., Armour, K.M. & Duncombe, R. (2009) Positive Adults for Positive Youth Development in Physical Activity Interventions: Negotiating Boundaries. Paper presented at the AIESEP Specialist Symposium, Pensacola FL, USA (September).
  • Sandford, R.A., Duncombe, R., Armour, K.M. & Stewart, K.E. (2008) Youth Disaffection and Anti-Social Behaviour in Education: Physical Activity/Sport Interventions and Sustainable Impact. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Conference, New York, US (April).
  • Duncombe, R. (2007) Evaluation Research in Schools: contexts, problems and potential solutions. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association's Annual Conference, London, UK (September).
  • Duncombe, R., Cale, L., Waring, M. & Webb, L. (2007) Achieving 'High Quality' physical education: an intervention to facilitate high quality teaching and learning in gymnastics in a city school. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association's Annual Conference, London, UK (September).
  • Sandford, R., Armour, K. & Duncombe, R. (2006) Young People and the Role of Physical Activity in Enhancing Personal/Social Development: Evaluating Sustainable Impact. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association's Annual Conference, Warwick, UK (September).
  • Sandford, R.A., Armour, K.M. & Duncombe, R. (2006) Physical Activity Programmes and Sustainable Impact on Young People's Personal and Social Development. Paper presented at the AIESEP world congress, Jyväskylä, Finland.
  • Duncombe, R. & Armour, K. (2005) The school as a Community of Practice for primary physical education: The myths and the reality. Paper presented at The British Educational Research Association's Annual Conference, Glamorgan, UK (September).
  • Armour, K. M., Duncombe, R. & Fraser, S. E. (2004) Primary School Teachers and the National PE-CPD Programme for England. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual conference, UMIST, Manchester, UK (September).
  • Duncombe, R. (2003). Enhancing teachers' and pupils' learning in primary school physical education: the role of collaborative professional learning. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association's Annual Conference, Edinburgh, UK (September).
  • Armour, K. M., Duncombe, R. & Fraser, S. E. (2004) Primary School Teachers and the National PE-CPD Programme for England. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual conference, UMIST, Manchester, 16th – 18th September.
  • Duncombe, R. (2003). Enhancing teachers' and pupils' learning in primary school physical education: the role of collaborative professional learning. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association's Annual Conference, Edinburgh, September, 2003.