History of inclusive physical education in Western and Northern Europe
Throwing a glance on the status quo in schools of different countries in Western and Northern Europe shows that the requirement of inclusive physical education (PE) is implemented differently: Italy, for instance, leads the way with an almost complete inclusion of children into mainstream education including physical education (Magnanini & Espinosa Trull, 2015), England has already implemented inclusive teaching since the late 1980s (Armstrong & Barton, 2008), in Norway children have the right to follow mainstream education and one talks about “adjusted” education for pupils with special needs (Dalen 2006; Hyde, Ohna & Hjulstad, 2006), and Germany is only slowly breaking up with its traditional system of segregating pupils with special needs (Hausotter & Pluhar, 2004). But what are those differences based on? How did inclusive physical education (PE) historically grow in England, Germany, Italy and Norway, and can transnational developments be identified? In all four chosen countries different school systems which are representative for other Northern and Western European countries exist. The aim of this study is to compare them, analyse their historical development and find out whether and in how far those differences in the school system and curricula development prejudged chances for inclusive PE and thereby led to diverse present situations. As a result, it is confirmed that the educational policy towards inclusion in schools which was internationally determined to apply in different United Nation member states finally met on the national level in Northern and Western Europe different conditions and social attitudes. This again led to the implementation of specific national inclusive and/or exclusive structures of PE in schools, which finally, despite the geographical proximity, deviate quite strongly from each other, not only in terms of current content and policy but also in terms of historical development.