Helen Thornalley
Senior Lecturer: course lead Secondary Physical Education and Dance
School of Teacher Development

Helen has oversight of Secondary PGCE for Physical Education and Dance, leadership in Beyond ITE provision, mentor training resources and Ethnography research in the Education Masters programme team.

Helen had an International career of fourteen years, playing Hockey for England and Great Britain and coaching professionally within this sport.

Helen’s first degree is in Sports Science and her subsequently qualification as a secondary Physical Education teacher at Brunel University. Throughout her school career, she taught as the Head of Department of Physical Education department and then as Head of Sixth Form in an outstanding school of over 1200 pupils in London.

Helen then moved from her role in leadership to work with undergraduate, PGCE, GT, OTT and Masters in Education degree students at St Mary’s University. Helen took on a leading role within mentoring and coaching Secondary Physical Education Specials at St Mary’s University for four-years QTS degrees and PGCE programmes. During ten years at that institution, Helen held leadership roles in Education at Academic, and Programme Director levels and course leads and completed her Masters degree from Surrey University. This research developed an institutional Academic Tutoring System ATS, focusing on tutor support for degree classifications and target setting for undergraduate QTS students through Action Research.

In 2012 Helen embarked on her Doctorate in Education at Bishop Grosseteste University. The focus of Helen’s research is in Physical Education and School Sport and how the Olympic movement has politically influenced practices in the UK, from its origin in Victorian Britain and then during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Research:

  • Helen is also currently involved in several other research activities in Physical Education and Sport:
  • A longitudinal Ethnographic study with a Paralympic Olympic Gold medalist,
  • Dance Fitness created by Darcey Bussell’s DDMIX schools programme for Primary and Secondary. Working with Dance specialists and PGCE students.
  • Physical Activity with an Early Years pupils programme for the All England Lawn Tennis Association in Wimbledon, Merton Schools Sports Partnership and Merton Health, London.

Consultancy and Projects

2005: British Council as a Leader of Learning in Teacher Education in Kenya.

2005 – 2009: Regionally as a Technical and Fitness Hockey Coach for Colts and Seniors.

2006: A pre-Ofsted assessor into Physical Education practices and procedures. West London Sports Colleges and Schools.

2007 – 2009: An associate lead for Sir John Rowling’s PiXL Education group in London and the home counties. Working with GCSE pupils and staff in the development and extension of ‘marginal learning gains’ in Physical Education. Designing and running thematic revision programmes for schools across London.

2008 – 2012: HEI International work with visiting institutions from Japan, Iran and Trinidad and Tobago on UK Physical Education curriculum provision.

2015 – 2016 HEI International work in China and Rio de Janeiro developing Post Graduate courses and curriculum design ideas in Physical Education, Teacher Education and Teacher Exchange.

2016: British Council projects developing programmes in Foundation Football degrees and Educational Masters degrees for trainee teachers in Chungching, China.

Conference presentation and publications

2006 C change practice for Physical Education future and ITE provision in the UK. Curriculum Re-form 2008. EUPEA International Conference. Coimbra University Portugal. October.

2009 Academic Tutoring System (ATS). Profiling and Tracking students progress. St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Autumn conference. September.

2010 Investigating Handball as a meta-cognitive catalyst for creativity in Physical Education. AfPE National Conference. July.

2012 Cognitive Dissonance: The dichotomy between conservationism of traditional practice and TGfU facilitation. The experiences of Physical Education Undergraduate Trainee Teachers on teaching placements. The International Teaching Games for Understanding Conference, Lough-borough University. May.

2012 Qualifications in Sport (14 – 16, 16+). 1st4sport Qualifications.  Co-author. July.

2013 Who and What is Wenlock? Dr William Penny Brookes. Physical and Sports Education, Annual Conference. St Mary’s University, Twickenham. June.

2014 Origins of Physical Education within Victoria Britain. Documentary analysis techniques, Leicester University. September.

2014  – RefEd. Educational Matters from Primary and Secondary disciplines. St Mary’s University Education Journal.  Reviewer.

Professional Memberships

Association for Physical Education (AfPE)

British Education Research Association (BERA)

European Physical Education Association (EUPEA)

Thesis supervision

Helen has been a supervisor of Physical Education, Educational Leadership and Pedagogy students researching at undergraduate to Masters degree levels, covering areas of curriculum design, health education, mentoring and institutional change management structures. Several of her students have gone on to present their research at International Conferences and taken up Doctoral research awards through PhD and EdD routes in Mentoring and Special Educational Needs.