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Abstract

The study sought to analyze the extent to which pupils with disabilities participated in sports and Physical Education in inclusive education settings. To this end, it examined how sports are adapted to suit these pupils and explored other factors which contributed to the pupils’ benefit or lack of benefit from sports. A qualitative descriptive survey design which employed questionnaires and structured interviews collected data from 30 primary school pupils with disabilities, 20 primary schoolteachers and five school heads. The study found that teachers and non-disabled peers have low expectations of pupils with disabilities as potentially competent athletes. The teachers view sports as competitive events in which a few talented pupils would naturally excel and through which they would eventually earn a living. In this light, pupils with more obvious disabilities were more likely to be denied access to sports. The teachers also have low expectations of Physical Education as a subject and have a laissez-faire approach to teaching it. Most of them do not know what to teach or how to teach it. They do not adapt equipment or rules to suit the therapeutic needs of pupils with disabilities. A significant number of pupils with disabilities appear to have been caught up in the cycle of low expectations as they do not view sports as useful, do not participate in or seem to benefit from Physical Education and sports in general.