• Both habitat change and local lek structure influence patterns of spatial loss and recovery in a black grouse population

      Geary, Matthew; Fielding, Alan H.; Marsden, Stuart J.; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University (Springer, 2015-05-23)
      Land use change is a major driver of declines in wildlife populations. Where human economic or recreational interests and wildlife share landscapes this problem is exacerbated. Changes in UK black grouse Tetrao tetrix populations are thought to have been strongly influenced by upland land use change. In a long-studied population within Perthshire, lek persistence is positively correlated with lek size, and remaining leks clustered most strongly within the landscape when the population is lowest, suggesting that there may be a demographic and/or spatial context to the reaction of the population to habitat changes. Hierarchical cluster analysis of lek locations revealed that patterns of lek occupancy when the population was declining were different to those during the later recovery period. Response curves from lek-habitat models developed using MaxEnt for periods with a declining population, low population, and recovering population were consistent across years for most habitat measures. We found evidence linking lek persistence with habitat quality changes and more leks which appeared between 1994 and 2008 were in improving habitat than those which disappeared during the same period. Generalised additive models (GAMs) identified changes in woodland and starting lek size as being important indicators of lek survival between declining and low/recovery periods. There may also have been a role for local densities in explaining recovery since the population low point. Persistence of black grouse leks was influenced by habitat, but changes in this alone did not fully account for black grouse declines. Even when surrounded by good quality habitat, leks can be susceptible to extirpation due to isolation.
    • Developing children: developmental discourses underpinning physical education at three Scottish preschool settings

      McEvilly, Nollaig; Atencio, Matthew; Verheul, Martine; University of Chester; California State University; The University of Edinburgh (Taylor & Francis, 2015-11-20)
      This paper reports on one aspect of a study that investigated the place and meaning of ‘physical education’ to practitioners and children at three preschool settings in Scotland. We employed a poststructural type of discourse analysis to examine the developmental discourses the 14 participating practitioners drew on when talking about ‘physical education’ at preschools, during semi-structured interviews. Three main discourses around the notion of developmentalism were identified during analysis of the adults’ interview data: (1) preschool children learn and develop through play; (2) preschool children should have choices and freedom; and (3) sometimes more structured activities are needed. The practitioners were heavily invested in developmental ‘truths’ about how preschool children learn and develop. They were in agreement that play is a vital element of preschool education, and that, consequently, children should be provided with opportunities for exploration and making choices. However, they also talked about sometimes ‘needing’ to restrict children’s freedom and provide more adult-led activities. Our findings illustrate the strength of developmental discourses at the three settings. We suggest that preschool practitioners, as well as policy-makers and researchers, should critically reflect on the effects of taken-for-granted developmental discourses, and move beyond thinking in terms of binaries such as ‘physical education versus play’ or ‘structure versus freedom’.
    • Moving primary physical education forward: start at the beginning

      Jess, Mike; McEvilly, Nollaig; Carse, Nicola; The University of Edinburgh; University of Chester; The University of Edinburgh (Taylor & Francis, 2016-03-07)
      This paper presents selected findings from a questionnaire completed by 509 primary school teachers in Scotland. Drawing on policy enactment theory, the paper focusses on teachers’ personal experiences of physical education and perceptions of the importance of physical education in their schools. More than half (56%) reported that physical education was either ‘very important’ or ‘important’, while almost 40% perceived it to be of ‘limited’ or ‘very limited importance’. ‘Staff’, ‘time’ and ‘subject status’ were the main themes they drew on to explain their responses. Our findings highlight the diverse nature of the physical education professional cultures in Scottish primary schools. From this, we propose that future initiatives to support change in primary physical education should, as a starting point, acknowledge these diverse professional cultures and move beyond the simplistic one-size-fits-all change projects that have been shown to have limited impact on practice.