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Nicola McCullogh

Post-graduate Researchernicola mccullough

Department: Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation

After graduating from Durham University with a First Class Honours degree in Applied Psychology, Nicola initially worked in mental health and then spent four years as an A-Level Psychology teacher. Following a growing involvement in the sport of archery as a coach and volunteer on a national project into participation levels, she brought together her interests in psychology and physical activity through study at Northumbria University, first graduating with a Distinction from the MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology programme and then returning to conduct her current research into the role of physical activity in primary school education.






  • MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology, Northumbria University
  • City & Guilds Level 4 Award in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector, Stockton Riverside College
  • BSc(Hons) Applied Psychology, Durham University

Overview of Doctoral Research

The role of physical activity in primary school education.

Nicola is taking a mixed methods approach to the study of opportunities for physical activity in primary schools and the outcomes of this for upper Key Stage 2 children (9–11 years old). Her research centres around a Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education programme being delivered in the North East of England, in which each of the weekly sessions consists of classroom-based work followed by active games designed to reinforce the key messages from the classroom activities. Nicola’s first study will take the form of a qualitative analysis of the views of stakeholders, including children themselves, on the role of physical activity at school and in the PSHE programme specifically. She then plans to conduct a quantitative analysis of the programme outcomes in terms of any changes in the wellbeing, physical activity levels and academic attainment of participating children, as compared to a control group studied over the same period. Nicola hopes that recommendations based upon the findings from her research will be used not only by the organisation delivering the PSHE programme, but by UK schools on the whole, to assist in making decisions concerning the provision of opportunities for physical activity in a crowded curriculum.


McCullogh, N. (2015, February). Self-determination theory and the maintenance of archery participation: A thematic analysis of interview data. Paper presented at the Association for Applied Sport Psychology International Student Conference, Loughborough, UK.

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