Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams BEd, Dip, MSc

Senior Lecturer


Sarah is the course leader for the PGCE Primary PE Specialist programme.


Her career in teaching began in New Zealand where she worked as an Early Years teacher and Primary PE specialist. After moving to the UK Sarah went on to spend 10 years working with Primary and Secondary schools in Sheffield developing opportunities within PE and School Sport, managing a team of sports professionals working with over 60 local schools. She currently leads physical education with undergraduate and postgraduate trainees, and is the course leader for the PGCE Primary PE Specialist programme. In addition to her teaching role in SHU, Sarah supports a number of professional development programmes for teachers in the UK and is involved in several projects working with PE specialist in Europe.

Sarah is predominantly interested in the physical development of primary and early year's children. She believes through the delivery of high quality physical education, that we can develop confident and positive learners. She is focused on developing teacher's confidence through PE and making links between learning in the classroom and the outdoors.


Department of Teacher Education

College of Social Sciences and Arts


September 2016 Teaching Outdoors Creatively-chapter contribution.

July 2014- afPE’s ‘Physical Education Matters (Association for PE) publication linked to ITT provision developed in Kurdistan, Iraq.

May 2014- Getting into Primary Teaching-chapter contribution.

European Erasmus Pupil Health and Wellbeing Project-2016/17. Delivering teacher training programmes in Greece and Gran Canaria. Authored a ITT module focused on health education.


Key Publications

Jones, G., Williams, S., & Longbon, K. (2022). Exploring the acceptability and feasibility of a whole school approach to physical activity in UK primary schools: a qualitative approach. BMC Public Health, 22.

Williams, S. (2022). Physical Education in primary schools: head teachers' beliefs and practices. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Adams, G., & Coldwell, M.

Journal articles

Theodosiou, A., Gerani, C., Barkoukis, V., Tsigilis, N., Drakou, A., Williams, S., ... Rose, M. (2021). Motivation and well-being in school physical education A cross-national study of self determination theory. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 52 (3), 213-232.

Internet Publications

Williams, S. (2024). We know it is important, but we’ve got to get academic results”: Head Teachers’ perspectives on primary physical education. [blog].

Other activities

Sarah is part of the National Faculty team within the Youth Sport Trust, developing and promoting a number of sport and PE focused education programmes.

She is a member of a European Primary PE network, regularly networking with professionals based in a number of  European training institutions and researchers.

She is a member of the Sheffield Primary Physical Education Alliance, designed to support schools to develop high quality physical education and physical activity opportunities.

Governor of a local special needs school

Involvement in developing and facilitating teacher training projects in Gran Canaria and Greece

Responsible for the development of a Primary and Early Years Education conference for educators across the region.

YOUTH SPORT TRUST NATIONAL FACULTY TUTOR Leading and contributing to the development of national training. Training is focused on physical education, school sport, healthy lifestyles and leadership development.

Founding member of the European Primary PE Network-involvement in a range of scholarly programmes.


Sarah is a senior lecturer and primary physical education specialist within the Primary and Early Years Teacher Education department. Sarah has experience in developing programmes to support the development of physical education in primary schools within the UK and abroad.

Sarah works across a number of teacher education courses and provides professional development programmes for school based teachers. Key areas of work include the promotion of fundamental skills in primary settings and inclusive teaching practices.

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