Reforms that have taken place in the South African education system since 1994 have led to changes in terms of how learning areas are taught in schools. There have been changes regarding the teaching of physical development activities in schools in recent years. Physical education as a subject was infused within life orientation (LO) as a learning area with physical development activities as one of the outcomes. The time to teach physical development activities has been reduced as other learning outcomes within LO have to be taught. This has led to situations where the teaching of physical development activities is undermined in many schools. Pressure to perform well in learning areas such as mathematics and literacy makes educators to devote less time on the teaching of physical development activities. To a larger extent, financial resources on the other hand, are being directed to other learning areas due to pressure to conform to international education standards. There is a need for school leaders to respond to new conditions of teaching. This research project deals with the leadership practices of heads of department (HODs) in the implementation of physical development activities. The study aims to investigate how HODs lead and manage the educators who teach physical development activities. Among other things, the study will focus on the HODs‟ leadership styles relevant to the teaching of physical development activities. The study will also look at challenges they experience in their departments, training needs and how they keep balance between teaching and monitoring educators who teach physical development activities.
The researcher used qualitative research approach to collect information for the study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with two HODs and four educators in two primary schools. The findings indicate that lack of experience and specialisation in the teaching of physical development activities has an influence on the HODs leadership style. More support is needed in the teaching of physical development activities in order to boost the confidence of those who are teaching this part of the learning area. Deployment of staff members to the relevant positions is one of the priority areas. An implication for schools, particularly HODs and school management teams is that the teaching of physical development activities is as important as the teaching of other learning areas.