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Cindy H.P. Sit, Thomas L. McKenzie, John M.G. Lian and Alison McManus

This study compared physical education (PE) and recess in two markedly different special schools for children with mild intellectual disabilities; one school had a reputation for focusing on sports (High Sport Focus-HSF) and the other did not (Low Sport Focus-LSF). Data were collected in 24 PE classes and 48 recess periods using a validated observation system. During both PE and recess, HSF students engaged in physical activity (PA) at greater intensity levels, but LSF students accrued more total activity min. Differences in PA during PE between the schools were associated with both lesson context and teacher behavior. The results suggest written (e.g., scheduling) and unwritten policies within schools affect children’s activity levels.