Date of release: Thursday, December 1, 2016

Japanese visit to Faculty of Education & HealthStudents from Japan Women's College of Physical Education in Tokyo have been exploring their educational roots and Greenwich's role in pioneering physical education for women.

During their five-day trip, the Japanese students visited the archives of Dartford College of Physical Education. The college became part of the University of Greenwich. The archive's materials, much dating from the late 19th century, have been digitised and preserved by the university.

Dartford College was founded by Martina Bergman Österberg to provide professional teaching training for middle class women and promote exercise as a part of the English school curriculum. It was responsible for the introduction of both the gym slip and netball.

Students from Dartford College went on to launch Japan Women's College of Physical Education (JWCPE), which later produced Japan's first female Olympic medallist, in the 1920s.

The longstanding links between the university and JWPCE have been nurtured by Dr Jackie Farr, Senior Lecturer in Physical Education and Sport within the university's Faculty of Education & Health.

Dr Farr trained at Dartford College and has undertaken detailed research into the history of women in physical education.

She says: "At Greenwich, we are very proud of our long history of physical education teacher training and the role it continues to play around the world today."

The students' visit, led by Professor Nanae Yamada and Professor Riki Sukuo, included meeting the Japan Sports Council and experiencing physical education classes at University of Greenwich partner secondary schools.

They also joined Greenwich physical education teacher training students for a sports policy lecture and discussion, focusing on the legacy of the 2012 London Games and the forthcoming Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Japan Women's College of Physical Education students and staff visit the university.