PE to become Leaving Cert subject from September

Secondary schools students will be able to study PE as a Leaving Cert subject from September.

It will be introduced to around 60 schools initially and will be examined for the first time in 2020.

CAO points will be awarded for performances such as swimming, rugby and jazz dance, as well as coaching skills.

There will also be a physical activity project and a written exam covering everything from sports psychology to diet and drugs.

Education Correspondent with the Irish Examiner Niall Murray reports that schools will be selected from those responding to an invitation being issued today by Education Minister Richard Bruton to begin teaching the subject next September.

Although no additional resources are being provided to schools, a programme of training for teachers to deliver the new course will begin early next year.

The examinable Leaving Certificate PE course will go beyond the traditional practice of timetable sports activities, as student will learn about technology and media in sport, business and enterprise.

Issues around physical activity and gender, inclusion, ethics, and fair play will also be covered in the two-year course developed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.

Those topics will form half of students’ learning, with the other half focused on participation in physical activity, teaching them about how to improve skill and techniques, the demands of performance, strategies, and planning for optimum performance.

They will take part in three different physical activities, which can be chosen from within six broad areas of athletics, personal exercise and fitness, artistic and aesthetic activities, adventure activities, games, and aquatics.

The final written exam will be worth half of marks, as students will already have completed a physical activity project worth 20% and a performance assessment for 30%.

The project will be completed in digital format, as students apply their learning to develop their personal performance in one of their three activities, either as a performer, coach, or choreographer period of eight to 10 weeks.

Supporting the introduction of the new subject, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the benefits will include improved health and fitness for young people, an increased awareness of physical health, and a further increase in the choice of school subjects.

KEYWORDS: PE, Schools, Leaving Cert


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