It has taken a while but at last PE is to become an examinable subject on the Leaving Cert curriculum from next year.
The fact that this has been on the Government agenda for a number of years was obvious yesterday from the attendance of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the announcement.
He would have been aware of the campaigning for the change throughout his time in the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport and the Department of Health where he was an advocate of healthy living as a preventative measure to counter health problems.
Around 60 schools will be selected for a pilot of the subject starting from September 2018 and examined for the first time in the exams of 2020. This represents less that 10 percent of the 730 secondary schools in Ireland but it is a start and it is hoped that once the balance in the examinable elements has bedded down that it will become an option for all schools.
The new, examinable Leaving Certificate subject on Physical Education (LCPE) will be in addition to a framework for Senior Cycle Physical Education (SCPE), which is not for examination, but which will also be introduced at the same time so that physical education will still be available to all students.
There will be three assessment components for the new exmas Students will be required to complete a physical activity project, accounting for 20 percent of marks; a performance assessment, likely to include video of competition or activity that will account for 30 percent, and a written examination which will be worth 50 percent of marks.
This is in line with other practical subjects including art, music, home economics or graphic and communication design that used to be know as technical drawing.
Sports psychology and skill techniques will be among the areas studied, together with areas including technology and media, the promotion of physical activity and business and enterprise in physical activity and sport.
PE will be available at both higher and ordinary level.
“I am thrilled that physical education will be a full examinable subject at senior cycle next year,” said Taoiseach Varadkar at the launch.
“I promoted this when I was Minister for Sport and included it in my Policy Ideas Paper Taking Ireland Forward. It’s been a Government priority and I want to compliment Minister Bruton for making it a reality.”
“The benefits will be far-reaching, including improved health and fitness among young people, raising awareness of physical health, and increasing the range of subjects on offer. The introduction of a new Senior Cycle Framework for physical education is another really positive development for students.”
“We know how important it is to be physically active and engage in sports, not only for our physical health but also as a means to encourage team building, develop confidence and for our mental health,” added Minister Bruton.
“The introduction of Physical Education as an examinable Leaving Certificate subject is in keeping with the strong emphasis the Government has placed on promoting and encouraging healthy lifestyles, and fulfils an important commitment in the Programme for Government and Action Plan for Education, which sets out our ambition to make Ireland’s education system the best in Europe within a decade.”
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