These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.
Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.
The purpose of the physical education course is to develop the student’s ability to participate in physical education and physical activity.
The course is suitable for students who have a strong interest in sports, physical fitness or physical activities such as dancing. It develops the student’s performance levels, as well as introducing the student to insights into physical activity from the social and life sciences.
Students choose from a wide variety of physical activities and will work to improve their performance in these activities.
As the written assessment comprises 50% of the marking, ability in the physical activity alone will not be sufficient, students will need to engage with the classroom portion of the course. The course is structured so that knowledge learned in the classroom, such as how to analyse skills and improve nutrition, will directly benefit the student’s physical performance goals.
The course recognises the importance of promoting physical activity and the demands an active lifestyle can place on students and adults. The course equips students to be proponents of active lifestyles equipped with the knowledge to maximise their own and others potential.
Why Study Physical Education
What kind of student might Physical Education suit?
The physical education course features theoretical and practical sections. The two sections are interlinked, with the knowledge gained in the theoretical section enabling the student to improve his/her performance in the practical assessments.
In the theoretical section students will study the factors that impact on physical performance, the relationship between sport and society and examine the benefits of participation in physical activity. The topics studied are varied, they include learning how to maintain fitness, nutrition, develop skills, the ethics of sport and the promotion of active lifestyles.
In the physical section, students will be assessed on their skill level in three activities. There is a wide range of physical activities that can be selected, such as football, rugby, sailing, swimming, dance, running and weight training. Students will then work on improving their preparation, participation and performance in their chosen activity.
The theoretical section is separated into two strands, students will study 4 topics in each strand for a total of 8 topics studied.
Strand 1 Towards optimum performance
In this set of topics students study the factors that influence physical performance, including how they can be applied to their own performance.
1. Learning and improving skill and technique
2. Physical and psychological demands of performance
3. Structures, strategies, roles and conventions
4. Planning for optimum performance
Strand 2 Contemporary issues in physical activity
Students learn about the culture of sports, it’s role in society and how people experience physical activity and sport. There are six possible topics, but only four are set for each Leaving Cert cycle.
These topics are run every year
5. Promoting physical activity
6. Ethics and fair play
These topics rotate, with two of the following four appearing in each Leaving Cert cycle
7. Physical activity and inclusion
8. Technology, media and sport
9. Gender and physical activity
10. Business and enterprise in physical activity and sport
For the physical section students will select three activities. There are 6 categories of physical activity and students must select one from three different categories.
The six categories of physical activity are:
Students will focus on three goals in the three selected physical activities.
At the conclusion of the Leaving Certificate Physical Education Students will have developed their:
As the course is still being formulated, it is not possible to say with certainty the content of the assessments, however the general structure is available to us.
Students will be assessed in three ways,
Half of the marks available for the course will be determined by a written examination, areas it will cover include the following
Physical Activity Project
Students will choose an activity from one of the six activity categories and select one of the following two roles
They will then develop their personal performance in their chosen role and activity by applying the knowledge and skills developed during the course.
The physical activity project should cover eight to ten weeks and will involve a project report completed in a digital format. This report will describe the students progress in the project under four headings.
Students will select a physical activity and demonstrate their ability in a range of skills, techniques and/or compositional elements. In addition, they will be required to demonstrate understanding of the rules, conventions and safety practices of the chosen activity.
Assessment will be via recorded footage of the student performing the chosen activity, the footage should demonstrate the student’s ability in the activity. Schools will supply recording devices to students suitable for capturing the required footage, paid for by a government grant. The footage will then be sent to the State Examinations Commission.
Schools will supply recording devices suitable for capturing the required footage, paid for by a government grant. The footage will then be sent to the State Examinations Commission.
The immediate image suggested by the Leaving Certificate course is a career as an athlete or dancer. However, horizons are much broader, the Leaving Cert course will equip students with knowledge and skills suited to a wide range of career paths. The course would be a first step towards careers in health and fitness, nutrition, physiotherapy or sports administration.
For students who do not peruse a career in a related area the knowledge gained from the course could still have an enormously beneficial contribution throughout their life. Enabling them to maximise their own physical activity and that of the members of their community.