PE will be implemented as a Leaving Cert exam subject in 80 schools across Ireland from September.
Students in these pilot schools will sit the Leaving Cert Physical Education Exam in 2020. It can be taken at both higher and ordinary level.
Topics will include physical and psychological demands of performance, planning for optimum performance and technology, media and sport.
The assessment will consist of a physical activity project worth 20 per cent, a performance assessment worth 30 per cent and a written exam worth 50 per cent. There will also be a new Senior Cycle Physical Education Framework which is not for examination.
The Physical Education for Senior Cycle programme is part of the government’s strategy to encourage healthier lifestyles. It is also part of its Action Plan for Education, which intends to make the Irish education system the best in Europe by 2026, according to a statement from the Department of Education and Skills.
369 schools applied to take part in the first phase of the new scheme. Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, said he was “delighted” with the demand and that the Department of Education intends to roll the new initiative out to all schools by 2020.
Paddy O’Reilly is a PE teacher in Trinity Comprehensive Secondary School in Ballymun, one of the first schools to have PE as an exam subject. He thinks the new initiative is “brilliant” and described PE as “the most important subject”.
“It is another proper subject. If someone is learning French, they shouldn’t just be sitting in front of the books to learn it either,” O’Reilly said.
Nadine Birt is a second-year DCU student studying Physical Education with Biology. Her year will be the first to graduate under this new system.
“I think it’s good in certain ways and then it’s bad in certain ways. It only suits a certain amount of students. You have to be good at sport, but also you have to be good academically.
“I think it should be fun and it should be promoting physical activity and I think it will be taking that away. There will be more of a focus on study and exams and points,” Birt said.
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