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Physical Education

Physical Education


Physical Education is designed to appeal to learners who have an interest in and a commitment to participation and performance in physical activity. The aim of Leaving Certificate Physical Education is to develop the learner’s capacity to become an informed, skilled, self-directed and reflective performer in physical education and physical activity in senior cycle and in their future life. The emphasis is on providing learners with integrated learning experiences where there is a balance between developing personal performance in selected physical activities and deepening their understanding of the theoretical perspectives that impact on performance and participation in physical activity. 


There are three assessment components in Leaving Certificate Physical Education:


Assessment Component          Weighting        Level

Physical Activity Project           20%                    Higher and Ordinary

Performance Assessment        30%                    Common Level

Written Examination              50%                    Higher and Ordinary


The learner will be required to complete the physical activity project and performance assessment in two different activities.


Physical activity project – 20% 

Learners may choose to complete the physical activity project in one of following roles:

  • Performer
  • Coach/Choreographer.

 The project should span an eight-week period and learners will be required to apply their learning from the specification to further develop their personal performance in their chosen role. 

The physical activity project is completed in a digital format. 

The four sections are:

1. Performance analysis

2. Identification of three performance goals

3. Evidence of ongoing training/practice and reflection

4. Concluding analysis.


Performance assessment–30%

Performing in a selected activity, learners are expected to: 

  • Show evidence of their capacity to select, apply and perform the skills and techniques outlined in the physical activity section in a conditioned practice, fully competitive version of the activity, or personal performance
  • Demonstrate understanding and knowledge of the physical activity, including the ability to apply and adapt different tactics, strategies and compositional knowledge in response to different scenarios in conditioned or competitive environments
  • Demonstrate knowledge and application of relevant rules, regulations, and codes of practice in the chosen activity.


Written examination–50%

The written examination is based on the aims, objectives and learning outcomes outlined in the specification. It will examine the following:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the theoretical factors which affect participation and performance in physical activity and the relationships between them
  • Learners’ concept and process knowledge in relation to the assessment criteria
  • Learners’ engagement with a case study designed to require learners to apply their learning in a particular physical activity scenario
  • Clarity and coherence in management of ideas and answers.

5th Year

 Strand 1; Towards optimum performance, which includes Topics 1-4.

Topic 1: Learning and improving skill and technique

Defining a skilled performance

Analysing skill and technique

Skill acquisition

Topic 2: Physical and psychological demands of performance

Physical Fitness

Health related fitness

Performance related fitness

Application of health and performance related components of fitness

Assessment of health and performance components of fitness

Designing a fitness plan

Psychological preparation

Diet and Nutrition

Topic 3: Structures, strategies, roles and conventions

Structures, strategies and/or compositional elements

Role and Relationships

Safe practice

Rules, rituals and conventions

Role of coach/choreographer

Role of official

Topic 4: Planning for Optimum performance

Personal performance analysis

Method of analysis

Aesthetic and artistic considerations

Planning for optimum performance

6th Year

Strand 2; Contemporary issues in physical activity, which includes Topics 5-10.

In Year 6 students will also complete their PAP and PA assessments.

All learners are required to study Topics 5 and 6—Promoting physical activity and Ethics and fair play. 

Topics 7-10: Every two years, two of the following topics will be prescribed for each new cohort of Leaving Certificate students. These topics are:

7. Physical activity and inclusion

8. Technology, media and sport

9. Gender and physical activity

10. Business and enterprise in physical activity and sport.

Topic 5: Promoting physical activity

Benefits of physical activity participation

Physical activity participation

Physical activity promotion

Pathways to excellence

Topic 6: Ethics and fair play

Principles of ethical practice

Codes of ethics

Drugs and sport

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