Not so long ago, PE was seen by many students as the kind of optional subject that got in the way of proper subjects that yielded precious CAO points.
But the introduction of PE as a Leaving Cert subject, say teachers, is a game-changer. It is giving students with a love of sport a chance to excel in exams. And there is now a strong incentive for pupils to keep active right up to exam time.
With the fitness and wellness industry worth well over €300m annually the career possibilities for students with PE are endless. Not only are the traditional career routes like physiotherapy, teaching and personal training an option for many there are now many opportunities emerging in community sporting organisations.
Speaking of the inclusion of PE on the curriculum in Errigal College, PE teacher and avid gaelic footballer, Conor O’Donnell, commented: ‘We’re thrilled to offer this exciting, innovative and inclusive subject offering to our students. So far the feedback has been positive and the students’ attitude to sport and exercise has been very good”.
“The structure of the course gives them great opportunities to work with ICT and learn skills such as video editing, analysis and presentation,” he says.
Students record exercise form through tablets and edit the clips together into packages for analysis.
So how do you assess exercise? A total of 20 per cent of the marks are awarded for a physical activity project. A further 30 per cent is for performance assessment.
This involves students submitting a recording of themselves demonstrating skills and techniques.
The remaining 50% comes from a traditional written exam.
“It’s an exciting time in Errigal College, with our broad curriculum and our long history of QQI (Fetac) Level 5 Sports and Recreation we look forward to continuing our involvement in educating students in the fundamentals of physical exercise as well as equipping them with the important life skills that they will carry with them into their careers and use on a daily basis”.
Commenting on the addition of PE as a Leaving Certificate subject, principal Mr McFadden welcomed the opportunity for students to equip themselves with 21st century skills: “With the addition of PE on the traditional Leaving Certificate, Errigal College stands poised to meet the needs of our students as they prepare for careers in the sport industry and beyond. We are delighted with the uptake of the subject with students relishing the chance to learn in practical, hands-on manner that compliments our broad curriculum here at Errigal College”.