The specification is presented in two strands. In strand 1, students learn about different theoretical perspectives that impact on optimum performance and how to apply this understanding to a range of different activities. In strand 2, students learn about contemporary issues in physical activity and how different people experience physical activity and sport.
Strand 1: Towards optimum performance
Strand 2: Contemporary issues in physical activity
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
5. Promoting physical activity
6. Ethics and fair play
In addition, two of the following topics will be prescribed each year:
7. Physical activity and inclusion
8. Technology, media and sport
9. Gender and physical activity
10. Business and enterprise in physical activity and sport
Learners’ physically active participation is central to teaching and learning in Leaving Certificate Physical Education. To enable this to happen, students learn about the different theoretical perspectives through their participation in three different physical activities. These activities are selected from six distinct physical activity areas which reflect the activities more commonly included in school physical education programmes currently. The graphic below illustrates the six physical activity areas from which the three activities must be selected – one activity from three different areas.
Figure 1: Physical Activity Areas
Example: The three chosen physical activities include
1. lifesaving (Aquatics)
2. basketball (Games)
3. orienteering (Adventure activities).
These three physical activities become the focus of teaching and learning in Leaving Certificate Physical Education. As students learn about the many factors that impact on participation and performance, they are required to apply their learning in a systematic way to improve their own performance in the three selected physical activities. This planning process is at the centre of assessment tasks in Leaving Certificate Physical Education. Learners choose one of the three selected physical activities being studied by their class for their performance assessment.
Leaving Certificate Physical Education is designed to be taught in approximately 180 hours. It is recommended that of the five suggested class periods a week, a double period per week should be included to facilitate learners’ active participation in the three physical activities. Learning associated with the specification may occur in practical settings beyond the school. It is important, therefore, that timetable arrangements reflect this.