Historic launch of Leaving Certificate Physical Education and Senior Cycle Physical Education – Dylan Scanlon

Claire Walsh and Dylan Scanlon represented the Physical Education and Sport Sciences Department at a historic day for physical education in Ireland as Minister of Education, Richard Bruton, launched phase one of the first Leaving Certificate Physical Education (LCPE) curriculum specification at Our Lady of mercy Secondary School in Beaumont, Dublin 9. LCPE will now be an optional examinable subject and Senior Cycle Physical Education (SCPE) will be a non-examination subject available to all.

The aim of the curriculum 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” (Physical Education Curriculum Specification, 2018, p.7). There are two major strands to the LCPE specification. The first strands addressed how to optimize performance. Students will learn about: Learning and improving skill and technique; Physical and psychological demands of performance; Structure, strategies, roles and conventions; and planning for optimum performance. The second strand addresses contemporary issues in physical activity and students will learn about: Promoting physical activity; Ethics and fair play; Physical activity and inclusion; Technology, media and sport; Gender and physical activity; and business and enterprise in physical activity and sport.

Both the LCPE specification and the SCPE framework are to be enacted in a phased approach in 80 post-primary schools from September 2018. Following this first two year cycle, the Department intends to expand both LCPE and SCPE to all schools in 2020. The 80 schools to offer the LCPE and / or SCPE were chosen from a total of 369 schools who applied. This reflects the incredible interest in physical education in Ireland. LCPE is a huge achievement and has been in the works for the last 20 years! Ireland now joins England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand in having an examinable physical education subject.

Minister Richard Bruton discussing the potential of the LCPE curriculum

At the launch, the Minister of Education discussed how the introduction of LCPE and SCPE aligns with national policies such as Healthy Ireland, the National Physical Activity  Action Plan and the Action Plan for Education.   He noted the importance of wellbeing for young people and how both the LCPE and SCPE can contribute to this wellbeing agenda.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tweeted about the historic day for Physical Education.  View the Department of Education and Skills video on LCPE HERE.


Senior Cycle Physical Education                                                              

_Picture of Minister with students of Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School during launch_
Minister of Education, Richard Bruton with students of Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School

The aim of this framework is to “encourage learners’ confident, enjoyable and informed participation in physical activity while in senior cycle and in their future lives” (Physical Education Senior Cycle, 2018, p.9). The framework expands on the students’ prior learning in primary physical education, Junior Cycle physical education short course and Junior Cycle Physical Education framework (JCPE).

This framework revolves around six curriculum models:

  1. Health-related physical activity
  2. Sport education
  3. Contemporary issues in physical activity
  4. Adventure education
  5. Personal and social responsibility
  6. Teaching games for understanding

For those who want to learn more about these innovations in Physical Education see the curriculum online website of the NCCA.

Dylan Scanlon is a Postgraduate Researcher in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick.  His current research interests include curriculum development and assessment re physical education.  You can contact Dylan via email dylan.scanlon@ul.ie or follow him on Twitter.

Featured Image:  Members of PESS meet Minister of Education Richard Bruton include Dylan Scanlon (PESS PG Student) and  Claire Walsh (PESS Applied Studies Coordinator).




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