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Physical Education A-Level at St John Payne Catholic School

Course description

Why choose Physical Education at A Level?

The sports and fitness industry is a huge, fast growing area that offers many opportunities for people who have a keen interest in sport; whether you want to work directly with professional players / athletes, be a personal trainer at the local gym, as a lifeguard, a teacher, physiotherapist or even being a sports organiser like the famous Lord Sebastian Coe, there are lots of careers to choose from.

Introduction to the course:

The A Level PE course is run over a period of two years and covers four units in total; two in Year 12 (AS Level) and two in Year 13 (A2 Level). If you opt to choose the PE course then it is essential that you’re playing sport outside of school to maximise the chances of gaining a good grade in this subject. It is also required that students gain a C grade in the GCSE PE theory paper and at least a C or above in the science exams.

The examination board that we currently use is AQA and their specification has been designed to:

  • Address current contemporary issues in sport
  • Equip students with the skills and knowledge for entrance into higher education or into the world of work
  • Build on the student’s experience from Key Stage 4 and GCSE to enhance their knowledge and increase their understanding of the factors that affect performance and participation
  • Focus on a single physical activity throughout the course
  • Experience and develop an interest in a variety of roles such as performer, official and coach / leader
  • Evaluate and discuss current developments in sport as the impact of new technology, sport specific rehabilitation and the use of ergogenic aids.

Course content


Year 12 students are offered AS PE as a follow on to GCSE PE. This course is delivered over five periods a week and has both theoretical and practical components. It is possible to follow the AS PE course without having studied GCSE PE, but it is strongly recommended that students have a sound knowledge of science, maths and english to do so. The theoretical aspects of the course, in Unit 1, cover the following topics: applied exercise physiology, skill acquisition and opportunities for participation and are examined at the end of the course in a 2 hour exam worth 60% of AS mark and 30% of A2. Unit 2 of the AS PE course is the analysis and evaluation of physical activity as a performer and/or in adopted roles such as an official or coach and this is moderated both internally and externally and is worth 40% of AS and 20% of A2.


Year 13 students can only move onto the A2 PE course having achieved a grade C at AS. The course is delivered over five periods per week and is a continuation of both theoretical and practical components. The emphasis at A2 is on the elite performer and in the theory lessons students look at three areas; that of Applied Physiology to optimise performance, Psychological aspects that optimise performance and finally Evaluating contemporary influences. The practical component of A2 PE is concerned with optimising practical performance in a competitive situation and requires the students to show themselves competing in a practical situation along with a piece of coursework using the knowledge and understanding of the whole course (AS and A2) to improve their own personal performance .This practical coursework and performance accounts for 20% of the A Level and is moderated both internally and externally, with the 2 hour exam in June accounting for 30%. The exam in June covers the three sections and students will be expected to complete three essay questions along with a number of short answer questions.

Entry requirements

Please note the minimum requirement to study AS levels at our Sixth Form is a GCSE points score of 42 points from your best 8 GCSE results. We award 8 points for an A* grade, 7 points for a grade A, 6 points for a grade B, 5 points for a grade C, 4 points for a grade D, 3 points for a grade E, 2 points for a grade F and 1 point for a grade G.


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St John Payne Catholic School directly.

Last updated date: 24 June 2015

Key information