Accessibility links

A Level Physical Education at Rutlish School

Course description

Are you passionate about sport? Driven to find out how you can improve yours and others’ performance? Interested in how our bodies push themselves to their physical peak? Keen to understand what gives Olympic champions the psychological edge over their competitors? Intrigued by why nearly one billion people would watch a single sporting event? If the answer is yes, then Physical Education is the subject for you! Physical Education suits students who enjoy a fast paced and diverse course that covers many subject areas – all of which are underpinned by sport. You will have the opportunity to study areas of physiology, including the body’s main systems, the biomechanics of movement and sports injuries. Combined with this is the opportunity to study sports psychology, in which you will discover how the brain is behind our performance and how you can use psychological techniques to gain the advantage. Exploring the sociological background of sport will enable you to not only learn about the origins of sport but also the huge impact that sport has on society, and why it is a multi billion pound industry. There are many fascinating topic areas including the role of sports organisations, drugs in sport, hooliganism, and sport's relationship with business and the media. Finally, you will have the opportunity to perform and analyse your performance within a given activity area, choosing to fulfil the role of a player, coach or official. You will be able apply the knowledge acquired in the theoretical component of the course in order to heighten your level of performance, in the specialist activity area of your choice. The practical component requires you to perform a range of core skills and techniques in isolation, but also encourages you to develop your ability to use these skills with great consistency and accuracy in the competitive environment.

Course content

Physical Education comprises four units and contains an Advanced Subsidiary subset of two AS units. The full Advanced GCE award consists of the two AS units (Units 1 and 2), plus two A2 units (Units 3 and 4) which makeup the other 50 per cent of the Advanced GCE. Students wishing to take the full Advanced GCE must, therefore, complete all four units.

Unit 1
Participation in Sports and Recreation The unit content is divided into two sections, with each section outlining the specific knowledge and understanding required by the student. The first section will develop the student’s knowledge and understanding of what constitutes a healthy and active lifestyle. Students will investigate how the body responds and adapts to exercise, the components of physical and skill fitness and different methods of fitness training. The rationale behind carrying out fitness assessments and the protocols associated with recognised fitness tests will also be considered. The second section encourages the student to develop their knowledge and understanding of how competitive sport has developed over time. They will learn how a lifelong involvement in sport is encouraged.

Unit 2
The Critical Sports Performer The fundamental aim of this unit is to engage participants in four tasks. These tasks will offer a framework of opportunities to develop practical experiences and conduct independent research into the structure, provision and analysis of physical activity. Students will have the chance to offer two performances from a choice of three roles (player/ participant, leader and official) recording their performance over a period of time. They will then undertake a study into the provision for all three roles at a local level, followed by a study of the provision for one role at the national level. Lastly, they will produce an analysis of their performance relating to at least one of the activities offered in the first task.

Unit 3
Preparation for Optimum Sports Performance Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of the short- and long-term physiological and psychological preparations made by elite athletes. They will consider the short- and long-term technical preparations required, eg selection of appropriate kit and equipment, the use of training camps, different types of ergonomic aids.

Unit 4
The Developing Sports Performer The tasks undertaken in Unit 2: The Critical Sports Performer lay the foundation for students to specialise in one practical performance role and progress this performance, and undertake three further tasks. Students will construct a development plan to further progress their performance as player/participants, leaders or officials. They will also research one of these roles in an international context, taking in grassroots participation, elite performance and other factors. Students will then continue to refine their performances in one chosen role. Lastly, they will plan their life in physical activity, from the Advanced Subsidiary course to the potential opportunities and performance structure open to them, thereby outlining a ‘time line’, through school, college, university, club, veterans and future roles.

Entry requirements

GCSE grade B’s in Core and Additional Science or grade B in Biology and Physics. In addition students should have at least either grade B in GCSE PE or Distinction in BTEC Sport. Students without the sports qualifications but who have proven sporting ability and achievement (such as Sports Leadership Awards, representation of a club or borough in a specific sport) would also be considered for this A’ Level but must provide evidence of these achievements at interview.


The assessment of Unit 1 is through a 1 hour and 30 minute examination paper which is set and marked by Edexcel. The paper will be a question-and-answer booklet, consisting of short-answer and extended-writing type questions, all of which are compulsory.
For Unit 2 students must complete all four tasks. This unit is internally assessed and externally moderated. The assessment of Unit 3 is through a 2-hour examination paper which is set and marked by Edexcel. The paper will be a question-and-answer booklet, consisting of short-answer and extended writing type questions, all of which are compulsory.
For Unit 4 students must complete all four tasks. This unit is internally assessed and externally moderated.

Future opportunities

This qualification is useful if you intend to follow further sport-related courses in Universities and Colleges of Higher Education. However, the real benefit of the PE A Level is that it enables you to grasp a wide range of skills – from scientific research through to debate, developing an organised well rounded student that can cope with the demands of University life.
Sport is such a huge industry that A Level PE students will also be well equipped to begin a successful career in one of the endless employment opportunities available. A few examples include sports coaching and development, sports rehabilitation, physiotherapy, officiating, sports technology development, sports administration, working for a national governing body, sports management and sports journalism.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Rutlish School directly.

Last updated date: 07 May 2015
Provider logo

Key information