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Physical Education AS/A Level at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College

Course description

This course addresses contemporary topics such as nutrition, illegal use of drugs in sport and specialist training techniques, combined with a progression of knowledge from GCSE in the more traditional area of anatomy, psychology and social/cultural issues in sport. It is a wide ranging, dynamic subject for students with the ability to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations.

Course content

In Year 1 you will study Units 1 and 2 for an AS-Level. In Year 2, you will study Units 3 and 4 to complete the full A-Level.

Unit 1: Opportunities for and the effects of leading a healthy active lifestyle

Throughout this unit you will study three main topics:

1) Applied exercise physiology - this involves an understanding of the main body systems used in sport, and the importance of fitness, nutrition and biomechanics to performance.

2) Skill acquisition - in this section you will learn how skills are acquired, how a coach/teacher can aid the learning of skills and how other psychological factors impact upon performance.

3) Opportunities for participation - an appreciation of the benefits of physical activity to both society and the individual, current provision for active leisure, the role of schools in increasing participation and the barriers to participation for specific target groups.

You will be assessed by a written examination.

Unit 2: Analysis and evaluation of physical activity as a performer and/or in an adopted role/s

All students perform, analyse and evaluate the execution of core skills / techniques in isolation, and in structured practice, as either:

  • a player/performer in two different sports
  • a player/performer and a coach or official in the either the same sport or two different sports
  • a coach and an official in the same or two different sports

You will need to be regularly practising / coaching or officiating to be practically assessed. This will determine your ability in your two chosen roles.

Unit 3: Optimising performance and evaluating contemporary issues within sport

You will study three areas:

  • How exercise physiology can optimise performance
  • How application of psychological knowledge can optimise performance
  • Contemporary influences in sport and their impact on the performer

You will be assessed by a written examination

Unit 4: Optimising practical performance in a competitive situation

You are required to perform, analyse and evaluate your own performance, identify weaknesses and suggest causes and appropriate corrective measures in a sport of your choice. This can be as a performer, coach or official in one chosen sport.

You will be internally assessed on your practical performance as a performer, coach or official and by oral or written analysis of your own (or your athlete’s) performance. You will need to be training and competing regularly in a selected sport, or regularly coaching athletes who compete or regularly officiating full competitive games/matches/performance



Entry requirements

  • 5 GCSEs at grade C or above including English Language, Maths and Science (plus PE if taken)
  • A lively and enquiring mind and a genuine interest in the theory of PE and a range of sports
  • Regular participation in at least one sport is also required


Unit 1:

You will be assessed by a written examination.

Unit 2:

You will need to be regularly practising/coaching or officiating to be practicaly assessed.

Unit 3:

You will be assessed by a written examination.

Unit 4:

You will be internally assessed on your practical perormance as a performer, coach or official and by oral or written analysis of your own (or your athletes) performance.

Future opportunities

This course is accepted for all university courses and is a useful subject for careers such as physiotherapy, sports development, teaching, coaching, the leisure industry and the uniformed public services (such as the police and armed forces).

Further information

This course is mainly theoretical and is therefore generally classroom based. We incorporate a lot of practical experiments and often adopt a ‘hands on’ approach to learning, so students must come prepared to actively contribute to practical tasks and group work. You will have two classroom based lessons and one sports hall based lesson per week.

Practical assessments are carried out through regular commitment to either a college team or an external club, and students are strongly advised to ensure they are competing, coaching competitors or officiating competitions before their second year at college.

This course is often chosen by members of the RTSFC Sports Academy, which exists to enable students to develop their performance and experience to a level appropriate for elite athletes. If you are interested in applying for a place in the Basketball, Cricket, Football, Netball, Rugby, Tennis or Trampolining Academy, please check the college website. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Richard Taunton Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 02 November 2016

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