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Physical Education A-Level at Burnham Grammar School

Course description

What is Physical Education A level about?

Are you … Passionate about sport? Driven to find out how you can improve your 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. The course is extremely diverse, it allows you to explore and enhance your own sporting ability, but also bridges the academic divide between the arts and sciences.

Course content

The course follows the AQA examining board PE specification and is focused on relating theory to sport and its impact on performance. There are four distinct sections of the syllabus:

Applied Physiology in which you will explore many topics including specialised training, nutrition, sports injuries, biomechanics, as well as looking in detail at how the respiratory, cardiovascular systems and energy systems function and respond to exercise.

Sports Psychology in which you will discover how the brain is behind our performance and how you can use psychological techniques to gain that extra yard.

The Sociological Background and Impact of Sport. Here you will 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.

Performing and Analysing your Own Sports Performance. This is the practical element where you will perform and evaluate your performance as a player, coach or official.

Entry requirements

You must achieve at least 368 GCSE capped points (i.e. your best 8 subjects) for entry to the Sixth form. You must also achieve a C grade in English Language GCSE and Mathematics GCSE alongside meeting the entry criteria for each individual subject. Option 4 is conditional upon achieving 400+ GCSE capped points. 

GCSE points: A*= 58, A= 52, B= 46, C= 40, D= 34

Subject Specific

B in GCSE Physical Education or an A grade in short course GCSE. Students without GCSE PE may be considered. Regular participation in at least one extra-curricular sport is essential.


The course is divided into four units – two for each year:


Unit 1 – 60% exam-based assessment. Short questions, based on the Physiological, Psychological and Sociological areas with one extended question in section B

Unit 2 – 40% externally moderated. Here you will perform, and evaluate your performance, in two sports in any of the following areas: player, coach or official. In this unit the assessment is mainly based upon the core skills of the chosen sport


Unit 3 – 60% exam-based assessment. There are three extended questions which challenge your ability to demonstrate depth of knowledge, as well as a choice of shorter questions in similar topic areas to that of Unit 1 in AS.

Unit 4 – 40% externally moderated assessment. Half of the marks are allocated for your performance in one sport within a competitive environment; the other half is coursework based on the application of theory to help evaluate and improve your performance

Future opportunities

The obvious suggestion is to say that it will lead onto one of many of the sports-related degree courses available. 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. It also develops an organised well rounded student that can cope with the demands of University life. The wide variety of skill that PE develops will stand you in good stead for most University courses.

The same applies to the workplace. Sport is now such a huge industry that there are endless employment opportunities. A few examples: coaching, teaching, biomechanics, sports rehabilitation, officiating, sports technology development, sports administration, sports management and media.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 28 April 2015

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