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Physical Education GCE A Level at Greenhead College

Course description

Physical Education is fun, interesting, challenging and varied. You will cover a range of different sporting topic areas that you can apply in your chosen sport. There is the opportunity to participate in different sporting activities.

Course content

Greenhead College follows the AQA exam board syllabus. Within this you will cover two main units, one practical and one theoretical. This qualification is linear. Linear means that you will sit all your exams and submit all your non-exam assessment at the end of the two year course.

Section A: Applied physiology
Here you develop knowledge and understanding of how the body meets the demands of exercise through changes within the musculoskeletal, cardio-respiratory and neuro-muscular systems.  You will also study how energy is provided during exercise of differing intensities and during recovery.

In exercise physiology you will learn how the body adapts and changes through training and lifestyle to make it more efficient.

Biomechanics involves developing knowledge and understanding of motion and forces, and their relevance to performance in physical activity and sport. 

Section B: Skill acquisition and sports psychology
This section focuses on how skill is acquired and the impact of psychological factors on performance. You will develop a knowledge and understanding of the principles required to optimise the learning of new, and the development of existing, skills. In addition you will also learn to interpret graphical representations associated with skill acquisition theories.

You will also study the role of sport psychology in optimising performance in physical activity through developing the ability to understand and interpret sport psychology theories.

Section C: Sport and society and technology in sport
In this section you will develop knowledge and understanding of the interaction between, and the evolution of, sport and society as well as understanding, interpreting and analysing data and graphs relating to participation in physical activity and sport. You will also study the technological developments in physical activity and sport. Various ‘ethical issues’ in sport will be discussed including football hooliganism, drugs in sport and gamesmanship.

Section A, B and C all have equal weighting and are each worth 70 marks across the two exams. The structure of the questions is also the same comprising of multiple choice, short answer and extended writing.

Practical performance in physical activity and sport
This unit counts for 30% of your A Level mark where you are assessed as a performer or coach in one activity (15%). You also have to complete a written/verbal analysis of performance (15%). The list of activities accepted can be seen on the AQA website. The sports activities that we can offer at Greenhead are rugby, football, netball, basketball, hockey, tennis, badminton, swimming, athletics, dance, cricket, trampolining and gymnastics. If one of these is not your chosen sport we can liaise with your coach/instructor and support you in an alternative choice from the specification.

Entry requirements

The College gives priority to its 12 partner schools. Places are offered to other applicants on a competitive basis.

All prospective students must achieve a GCSE grade 4 or higher in GCSE English Language and GCSE Mathematics.

To access a three A Level programme a student must achieve a minimum of grade 6 in three GCSE subjects.

Students who achieve a grade 8/9 profile at GCSE will be offered the opportunity to study for four A Levels.

Prospectice PE students must achieve a minimum of grades 44 in GCSE Science OR grade 4 in GCSE Biology and be actively participating in a sport either inside or outside school.


At the end of the two year course there are two exams:

Paper 1: Factors affecting participation in physical activity and sport

Paper 2: Factors affecting optimal performance in physical activity and sport

These are each worth 35% of the A Level. The remaining 30% is from your practical where you are assessed as a performer or coach in one activity (15%) and on a written/verbal analysis of performance (15%).

Future opportunities

A qualification in Physical Education can lead to careers in teaching and other practical vocations, such as physiotherapy and medicine.  In some universities, Physical Education can be your main science for a physiotherapy degree.

Many students find careers in sports management and coaching.

There are lots of full and part-time jobs available in sports organisations, coaching/leadership, etc which a broad study of A Level Physical Education would prepare you for.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 19 September 2018
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