Physical Education

Physical Education

Why choose Physical Education?

Develop an informed and scientific understanding of the issues in sport today.

It’s fun! It involves practical work and theory in an exciting mix. What other A level subject dominates the media to the extent of Physical Education? Headlines range from “What should be done to tackle the rising levels of obesity?” to whether London 2012 has really provided a lasting sporting legacy for this country.

Issues on the back pages of newspapers reflect how sport and society mirror each other. In A level Physical Education you’ll develop an informed and scientific understanding of the key issues in sport today. Physical Education is a multidiscipline subject. You will develop the skills of a scientist as well as those of an arts student. You will study areas from biology, psychology, sociology and history.

New A level specification

New specifications are being developed for September 2016 by all exam boards. Whatever specification is adopted there are common content components:

  • Applied anatomy and exercise physiology (musculo-skeletal, cardio-respiratory, neuromuscular, energy systems, diet & nutrition and training principles).
  • Biomechanics (motion and forces applied to physical activity).
  • Skill acquisition (theories of learning & performance that underpin coaching principles).
  • Sport psychology (factors affecting performance -personality, arousal, anxiety, aggression, motivation and dynamics of group processes).
  • Sport and society (impact of ethics on sport including deviance in sport, growing influence of the commercialisation of sport and the relationship of sport & the media).
  • Role of technology in physical activity and sport (performance analysis & the role of technology for the performer, coach, spectator)

RugbyU18sThere is also the opportunity to further your own sporting performance or involvement, making use of the superb sporting facilities we have to offer. You will also have the opportunity to complete NGB coaching/officiating awards and First Aid for Sport certification (Ideal for students interested in a medical career). The Sport department organises a number of trips and tours both within this country and abroad. In the past few years we have visited a number of major sporting events including Wimbledon, Test matches, Varsity rugby fixtures, Premier League matches and international hockey and netball games (see Enrichment information for more details). You will also have the opportunity to visit Boston (USA) and enhance your understanding of global sport.

“I like the variation of topics we study as it incorporates all aspects of sport and exercise and the interactive lessons means there is something for all students to enjoy. There is support available throughout the year, so you can always get the help you need.”

Physical Education A level will be of particular interest to you if you wish to be involved in the exciting and rapidly expanding areas of sport and leisure within today’s society. There are a large number of courses at university, which involve the study of these subjects, for example: Sport and Exercise Science, Management, Sport Science, Human Nutrition and Sports Engineering. University sport-related courses may lead to many diverse careers, e.g. in sports management, teaching, exercise and cardiac physiology and performance analysis (see Bases careers guide However, you can go on to study an unrelated subject; due to the high content of anatomy and physiology, PE can be valuable for medically related courses such as nursing, physotherapy and medicine.


Whatever specification is chosen there are common components:

  • 70% examination
  • 30% coursework

Coursework includes being assessed in one role either as a performer or as a coach.

Entry Requirements

GCSE grade B Physical Education or relevant Diploma at merit level or above or, if not studied, GCSE grade B in Maths or Biology or Chemistry or Physics or in both Science and Additional Science, and GCSE grade B in English Language or Literature.

Awarding Body