Belvedere College – one of several city centre schools to roll out the new programme. Picture: Google Maps
Belvedere College – one of several city centre schools to roll out the new programme. Picture: Google Maps

Minister for Education Richard Bruton has revealed the first schools that will introduce Physical Education (PE) as a Leaving Certificate subject.

Minister Bruton said: “Physical activity is so important for our overall wellbeing, not just our physical fitness but for our mental health too. Participation in sports is also fantastic for developing a person’s confidence and teamwork skills.

“This was an important commitment in the Action Plan for Education and is in line with this government’s overall emphasis on promoting healthy lifestyles.”

Across the country, 80 schools will take part in the implementation of the PE for Senior Cycle programme.

Belvedere College, Dominican College, St Mary’s College, Our Lady of Mercy College, St Aidan’s CBS, Trinity Comprehensive School, Wesley College, Oatlands College, Newpark Comprehensive School and Mount Anville Secondary School will all take part in the first phase of implementation.

Schools will implement either the examinable Leaving Certificate subject, or the Physical Education framework, which will not be examined. Schools will also have the option to implement both.

Students will start the PE curriculum in September and will sit the exam in 2020. The subject will be assessed in three strands, 20% of the final marks going to a physical activity project, 30% to a performance assessment and 50% of the marks will go towards a written exam.

Local Fine Gael Senator, Neale Richmond, welcomed the announcement. “This is super news for a number of schools and their pupils in the South Dublin area.

“I have been campaigning for years to have PE added as a Leaving Certificate subject and I am genuinely excited about the opportunities this will present for future generations.

“This announcement is part of the overall emphasis the Government is putting on encouraging healthy lifestyles and is a key commitment in the Action Plan for Education, which aims to make Ireland’s education and training system the best in Europe by 2026.

The Leaving Cert will be offered at both higher and ordinary level, and a new curriculum will be provided for teachers as part of the new subject.

In total, 369 schools across Ireland applied to participate in the first phase. The Department is set to roll out the new framework and Leaving Cert subject to all schools from 2020.