Exercised by future of PE

24th November 2000 at 00:00
IS the physical education curriculum heading in the right direction?

Pupils who have had 10 years of formal PE to develop a range of skills, knowledge and understanding, are now not allowed to focus on two activities of their choice.

We should be able to offer opportunities to further develop pupils' interest and enthusiasm in their chosen activities. Restricting options to one game and forcing a choice of either dance, gymnastics, athletics or swimming, does not make sense.

Surely, schools should be able to offer children choice according to their interest, the availability of facilities, timetable constraints and the likelihood that the activity will promote lifelong physical involvement within their community.

Also, I am concerned at the knock-on effect on GCSE games, which I have been led to believe will be phased out due to the new curriculum constraints. This will deny students who are not all-rounders, but are predominantly games players, the opportunity of achieving a GCSE qualification using their chosen activities.

This may wellthen have an effect on A-level numbers, even though the exam boards have relaxed their approach by allowing pupils to choose two games. Shouldn't the Department for Education and Employment look again at this issue?

I also know I am not alone in feeling that the new ASA-level specifications for PE have not met the criteria set out by Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. It originally stated that AS-level should be the next step up from GCSE and not be quite as hard as A-level.

Yet, the new Oxford, Cambridge and RSA exam board syllabus has changed virtually none of its theoretical specifications, and it has also added the practical portfolio (more theoretical work). This has increased students' workload, maintained the academic standard at A-level and we have to do all of this in 10 weeks less teaching time!

Shouldn't the exam boards consider the quality of students' lives and try not to make an essentially practical subject into a theoretical burden?

Nigel Green

Head of PE

Deyes high school

Maghull

Liverpool


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